US-based J.D. Power and Associates has released the findings of its 2004 South Africa Initial Quality Study ahead of the company’s inaugural Customer Satisfaction Index Study - which will be published exclusively in January’s issue of CAR.

US-based J.D. Power and Associates has released the findings of its 2004 South Africa Initial Quality Study (IQS) ahead of the company’s inaugural Customer Satisfaction Index Study - which will be published exclusively in January’s issue of CAR.


IQS is a customer-driven measure of problems experienced during the first three to seven months of ownership based on evaluations by South Africa’s motorists – and Honda had the lowest score (reflecting the best quality performance) in the initial quality nameplate rankings.


The study looked at 315 types of quality problem across nine categories: ride, handling and braking, features and controls, seats, sound system, heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC), vehicle exterior, vehicle interior, transmission, and engine. All problems are summarised as the number of problems reported per 100 vehicles (PP100), with lower scores indicating a lower rate of problem incidence and therefore better quality.


Honda was followed by BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Volvo, respectively. The other brands performing better than the industry average are Hyundai, Chevrolet, Renault, Jeep, Toyota, Peugeot and Citroën.


“The quality performances of brands such as Honda and Hyundai in the South Africa market confirm what the IQS study has shown in other markets: It is possible to offer world-class quality at affordable prices,” said Brian Walters, senior director of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates.


“We conduct this same study in several countries across the globe and we consistently find that high levels of quality performance lead to lower costs for the manufacturer and ultimately the consumer. This is in addition to high quality improving brand reputation and increasing the likelihood that buyers will repurchase and recommend the brand, which is critical to manufacturers in any highly competitive market such as South Africa,” he added.


Two Honda models, the Jazz and Civic, rank highest in their respective vehicle segments, with the Honda Jazz receiving the fewest problems per 100 vehicles in the industry. Other segment-leading models include the Daihatsu Charade, BMW 3 Series, Ford Bantam and Toyota Hilux.


The study also found that among the local carmakers, BMW’s Rosslyn plant produced the highest quality vehicles in South Africa. CARtoday.com reported earlier this year that, based on the vehicles it exported to the United States, the Rosslyn plant had been recognised by J.D. Power and Associates as being among the world’s highest-ranked vehicle plants in initial quality.


J.D. Power and Associates is a leading independent authority on consumer-reported quality in the automotive industry. In addition to South Africa, the IQS is currently conducted in many other markets, including China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.


The South Africa IQS was conducted independently via an extensive eight-page mail survey, the company says, and included data on virtually every manufacturer selling new vehicles in South Africa, including import nameplates such as Chevrolet, Citroën, Honda, Hyundai, Peugeot and Renault.


Information collected included detailed data on vehicle problems, the most troublesome problems, their impact on brand loyalty, and ratings of more than 100 different aspects of the vehicle. The 2004 South Africa Initial Quality Study was based on responses from more than 6 700 new-vehicle owners who bought a vehicle between December 2003 and April 2004.


Later this month, J.D. Power and Associates will also publish a Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, which is said to measure customer views on the design, content, layout and performance of their new vehicles.


The January issue of CAR will include a 10-page feature about the South Africa Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study, which measures the satisfaction of vehicle owners with the service they receive from South Africa’s dealers.


The results will include the overall CSI score for nameplates and models, eight sub-scores for nameplates and models in particular categories and an overview of the research methodology used by J.D. Power and Associates.


:: To download the results of the SA Initial Quality Study (IQS) in Word format, click here. ::


:: To download the results of the SA Initial Quality Study (IQS) in PowerPoint format, click here. ::