Japanese cars bounce back in quality survey
Saturday 25 June 2011
After several years of fierce criticism over the quality of their products, Japanese car makers have rebounded in a new report on the reliability of their vehicles.
The closely watched Initial Quality Study, released in New York on Thursday by US market research firm J.D. Power and Associates, put Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus brand back at the top of the pile for the first time in two years, up from fourth spot last year.
Toyota itself improved its placing to seventh in the 2011 survey, a leap from the 21st position one year ago.
The auto giant was suffering from bad press triggered by a series of problems with its vehicles, coverage that hurt the firm's reputation for putting quality above all other considerations.
In July of last year, for example, Toyota had to announce a global recall of 270,000 Lexus models after a fault was discovered in some of the cars' engines. That came just a few months after Toyota President Akio Toyoda was obliged to issue two public apologies in the space of a week after the company issued recall notices for 400,000 of its award-winning Prius cars.
In all, the company had to recall more than 10 million cars around the world for repairs in the space of a year.
Some of the negative coverage rubbed off on other Japanese car manufacturers, whose operations were also hit hard by the impact of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in north-east Japan.
They appear, however, to be putting most of their problems behind them.
Lexus was followed in second place in the overall rankings by Honda, up from sixth place in 2010, Acura, Mercedes-Benz and Mazda, marking an impressive rise to fifth from 18th one year earlier.
Honda won no fewer than seven of the 20 segment awards, for its Accord, Accord Crosstour, Civic, Element, Fit, Insight and Ridgeline. Lexus took first place in four sections, for the ES, GS, GX and LS models.
"Exciting models with the latest features are crucial for winning over today's demanding consumers," said David Sargent, vice president of J.D. Power and Associates' global vehicle research section. "However, automakers must not lose their focus on the importance of these models also achieving exceptional quality levels.
"Expected reliability continues to be the single-most-important reason why new-vehicle buyers choose one model over another, and no manufacturer can afford to give consumers any doubts regarding the quality of their latest products," he said.
The annual survey was conducted between February and May and was based on questionnaire responses from more than 73,000 people who purchased 2011-year new vehicles sold in the US.
Life & Style blogs
Surgeon backs 'good death' plans - and reveals his own
Britain's kitchens so filthy that they present a health risk, says new research
NHS hit by stealth cuts of £2bn as tariffs received for medical procedures are reduced
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter
KickassTorrents down: new Isle of Man domain taken offline just hours after launch
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
- 2 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 3 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...