South Korean manufacturer Hyundai topped a survey of U.S. consumers for best in auto quality for the first time, reflecting a major turnaround in image. The survey released earlier this week by market research firm Strategic Vision showedSouth Korean manufacturer Hyundai topped a survey of U.S. consumers for best in auto quality for the first time, reflecting a major turnaround in image. The survey released earlier this week by market research firm Strategic Vision showed the Hyundai brand produced the best vehicles in three segments, and the company's Kia brand had two leaders among 19 automobile categories.
Nissan, Ford and BMW Group each had three segment leaders; GM, Honda, and Mercedes each earned two; while Chrysler's Dodge brand, Toyota's Lexus and Volkswagen each earned one.
The survey asked buyers to rate all aspects of the ownership experience, from buying and owning to driving.
Toyota, long one of the leaders among U.S. consumers, improved overall with its scores, but none of the Toyota nameplates were segment leaders. And the survey found that when consumers were asked about problems with their cars, Toyota and its luxury Lexus brand are still among the best. However, Toyota's lead in this narrower definition of quality is now shared with other brands like Honda, Hyundai, Nissan's Infiniti and domestic brands such as Ford.
Alexander Edwards, Strategic Vision president, said that the survey is significant because while all automakers have reduced the number of problems, the "perceived quality" of a car is becoming more important. "Even though Hyundai is often overlooked by the U.S. customer, Hyundai's success in 2007 is not surprising given its current products and press in leadership that is looking to the near and distant future with new designs from styling to power train," said Strategic Vision founder and chief executive Darrel Edwards.
Hyundai topped the list for the best large sedan with its Azera and its Santa Fe small sport-utility vehicle. The Hyundai Entourage and Kia Sedona tied for best minivan and the Kia Sorrento was ranked the best medium-sized SUV. Hyundai, which has struggled to shake off a reputation for shoddy workmanship and low quality which hindered efforts in the U.S. market in the 1980s, ranked third in a separate survey by JD Power last year on overall auto quality.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007