October 7, 2004

Import vehicles dominate Strategic Vision Total Value Awards

San Diego, California – Import vehicles dominated Strategic Vision’s 2004 Total Value Index (TVI) released this week. Of the 20 vehicle categories, import vehicles were tops in 16 categories. TVI measures new owners sense of value in their vehicles by factoring all economic issues against the quality of the ownership experience.

Toyota had the most winners, four for Lexus (one a tie) and three for Toyota. Korean imports had the second highest number – three for Hyundai (one a tie) and one for Kia. Adding to a strong product experience for both were Toyota’s strong reliability, durability and resale value and Hyundai’s and Kia’s strong warranty.

European marques led in four segments, with two new Mercedes-Benz C-Class models at the head of their class. Domestic brands captured five first-place spots, with General Motors tying in two of its three wins.

A bright spot for the domestics was the strong showing of Fords’ new F-Series pickup that won handily in its segment. New owners rated it highly in ownership experience and scored its durability and reliability superior to its Japanese competitors.

In addition to leading the most segments, Lexus repeated as the top brand in Total Value (774). Mitsubishi was the most improved. Honda (750) was the highest full-line corporation, followed closely by Hyundai (747).

The Total Value Index measures the quality of the ownership experience – everything involved in buying, owning and driving a new vehicle. All economics issues, both immediate (price, affordability, deal offered, warranty and standard equipment) and expected (durability, future trade-in, mileage, economical to own and reliability) are then factored against that perceived quality.

“What you get for your money,” says Dr. Darrel Edwards, Strategic Vision president, “is vital in the value equation. A cheap price for a vehicle that doesn’t stir the buyer’s values and emotions will never be more than a cheap vehicle. One with strong perceived quality that scores well on the value factors will make a buyer feel like a real winner who made a smart choice.”

More than 69,000 buyers rated the following vehicles the best values in their segments:

Vehicle segment		Make/model				TVI Score

Small Car			Hyundai Elantra*  			780
Compact Car		Toyota Prius			815
Mid-Size Car		Hyundai XG 350/Acura TSX (TIE)		779/778
Larger Car			Mercury Marauder*			720
Sporty Coupes Under $25,000	Mini Cooper*			813
Sports Cars Over $25,000	Mercedes Benz C-Class Coupe		779
Medium Specialty Coupes	Honda Accord Coupe*/			755
Chevrolet 			Monte Carlo (TIE)			754
Near-Luxury Car		Mercedes Benz C-Class Sedan		798
Luxury Car 		Lexus LS 430			799
Convertibles Under $30,000	Volkswagen New Beetle Convertible	735
Convertibles Over $30,000	Cadillac XLR/Lexus SC 430 (TIE)		784
Minivan			Kia Sedona				731
Small SUV			Hyundai Santa Fe			752
Medium SUV			Toyota 4Runner			747
Large SUV			Toyota Sequoia*			711
Near Luxury SUV		Lexus RX 330*			789
Luxury SUV			Lexus GX 470			746
Compact Pickup		Nissan Frontier			699
Full-Size Pickup		Ford F-150				723
Heavy Duty Pickup		Dodge Ram 2500/3500*			722
* 2003 Total Value Award winners
(Differences of 1-2 points are not statistically significant)

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