In another sign of a potential product renaissance, Detroit’s Big Three automakers dominate the latest “Ideal Vehicle Awards,” put together by the California research and consulting firm AutoPacific, Inc.
Designed to reflect the way owners rate a variety of vehicle attributes, from power to interior design, the awards focus on the cars, trucks and crossovers “owners would change the least,” explains AutoPacific President George Peterson.
The Range Rover is the top-rated vehicle in the 2010 Ideal Vehicle Awards, or IVA, reflecting the overall satisfaction owners reported with bigger vehicles. But Large Crossover SUVs was, on the whole, the highest-rated segment. In something of a surprise, the slow-selling Suzuki Kizashi was the top-rated passenger car in this year’s survey – and was also ranked number one in AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Awards, announced earlier this year.
But Japanese brands fared relatively poorly, on the whole, fielding winners in only five of the IVA’s 27 categories. Only the Koreans, who failed to take a single segment, did more poorly. European makers narrowly bested the Japanese with six segment wins.
Considering the historically low performance of Detroit brands in consumer studies, the 2010 IVA is likely to come as a shock to many, with the domestic Big Three landing 16 segment wins. Ford Motor Co., in particular, was the top-rated popular brand, just ahead of General Motors’ GMC nameplate.
Among luxury marques, Porsche was tops, outscoring Lincoln and Land Rover as the most ideal premium brand.
“Ford,” noted Peterson, “leads the industry with a total of 11 segment winners. No other manufacturer came even close.”
In fact, Peterson stressed, the Ford brand scored highest of all brands, including premium marques like Porsche. Among its segment winners, Ford fielded the new Taurus SHO, the “ideal” large car, the F-150, tops in the Large Light Duty Pickup segment, and the Fusion Hybrid, which bested the top-selling Toyota Prius in the Hybrid Car category.
In all, AutoPacific bases the IVA on responses to 15 key vehicle attributes.
A key finding of the annual report is that “American buyers continue to value large, comfortable vehicles suitable for suburban driving and longer-distance highway cruising,” says Peterson.
“Things-Gone-Right” awards, such as the IVA and J.D. Power’s APEAL study, often turn up some sharp differences with surveys focused on Things-Gone-Wrong, like the recent Power Initial Quality Survey. They reveal that while customers may experience problems with a vehicle they can also overlook those issues if a product otherwise surprises and delights. The Range Rover is a good example, the overall Land Rover brand having come in at the bottom of the latest IQS. (Click Here for the latest results.)
On the other hand, high-quality can enhance an owner’s overall satisfaction, and models like the Ford F-150, and Porsche Cayman regularly rank high on defect-based studies.
Tags: auto news, auto quality, autopacific, car news, customer satisfaction, ford review, ideal vehicle awards, paul a. eisenstein, paul eisenstein, quality, range rover review, suzuki kizashi, thedetroitbureau, vehicle