Asian automakers continue to set the quality mark

AGOURA HILLS, Calif. – European automakers show the greatest improvement in overall vehicle quality, nearly tying Asian automakers for producing vehicles sold in the United States with the fewest problems in the first 90 days of ownership.

According to the J.D. Power and Associates 2001 Initial Quality Study, Asian automakers continue to set the standard, but the 2001 study shows Europeans making the greatest strides in vehicle quality improvements, closing the gap on the Asian automakers to just one problem per 100 (PP100) vehicles.

In 2000, the quality gap was 16 PP100. Vehicle quality by domestic automakers trails by a larger margin – 13 PP100 behind Asian manufacturers.

Toyota is tops.

Toyota’s Lexus Division continues to dominate other manufacturers in initial product quality, earning top honors in three out of the four segments in which it competes. Overall, Toyota Motor Corporation earns five car and truck assembly plant awards in the Asia Pacific and North/South American regions.

“Toyota builds vehicles with more consistent quality levels across a platform than any other manufacturer,” said Joe Ivers, executive director of quality and customer satisfaction research at J.D. Power and Associates.

The Camry and the other vehicles built on the Camry platform – the Toyota Avalon, Lexus ES 300, Lexus RX 300 and Toyota Sienna – are the best example of this, Ivers said.

Global scope.

In addition to the United States, J.D. Power and Associates also surveys new-vehicle owners in eight other countries: The United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, India and China. The 2001 survey includes a global analysis of customer perceptions about vehicle initial quality across all nine countries.

Some of the most significant changes to the 2001 study are Jaguar’s 21 percent reduction in problems since the 2000 study, followed by Jeep, Lexus and Volkswagen, which each improved by approximately 20 percent.

The rankings.

Car models ranking highest in their segment are:

* Compact Car: Toyota Corolla

* Entry Midsize Car: Nissan Altima

* Premium Midsize Car: Toyota Avalon

* Full-Size Car: Chrysler Concorde

* Entry Luxury Car: Lexus ES 300

* Mid Luxury Car: Saab 9-5

* Premium Luxury Car: Lexus LS 430

* Sporty Car: Acura Integra

* Premium Sports Car: Chevrolet Corvette

Light Truck models ranking highest in their segment are: Compact Pickup: GMC Sonoma

* Full-Size Pickup: Toyota Tundra Entry

* SUV: Honda CR-V

* Midsize SUV: Nissan Pathfinder

* Full-Size SUV: Ford Expedition

* Luxury SUV: Lexus RX 300

* Compact Van: Toyota Sienna

Marysville plant honored.

The study also shows that Toyota plants produce some of the best vehicles in initial quality in the world, with their Kyushu, Japan, car plant leading all other Asian plants and earning the Worldwide Platinum Plant Quality Award.

Toyota’s Cambridge, Ontario, plant in Canada earns the Gold Plant Quality Award for North/South America, and BMW earns the Gold Plant Quality Award for Europe for its plant in Munich, Germany.

The United States is represented by Honda’s Marysville, Ohio, plant and by Toyota’s Georgetown, Ky., truck plant, which tie for the Silver Plant Quality Award for manufacturing locations in North/South America.

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