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USA Today's Kiley Says Automobile Quality Surveys Disagree

June 5, 2003

According to USA Today's David Kiley, some of the worst-performing brands on J.D. Power and Associates' recent study of quality are among the best liked in two other surveys of car buyers.Auto executives and the managers of the surveys suggest that car buyers look to more than one survey to make their car-buying decisions, looking at quality and customer satisfaction, according to Kiley.Kiley used the example of the Mini, which ranked 25th of 28 brands in J.D. Power's Initial Quality Survey (IQS). But Kiley further says that the British import owned by BMW ranks 2nd of 30 brands included in Strategic Vision's Total Quality Survey (TQS).Kiley points out that IQS surveys customers on complaints during the first 90 days of ownership, while TQS surveys quality issues and how satisfied owners are.Another example Kiley employed was that General Motors' Hummer brand, which ranked last in Power's IQS but fifth in Strategic Vision's TQS. Hummer also ranked 12th of 37 ranked brands in AutoPacific's recent Vehicle Satisfaction Survey (VSS), which looks at a combination of quality and happiness with the vehicle, according to Kiley and USA Today.Kiley reported that Hummer scored at the bottom of IQS mostly because of poor fuel economy, say both J.D. Power's Joe Ivers and Hummer brand manager Marc Hernandez. Another complaint, according to Kiley, was slow acceleration, also not surprising considering H2's size. Kiley further reported that Ivers says that while "things gone wrong in the first 90 days of ownership" is becoming less of a differentiator among brands as all companies improve, it is still a good indicator of long-term satisfaction."Brands that score well on IQS tend to score well on our long-term quality survey," he says, according to USA Today and Kiley. Nine of the top 10 brands in IQS also were top 10 brands in Power's vehicle dependability index, which surveys problems over five years.
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