J.D. Power and Associates Reports: The Vehicle Dependability

Gap Between Luxury and Higher-Volume Brands Narrows Significantly 
Lexus and Toyota Models Each Rank Highest in Four Segments; Honda Models Rank 
Highest in Three Segments 
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Aug. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The gap in long-term
quality between luxury and non-luxury brands has been cut in half during the
past four years, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Vehicle
Dependability Study(SM)(VDS) released today. 
(Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20050527/LAF028LOGO-a ) 
The study, which measures problems experienced by original owners of
3-year-old (2003 model-year) vehicles, finds that there is an ever-smaller gap
in reported problems between luxury and higher-volume brands -- averaging
15 PP100, down from 31 PP100 in 2003.  Quality improvements with non-luxury
brands are seen primarily in two categories -- ride, handling, braking, and
engine and transmission -- which both have a strong impact on customer
The presence of several non-luxury brands among the top-ranking brands in
the industry further underscores the shrinking dependability gap between
luxury and non-luxury brands.  While Lexus is the top-ranking brand in vehicle
dependability for a 12th consecutive year and luxury-make Cadillac ranks
fourth, three of the top five-ranking brands in vehicle dependability are
non-luxury makes.  Mercury and Buick, respectively, follow Lexus in the brand
rankings, and Toyota ranks fifth. 
"The industry continues to make improvements in long-term vehicle quality,
and not just among luxury makes that benefit from smaller production volumes
on the assembly line," said Neal Oddes, director of product research and
analysis for J.D. Power and Associates.  "Many high-volume, mass-marketed
brands have acquired a foundation of quality products from which to challenge
the normally strong performances of the luxury brands.  What this means for
consumers is that they don't necessarily have to spend a lot of money to get a
high-quality used vehicle, and vehicles with high long-term dependability
ratings retain more of their original value than brands with lower
dependability ratings.  This pays off for the consumer when it's time to trade
in their vehicle." 
The benefits of strong vehicle dependability are particularly high for
manufacturers.  In addition to retaining their value better, brands that
perform well in VDS have higher levels of owner recommendation and repurchase
intent, and increased sales volumes compared to brands with average to poor
dependability ratings.  According to actual retail transaction data from the
Power Information Network, a division of J.D. Power and Associates, sales made
to loyal customers -- those who trade in the same nameplate as the one they
purchase -- result in an average vehicle gross of $250 more per sale than
those made to non-loyal customers.  Additionally, vehicles with high levels of
reported problems have higher rates of failure of vehicle components such as
brake pads, brake rotors and batteries, which is costly to manufacturers if
the failure occurs while the vehicle is still under warranty. 
"Perceptions about dependability can have a tremendous impact on an
owner's satisfaction with their vehicle, which is no small matter for
manufacturers," said Oddes.  "In terms of retained value, recommendation and
repurchase intent, and component replacement, vehicle dependability can have a
direct impact on a manufacturer's bottom line." 
Lexus, Toyota and Honda models dominate the segment rankings.  Lexus
models lead in four segments: GS 300/GS 430 (midsize premium car), LS 430
(large premium car), SC 430 (premium sporty car) and GX 470 (midsize premium
MAV).  Four Toyota models also lead in their respective segments: Echo
(sub-compact car), RAV4 (compact MAV), Highlander (midsize MAV) and Tundra
(large pickup).  Honda models rank highest in three segments: Civic (compact
car), S2000 (compact premium sporty car) and Odyssey (van).  Models by Acura,
Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, Mazda, Mercury and GMC each rank highest in
one segment. 
MINI and Kia are the most improved brands in the study, although both
continue to rank below the industry average.  MINI, which was first included
in the VDS in 2005, earns a 103 PP100 (27 percent) year-over-year improvement.
Kia has improved twice as much as any other brand in the past three years,
improving 87 PP100 (22 percent) from 2005. 
The 2006 Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from 47,620
original owners of 2003 model-year vehicles.  For more information on vehicle
ratings, visit the J.D. Power Consumer Center at www.jdpower.com . 

    2006 Nameplate Ranking
    Problems per 100 Vehicles
    Lexus                136
    Mercury              151
    Buick                153
    Cadillac             163
    Toyota               179
    Acura                184
    Honda                194
    Jaguar               210
    BMW                  212
    Infiniti             215
    Lincoln              220
    Ford                 224
    Oldsmobile           224
    Industry Average     227
    Chrysler             232
    Pontiac              232
    Subaru               232
    GMC                  239
    Mercedes-Benz        240
    Chevrolet            241
    Nissan               242
    Mazda                243
    Porsche              248
    Hyundai              253
    Dodge                258
    Mitsubishi           260
    Jeep                 264
    Volvo                272
    Audi                 279
    MINI                 280
    Isuzu                283
    Saturn               289
    Volkswagen           299
    HUMMER               307
    Kia                  310
    Suzuki               318
    Saab                 326
    Land Rover           438
    Top Three Models per Segment
    Car Segments
    Sub-Compact Car
    Highest Ranked: Toyota Echo
    Hyundai Accent
    Kia Rio/Rio Cinco
    Compact Car
    Highest Ranked: Honda Civic
    Toyota Corolla
    Toyota Prius
    Compact Sporty Car
    Highest Ranked: Mazda Miata
    Toyota MR2 Spyder
    Toyota Celica
    Midsize Sporty Car
    Highest Ranked: Chevrolet Monte Carlo
    Toyota Solara
    Ford Mustang
    Midsize Car
    Highest Ranked: Buick Century
    Buick Regal
    Mercury Sable
    Large Car
    Highest Ranked: Mercury Grand Marquis
    Ford Crown Victoria
    Buick Park Avenue
    Compact Premium Sporty Car
    Highest Ranked: Honda S2000
    BMW Z4
    Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
    Entry Premium Car
    Highest Ranked: Acura CL
    Infiniti I35 (tie)
    Lexus IS 300/IS 300 SportCross (tie)
    Midsize Premium Car
    Highest Ranked: Lexus GS 300/GS 430
    Acura RL
    Lexus ES 300
    Large Premium Car
    Highest Ranked: Lexus LS 430
    Cadillac DeVille
    Lincoln Town Car
    Premium Sporty Car
    Highest Ranked: Lexus SC 430
    Chevrolet Corvette
    Ford Thunderbird
    Top Three Models per Segment
    Truck/Multi-Activity Vehicle (MAV) Segments
    Compact MAV
    Highest Ranked: Toyota RAV4
    Subaru Forester
    Honda CR-V
    Midsize MAV
    Highest Ranked: Toyota Highlander
    Honda Pilot
    Buick Rendezvous
    Large MAV
    Highest Ranked: GMC Yukon/Yukon XL
    Chevrolet Suburban
    Toyota Sequoia
    Large Pickup
    Highest Ranked: Toyota Tundra
    Ford F-150 LD
    Ford F-250/F-350 Super Duty
    Midsize Pickup
    Highest Ranked: Ford Ranger
    Subaru Baja
    Toyota Tacoma
    Highest Ranked: Honda Odyssey
    Oldsmobile Silhouette
    Chevrolet Express (tie)
    Pontiac Montana (tie)
    Midsize Premium MAV
    Highest Ranked: Lexus GX 470
    Lexus RX 300
    Infiniti FX-Series
    Large Premium MAV
    Highest Ranked: Cadillac Escalade EXT
    Lexus LX 470
    Cadillac Escalade/Escalade ESV
    About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is an
ISO 9001-registered global marketing information services firm operating in
key business sectors including market research, forecasting, consulting,
training and customer satisfaction.  The firm's quality and satisfaction
measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually.  J.D.
Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies. 
About The McGraw-Hill Companies 
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global information
services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education
and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard &
Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The
Corporation has more than 290 offices in 38 countries. Sales in 2005 were $6.0
billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com . 

    J.D. Power and Associates Media Relations Contacts:
    Karla Tucker                 Syvetril Perryman
    Troy, Mich.                  Westlake Village, Calif.
    (248) 312-4344               (805) 418-8103
    karla.tucker@jdpa.com        syvetril.perryman@jdpa.com

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in
this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and
Associates.  www.jdpower.com/corporate 

SOURCE  J.D. Power and Associates 
Karla Tucker, Troy, Mich., +1-248-312-4344, karla.tucker@jdpa.com, or Syvetril 
Perryman, Westlake Village, Calif., +1-805-418-8103, 
syvetril.perryman@jdpa.com, both of J.D. Power and Associates
-0- Aug/09/2006 17:00 GMT
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