Originally created 06/08/06

Toyota dominates 2006 vehicle quality rankings



DETROIT - Toyota Motor Corp. continued to dominate the initial quality rankings, grabbing the top spot in 11 out of 19 segments in the 2006 survey by J.D. Power and Associates, released Wednesday.

Porsche dominated the overall ranking of brands, averaging 91 problems per 100 vehicles. That compared with an industry average of 124 problems per 100 vehicles.

The study, in its 20th year, was revamped to isolate consumers' concerns about design flaws, as distinct from defects and malfunctions. The change in methodology makes year-to-year comparisons impossible.

However, a parallel survey conducted using the old methodology found that as a whole, the industry improved 8 percent from 2005, said Joe Ivers, executive director of quality and customer satisfaction research at J.D. Power.

Lexus, Toyota's luxury brand, came in second in the overall nameplate rankings, with 93 problems per 100 vehicles. The Toyota brand came in fourth with 106.

"They're the closest thing to defect-free," Ivers said of the two brands.

In vehicle segments, Toyota had five winners, including the Corolla for compact car, the Camry for midsize car, and the Sequoia for large sport utility vehicle. Lexus had six top vehicles, including the IS 250 and IS 350 for entry premium car, the SC 430 for premium sporty car and LX 470 for large premium SUV.

Of the Big Three domestic automakers, General Motors Corp. made the strongest showing. Its vehicles won in two segments - large pickup (Chevrolet Silverado) and large car (Pontiac Grand Prix). The Chrysler Town & Country was the top-ranked van, and the Ford Ranger won for midsize pickup.

Hyundai Motor Co. scored a sleeper hit with consumers, with the Hyundai brand coming in No. 3 with an average 102 problems. The Hyundai Tucson took the top spot for compact SUV or crossover.

For the study, J.D. Power collected responses from 63,607 purchasers and lessees of new 2006 model-year vehicles after 90 days of ownership.

This year's survey included 217 questions, up from 135 in previous years, and asked for information specifically about design problems, as well as defects.

BMW AG's BMW brand had few defects, but one of the highest number of complaints about design - specifically about the way the brand integrated new technology into its vehicles, Ivers said.

Top-ranked vehicles in J.D. Power's 2006 quality study

J.D. Power and Associates on Wednesday released its annual survey of initial quality for 2006 model year vehicles, based on questionnaires sent to new-vehicle owners.

These are the top performers and runners-up in each category. An MAV, or multi-activity vehicle, refers to sport utility vehicles and crossovers.

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Sub-compact car:

-Winners: Kia Rio/Rio Cinco and Suzuki Aerio (tie)

-Runner-up: Scion xA

Compact car:

-Winner: Toyota Corolla

-Runners-up: Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic

Compact sporty car:

-Winner: Mazda MX-5 Miata

-Runners-up: Hyundai Tiburon, Scion tC

Compact premium sporty car:

-Winner: Porsche Cayman

-Runners-up: Honda S2000, Porsche Boxster

Entry premium car:

-Winner: Lexus IS 250/IS 350

-Runners-up: Lincoln Zephyr, Acura TL

Midsize premium car:

-Winner: Lexus ES 330

-Runners-up: Infiniti M-Series, Jaguar S-Type (tie)

Large premium car:

-Winner: Lexus LS 430

-Runners-up: Audi A8, BMW 7 Series

Premium sporty car:

-Winner: Lexus SC 430

-Runners-up: Porsche 911; Chevrolet Corvette, Mercedes-Benz SL-Class (tie)

Midsize sporty car:

-Winner: Toyota Solara

-Runners-up: Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Monte Carlo

Midsize car:

-Winner: Toyota Camry

-Runners-up: Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata

Large Car:

-Winner: Pontiac Grand Prix

-Runners-up: Hyundai Azera, Nissan Maxima

Compact MAV:

-Winner: Hyundai Tucson

-Runners-up: Honda CR-V, Nissan Xterra

Midsize MAV:

-Winner: Toyota Highlander

-Runners-up: Buick Rainier, Toyota 4Runner

Large MAV:

-Winner: Toyota Sequoia

-Runners-up: GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Tahoe

Midsize premium MAV:

-Winner: Lexus GX 470

-Runners-up: Volvo XC70, Lexus RX 330/RX 400h

Large premium MAV:

-Winner: Lexus LX 470

-Runners-up: Lincoln Mark LT, Hummer H2

Large Pickup:

-Winner: Chevrolet Silverado LD

-Runners-up: Chevrolet Silverado HD, GMC Sierra HD (tie)

Midsize Pickup:

-Winner: Ford Ranger

-Runners-up: Honda Ridgeline, Subaru Baja (tie)

Van:

-Winner: Chrysler Town & Country

-Runners-up: GMC Savana, Dodge Caravan

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Source: J.D. Power and Associates.

On the Net:

J.D. Power and Associates: http://www.jdpower.com