News Column

Detroit 3 Score High on Auto Quality Survey

May 13, 2013
2013 Dodge Dart (photo: Chrysler Group)
2013 Dodge Dart (photo: Chrysler Group)

The Detroit Three did surprisingly well on Strategic Vision's 2013 quality study with the Dodge Dart, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Volt getting the best scores in their respective segments.

For the first time in more than a decade cars and trucks made by domestic automakers finished first in a majority of the segments as they won or tied competitors in 12 of 21 categories.

The Dodge Dart received a score of 884, the highest in the compact segment, while the Ford Fusion and the Chevrolet Volt essentially tied for first in the mid-size car segment with a score of 908.

"The domestic automakers did a terrific job this year ... their challenge ... is to communicate the positive attributes of their products," said Alexander Edwards, president of the San Diego-based research and consulting firm.

Strategic Vision's Total Quality Index study summarizes how individual models, brands and corporations performed. The company uses a scale that measures multiple aspects of that customers use as a base for purchasing decisions.

The scale ranges from a high score of five for "I love it," to a low score of one if the customer views the feature as a "failure."

"We are not talking simply about things that break or things that go wrong, we are really talking about the customers perception of quality and how important that quality is," Edwards said.

Edwards said the Dodge Dart performed well because of its unique interior and sharp exterior styling.

"This particular study recognizes that to excel in overall quality it's important to also deliver well-crafted, exciting vehicles and ensure customer satisfaction after the sale," Doug Betts, Chrysler's senior vice president of quality said in a statement. "These honors show that customers appreciate the innovations in the all-new Dart as well as the ongoing improvements we're making throughout our product lineup."

Six General Motors models received the highest scores in their categories: Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Volt, Traverse, Corvette, Avalanche and GMC Yukon.

Among brands, Audi and Lexus tied for first place followed by Mini, Cadillac, BMW, Mercedes, Lincoln, Jaguar, Infiniti and Buick.

While Audi and Lexus are luxury brands, each brand excelled for different reasons, Edwards said.

Owners ranked Audi high because of performance and styling while Lexus received high marks for durability and comfort.

"We start with what's important to the customer, and for the Audi customers, they demand performance and styling," Edwards said.

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(c)2013 Detroit Free Press

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