May 10, 2004

AutoPacific announces 2004 Vehicle Satisfaction awards

Tustin, California – The Lexus LS430 has the highest overall owner satisfaction rating, according to an annual survey released by AutoPacific, a U.S. automotive consulting firm. The highest ranking brand was Lincoln, followed closely by Cadillac and Lexus.

These three brands have “owned” AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Awards since 2001, said the company. Cadillac won in 2001, shared top honours with Lexus in 2002 and won outright again in 2003.

The vehicle registering highest overall satisfaction for a fifth consecutive year is Lexus LS430. The highest-rated truck is Cadillac’s Escalade EXT sport utility truck. This is Escalade EXT’s second victory in as many years. Its 2004 score only one point behind the gold-standard LS430 represents quite an accomplishment for both a domestic manufacturer and a “truck”.

General Motors has four winners this year, tops among the various corporations. The GM winners are Cadillac DeVille, taking the American Luxury Car category for the third year in a row, Pontiac Grand Prix the Premium Mid-Size Car category, Cadillac Escalade EXT the Light Duty Pickup category, and the new Chevrolet Colorado the Compact Pickup category. DaimlerChrysler’s Chrysler Group wins with PT Cruiser in Compact Sport Utility, Dodge Ram HD in Large Heavy-Duty Pickup. Its Mercedes-Benz of North America arm wins with its SL in the Sports Car category. Honda registers two corporate victories with Acura RSX tops among Sporty Cars and Honda Odyssey winning Minivan honors, as does Ford with Mazda 6 in Standard Mid-Size Car and Lincoln Navigator in Luxury Sport Utility. Rounding out the list of multiple winners is Nissan-USA, which wins two awards with the Entry Luxury Maxima and the new Armada Large SUV. Armada’s victory is particularly notable in that it is a completely new vehicle with new chassis, powertrain and body, built in an all-new greenfield plant in Mississippi by a workforce that for the most part has never built vehicles before.

AutoPacific president George Peterson noted “Korean makers remain a factor in the satisfaction stakes this year, with Hyundai’s Santa Fe Mid-Size Sport Utility winning its class for the third year running. We all know Korean quality is improving at a rapid rate. What is both surprising and notable is Korean ability not just to build quality in from the outset, but to keep the quality initiative going over an extended build run. This reinforces what we’ve suspected for awhile now. Korean success is not just a flash-in-the-pan, but is likely to continue into the future.”

Top performers are:


Passenger cars

Premium Luxury Car: Lexus LS 430 (5-peat winner)
Entry Luxury Car: Nissan Maxima
American Luxury Car: Cadillac DeVille (3-peat winner)
Premium Mid-Size Car: Pontiac Grand Prix
Standard Mid-Size Car: Mazda6 (repeat winner)

Compact Car: Volkswagen Jetta
Sports Car: Mercedes-Benz SL
Sporty Car: Acura RSX

Light trucks
Large Light-Duty Pickup: Cadillac Escalade EXT (repeat winner)
Large Heavy-Duty Pickup: Dodge Ram HD
Compact Pickup: Chevrolet Colorado
Luxury Sport Utility: Lincoln Navigator (repeat winner)
Large Sport Utility: Nissan Armada
Premium Mid-Size Sport Utility: Mitsubishi Endeavor
Standard Mid-Size Sport Utility: Hyundai Santa Fe (3-peat winner)
Compact Sport Utility: Chrysler PT Cruiser
Minivan: Honda Odyssey (repeat winner)

In addition to identifying segment winners, VSA also establishes numerical satisfaction ratings for virtually every passenger car and light truck in the North American market. This results from calculating owner satisfaction across 44 specific areas related to a vehicle’s operation, comfort, safety and the overall purchase/lease experience. 2004 ratings reflect input from more than 32,000 buyers and lessees of new vehicles acquired September-December 2003.

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