BMW: Top Quality Passenger Vehicle in South Africa
December 10, 2007
J.D. Power & Associates, a leading independent authority on consumer-reported quality in the automotive industry, has recently revealed the result of their latest initial quality study. BMW, the popular German-based motorcycle and automobile brand, was pronounced as the highest ranking passenger vehicle brand in South Africa, accounting 142 problems per 100 vehicles.
Last year, Honda (a Japanese-based automobile brand and maker of quality Acura CL catalytic converter) was recognized as the top most brand in the survey. BMW placed second followed by Mercedes Benz, Subaru, Audi and Hyundai. This year, Honda and BMW interchanged places; followed by Subaru, Mercedes Benz, and Volvo.
According to Brian Walters, vice-president of J.C. Power & Associates Europe, Middle East and Africa operations, BMW had made steady improvements in quality over the past couple of years. The improvement has been justified by the brand’s surge in position, climbing from third place in 2005 to the top rank this year.
However, the Honda Jazz, categorized in the lower small car segment, was recognized as having fewer problems than any other model in the industry. In fact, it received the award for the fourth consecutive year.
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, separately, registered 103 problems per 100 vehicles. The model is produced at the Mercedes-Benz East London passenger vehicle assembly plant, which led other South African plants in initial quality. Walter said, “The Mercedes-Benz East London plant was recently retooled to produce left-hand drive vehicles, which are exported to the US. It is particularly impressive that this plant, in the face of major changes to its production line, has been able to produce vehicles of such outstanding quality.” The Toyota plant (producing the Corolla, Fortuner and RunX) followed in the rankings.
Though there has been a significant improvement with the number of problems per 100 passenger vehicles for the highest ranked makes of car, J.D. Power & Associates noticed deterioration in the quality of the average passenger vehicles in South Africa for the past year. The study this year revealed an average of 245 problems per 100 passenger vehicles, compared to 239 problems last year.
Four of the five lowest ranked cars last year remained in the bottom five positions this year. The five lowest recently ranked cars include Tata with 567 problems, followed by Volkswagen, Fiat, Opel, and Renault.
The study was based on a representative sample of over 8,600 new vehicle owners who purchased their vehicles between January and May this year. Basically, the survey is a measure of problems experienced during the first three to seven months of ownership. This year, it examined 228 individual problem symptoms across nine factors. Lower scores indicate fewer problems and therefore better quality.
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