November 7, 2002

J.D. Power and Associates ranks best factory-installed audio systems

Westlake Village, California – Visteon Corporation, which supplies audio systems for some Ford, Mazda and Mercury vehicles, and Fujitsu Ten, which supplies audio systems for the Toyota Tundra, Sequoia and Prius, were ranked tops in product quality among factory-installed audio systems, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2002 Audio Quality Report.

Among the ever-increasing number of possible audio system configurations available-such as cassette players, CD players and MP3s-only two configuration segments represent more than 20 percent of the market. Vehicles equipped with AM/FM/cassette/single CD players are the most common type, representing 35 percent of the market, followed by AM/FM/single CD without the cassette at 29 percent. AM/FM/cassette players, the most popular audio system in 1998 when it held 39 percent market penetration, has dwindled to just 7 percent of the market.

Visteon Corporation ranks highest for the second consecutive year in audio quality for factory-installed AM/FM/single CD player systems. Fujitsu Ten ranks highest in audio quality of factory-installed AM/FM/cassette/single CD players.

Within the AM/FM/single CD player category, Visteon Corporation has the fewest number of problems on average, with only 3.9 problems per 100 systems. Visteon supplies AM/FM/single CD players for 14 vehicles models from Ford, Mazda and Mercury.

Fujitsu Ten, which supplies AM/FM/cassette/single CD players for the Toyota Prius, Sequoia and Tundra, leads this category in quality with only 3.2 problems per 100 systems.

“Visteon and Fujitsu Ten are integrating the perceptions and opinions of their customers in their product planning and design phase and are producing some of the most reliable audio systems in the automotive industry,” said James Lohmann, research director with J.D. Power and Associates.

Among the 88,272 owners surveyed, 7 percent report experiencing a problem with their sound system during the first three months of ownership. Among those who report a problem, 83 percent indicate that they had experienced one problem, while 14 percent had two problems and 3 percent had three or more problems.

The most frequently cited problem with the receiver/playback unit is poor reception, which comprises 42 percent of the problems for this category. The most common speaker problem is static or popping noise, which represents 48 percent of all speaker problems.

Owners of domestic vehicles, which typically are configured with less complex AM/FM cassette CD player systems, report the fewest problems with their audio system, with 4.9 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). Owners of Asian makes report 5.4 PP100, while owners of European vehicles report 8.1 PP100, an increase of 4 percent compared with the 2001 report. The European makes have a higher percentage of some of the more complicated systems, such as AM/FM/CD player/multi CD changer systems, which have the highest number of reported problems at 6.5 PP100. The AM/FM/cassette/multi CD changer systems have the second highest number of problems at 6.4 PP100.

The report finds that five of the eight vehicle segments have a higher number of audio system problems in 2002 compared with the 2001 study. The sporty car segment has the highest problem rate at 7.3 PP100, while pickup owners report the fewest problems at 3.9 PP100.

The 2002 Audio Quality Report, which examines 13 possible sound system problems, is based on responses from owners of new cars and light trucks who indicate their new vehicles are equipped with factory-installed stereo systems. The survey was conducted among consumers after three months of vehicle ownership.

J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services firm operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, consulting, training and customer satisfaction.

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