The J.D. Power and Associates' Initial Quality Study (IQS) shows American Suzuki Motor Corp. (ASMC) as the most improved automotive manufacturer in the industry with a 31 percent improvement in quality. The full study surveys more than 52,000 buyers and lessees of 2003 model-year vehicles after 90 days of ownership about problems and other issues experienced with their new vehicles. The study includes quality comparisons by manufacturer, assembly plant, model and platform. For complete J.D. Power and Associates' Initial Quality Study (IQS) test results, go to "We are thrilled with the results since they demonstrate Suzuki's plan of significantly bolstering quality and customer satisfaction of every Suzuki vehicle," explained American Suzuki President Rick Suzuki. "We know that improving our quality is a key component to increasing our sales and we are committed to a process of continuous improvement of our products year after year. "Suzuki's new 357 plan -- to triple Suzuki U.S. car and SUV sales in five years by model year 2007 -- is designed to significantly accelerate Suzuki's move from niche player status to the U.S. automotive mainstream. Last year's launch of the Aerio was an important first step in the fulfillment of that plan." According to Rick Suzuki, this growth plan encompasses four key initiatives: increased focus on customer satisfaction and service; an expansion of Suzuki's product line including the introduction of nine new models in the next five years; aggressive new advertising and promotions to ensure Suzuki vehicles are on buyers' shopping lists; and a strengthening of Suzuki's dealer body with a new retail image program. "We used last year's J.D. Power and Associates' initial quality study to make key improvements to the 2003 Suzuki XL-7 and Grand Vitara interior -- including a new dashboard and console design, new trim and even a smaller rear headrest design for better rearward visibility," added Suzuki. "We're confident that our customers will continue to take note of these vehicle improvements." As customer expectations continue to increase, Suzuki says it is increasing its investment to improve customer satisfaction throughout the buying and ownership experience. The goal is to not only capture that first sale, but to generate repeat sales, referrals and related parts and service business for the dealerships. The company says a major component of this heightened emphasis on customer satisfaction is Suzuki's new Customer Relations and Communications Division. This newly formed division will manage a new Customer Call Center that will give Suzuki prospects and customers a single point of contact for all their needs -- whether it be sales, service, parts or any other reason. Other customer satisfaction efforts include expanded training for all dealership personnel, sales and service certification programs, better communication through the Web site and a program to ensure competitive dealership parts and service pricing. According to the company,the first new cars of the nine additional vehicles are the 2004 Forenza and Verona. The compact and mid-size sedan will move Suzuki further into the mainstream where potential sales are the greatest and allow Suzuki to compete with the Toyota Corolla and Camry, the Honda Civic and Accord, and the Nissan Sentra and Altima. The company says the Forenza and Verona will go on sale by the first quarter of 2004 and with the Aerio, they will give Suzuki a solid lineup of value-packed automobiles in the sport compact, premium compact and mid-sized sedan categories. The Automotive Division of American Suzuki Motor Corp. (ASMC), Brea, was founded in 1985 by Suzuki Motor Corp. (SMC). ASMC markets automobiles in the United States through a network of approximately 430 automotive dealerships in 49 states. SMC, based in Hamamatsu, Japan, is a diversified worldwide automobile manufacturer. Founded in 1909 and incorporated in 1920, it has 120 distributors in 190 countries.