July 18, 2002

Strategic Vision announces 2002 Total Quality Awards

San Diego, California – An annual survey of vehicle ownership experience in the United States indicates that new vehicle buyers are more satisfied with their vehicles this year than last. Strategic Vision’s 2002 Total Quality Index measures the complete ownership experience, including the emotions generated. It surveyed October and November 2001 buyers of 2002 models after 90 days of ownership.

“From our work, we know value is a vital part of new owner satisfaction,” says Dr. Darrel Edwards, Strategic Vision president. “It influences in a positive or negative way how buyers view their new vehicle. Zero percent financing and hefty incentives seem highly positive.”

10 of the leaders in the 17 segments were repeat winners, and six of those were Toyota/Lexus products, the largest number captured by one company.

Volkswagen, ahead in three segments, continued to lead in both full-line corporations and brands U.S.$22,000 – U.S.$30,000. BMW remained the highest scoring brand, while winning two Total Quality Awards.

Almost 47,000 buyers rated the following vehicles tops in their segments:

Small Car Volkswagen Golf
Compact Car Chrysler PT Cruiser
Mid-Size Car Nissan Maxima /Volkswagen Passat(TIE)
Larger Car Oldsmobile Aurora
Small Specialty Coupes Volkswagen New Beetle
Medium Specialty Coupes Honda Accord Coupe
Near-Luxury Car BMW 3-Series/Lexus IS 300 (TIE)
Luxury Car Lexus LS 430
Convertible (<$30 000) Toyota Camry Solara Convertible
Convertible (>$30 000) Lexus SC 430
Minivan Honda Odyssey
Small SUV Honda CR-V
Medium SUV Toyota 4Runner/GMC Envoy (TIE)
Large SUV Toyota Sequoia
Luxury SUV Lexus RX 300
Compact Pickup Dodge Dakota
Full-Size Pickup Toyota Tundra

Kia was the most improved brand, with Suzuki, Jeep, Subaru, Volvo and Nissan all showing increases of more than 20 points. The most improved vehicle was the new model of the Nissan Altima, which jumped 72 points.

Among domestics, both the Chrysler Group and General Motors had two winners each. For the second year, Ford was absent from the winners’ list.

“Toyota has a strong foundation in reliability and craftsmanship,” says Daniel Gorrell, Strategic Vision vice president. “In their trucks and Lexus luxury cars they add delightful touches that make them leaders. Though the LS 430 was the highest scoring model at 934, buyers are not rating Toyota brand cars, except for the new Solara convertible, at the top of their segments.”

Each 2002 Total Quality Award winner had individual areas of strength, though most scored well in all areas. The number of consecutive wins is marked in brackets.

Volkswagen Golf – Perennial winner Golf offers excellent emotional delivery of freedom, esteem and harmony on a very strong base of security. Added to that are VW strengths in handling and exterior craftsmanship offered in a lower-priced car.

Chrysler PT Cruiser – Winner again in its second year, PT Cruiser blows away the competition not only in styling, but also on room and innovation. This truly capable and very individual car strongly delivers on esteem and harmony issues.

Volkswagen Passat / Nissan Maxima (tie). Maxima, a newcomer to the winner’s circle, tied with perennial leader Passat. Maxima scores very high on the crucial issue of power, while the VW sedan delivers benefits in handling and craftsmanship. Both offer strong emotional responses.

Oldsmobile Aurora – Aurora, a surprise winner, beat the competition with handling and roadability. Owners scored it well in the emotional arenas of feeling in control and harmony. A strong warranty and incentive pricing affected buyers’ responses.

Volkswagen New Beetle – New Beetle wins again for the fourth straight year on styling, handling and craftsmanship among other strong deliverables. It provides even more fun in a fun-seeking segment built on a very strong base of security. It also delivers a sense of harmony in its finished completeness.

Honda Accord Coupe – To the usual Honda strengths of great reliability and craftsmanship, the Accord Coupe adds handling. Emotionally it bestows on its owners a feeling that they made a smart choice and a sense of harmony, both hallmarks of the Honda brand.

BMW 3-Series – The 3-Series continued its four-year winning streak with high marks on its roadability, handling and craftsmanship. It revs up the emotional cylinders for its owners in all three aggregate areas of freedom, esteem and harmony on a very strong base of security.

Lexus LS 430 – The LS 430 wins for the second year in a row with top-rated ride, craftsmanship and quietness. Emotionally it makes its owners feel very secure and provides strong peace of mind and a sense of being at ease. It also achieves a high level of balance with its refinement and finish.

Toyota Solara Convertible – Camry Solara excels in its category with its roadability, handling and ride with a much higher degree of comfort and room. While strong on the segment

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