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American Automakers Dominate AutoPacific’s “Ideal Vehicles”

Koreans locked out, while Japan fall behind European brands.

by on Jul.14, 2010

The Land Rover brand may have its quality issues, but don't tell that to owners, who declared the Range Rover their ideal vehicle.

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.

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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.