Vehicle Satisfaction Awards
of a study released by noted automotive consulting firm AutoPacific, Inc. reveal
high owner satisfaction with new 2004 model year cars and light trucks. AutoPacific's
VSA (Vehicle Satisfaction Award) study is an industry benchmark for objectively
measuring owner satisfaction with their new vehicles.
is highest-rated brand for 2004, winning by a nose in a photo finish with Cadillac
and Lexus. These three brands have "owned" AutoPacific's Vehicle Satisfaction
Awards since 2001. Cadillac won in 2001, shared top honors with Lexus in 2002
and won outright again in 2003.
vehicle registering highest overall satisfaction for a fifth consecutive year
is Lexus LS430. The highest-rated truck is Cadillac's Escalade EXT sport utility
truck. This is Escalade EXT's second victory in as many years. Its 2004 score
only one point behind the gold-standard LS430 represents quite an accomplishment
for both a domestic manufacturer and a "truck".
Motors has four winners this year, tops among the various corporations. The GM
winners are Cadillac DeVille, taking the American Luxury Car category for the
third year in a row, Pontiac Grand Prix the Premium Mid-Size Car category, Cadillac
Escalade EXT the Light Duty Pickup category, and the new Chevrolet Colorado the
Compact Pickup category. DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group wins with PT Cruiser
in Compact Sport Utility, Dodge Ram HD in Large Heavy-Duty Pickup. Its Mercedes-Benz
of North America arm wins with its SL in the Sports Car category. American Honda
registers two corporate victories with Acura RSX tops among Sporty Cars and Honda
Odyssey winning Minivan honors, as does Ford with Mazda 6 in Standard Mid-Size
Car and Lincoln Navigator in Luxury Sport Utility. Rounding out the list of multiple
winners is Nissan-USA, which wins two awards with the Entry Luxury Maxima and
the new Armada Large SUV. Armada's victory is particularly notable in that it
is a completely new vehicle with new chassis, powertrain and body, built in an
all-new greenfield plant in Mississippi by a workforce that for the most part
has never built vehicles before. Quite an accomplishment by any definition.
president George Peterson notes "Korean makers remain a factor in the satisfaction
stakes this year, with Hyundai's Santa Fe Midsize Sport Utility winning its class
for the third year running. We all know Korean quality is improving at a rapid
rate. What is both surprising and notable is Korean ability not just to build
quality in from the outset, but to keep the quality initiative going over an extended
build run. This reinforces what we've suspected for awhile now. Korean success
is not just a flash-in-the-pan, but is likely to continue into the future."
Luxury Car Lexus LS 430 (5-peat winner)
Car Nissan Maxima
American Luxury Car Cadillac DeVille (3-peat
Premium Midsize Car Pontiac Grand Prix
Car Mazda6 (repeat winner)
Compact Car Volkswagen Jetta
Sports Car Mercedes-Benz SL
Sporty Car Acura RSX
Large Light-Duty Pickup Cadillac Escalade EXT
Large Heavy-Duty Pickup Dodge Ram HD
Compact Pickup Chevrolet Colorado
Luxury Sport Utility Lincoln Navigator
Large Sport Utility Nissan Armada
Premium Midsize Sport Utility Mitsubishi
Standard Midsize Sport Utility Hyundai Santa Fe
Compact Sport Utility Chrysler PT Cruiser
Odyssey (repeat winner)
winning manufacturers receive AutoPacific's coveted VSA "speedform"
award, featuring a blue stylized vehicle mounted on a clear and black plexiglass
base. The speedform, with its decidedly automotive shape and appearance, underscores
AutoPacific's role as an auto industry specialist.
addition to identifying segment winners, VSA also establishes numerical satisfaction
ratings for virtually every passenger car and light truck in the North American
market. This results from calculating owner satisfaction across 44 specific areas
related to a vehicle's operation, comfort, safety and the overall purchase/lease
experience. 2004 ratings reflect input from more than 32,000 buyers and lessees
of new vehicles acquired September-December 2003.
releases VSS results yearly as a consumer and industry service. AutoPacific also
offers a Satisfaction Benchmark Study (SBS) that analyzes, on a feature-by-feature
basis, cars and trucks in the North American market. This study allows manufacturers
and key suppliers to assess and compare their vehicles on a feature level with
the best in the business. "We feel SBS is the best and most economical way
for manufacturers and suppliers to rate their own performance, and find out who
is setting the standard for satisfaction. It then takes the analysis to the discrete
level, from cupholders to the dealership experience," says Peterson.
is a future-oriented automotive marketing and product consulting firm. Every year
it publishes a wide variety of syndicated studies on the automotive industry.
The firm also conducts extensive proprietary research and consulting for auto
manufacturers, distributors, marketers and suppliers worldwide. Company headquarters
are in Tustin, California, with an affiliate office in the Detroit area.