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Old 11-16-2006, 08:24 AM   #1
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Default Jaguar tops consumer satisfaction survey

Jaguar tops consumer satisfaction survey


DETROIT - Ford Motor Co.'s Jaguar unit led all auto brands in consumers' satisfaction with their car-buying experience, according to a survey released Wednesday by the J.D. Power and Associates research firm.

The California-based company said satisfaction with buying a new car registered a record high in the 20 years it has been conducting the survey.

Jaguar received 912 points out of a maximum of 1,000 to lead its closest competitor, General Motors Corp.'s Cadillac brand, in the survey of more than 42,000 people who registered new vehicles in May. Jaguar improved by 23 points over its score last year, and it had the largest margin of victory in the history of the survey.

"They did exceptionally well this year. Jaguar has been first the last three years on the study. They have traditionally done very well," said Tom Gauer, senior director of automotive retail practice for J.D. Power.

Cadillac scored an 891 in the survey, which measures consumer satisfaction with the dealership facility, the sales person, the paperwork and finance process, delivery process and vehicle price.

"In each one of those areas, the industry performed better than it ever has," said Gauer.

As in previous years, luxury nameplates generally performed better than nonluxury brands, with Lincoln and Porsche tied for third. Saturn, with its no-haggle pricing, ranked highest of the mainstream nameplates, tying with Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus luxury brand for fifth place.

The industry average score was 847, with luxury brands scoring an average of 876 and nonluxury brands averaging 843.

Gauer said Chevrolet and Ford performed better than Asian rivals Honda and Toyota, which traditionally are superior in J.D. Power's vehicle quality rankings.

The Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge brands of DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group bested Toyota but were behind Honda Motor Co.'s Honda brand in the survey.

Gauer said part of the domestics' leadership can be explained by demographics. Traditionally, the Asian automakers attract younger buyers who are tougher graders than older consumers, he said.

But still, the domestics largely performed better.

"When it comes to looking at issues more on the personal interaction side, the touchy-feely issues that we're looking at on the sales satisfaction side, Asian manufacturers are not as strong," he said.

Gauer said currently Honda and Toyota have such strong quality that their products sell themselves. But as other manufacturers narrow the quality gap, sales satisfaction scores could become more important, he said.

The lone exception to the Asian automakers' lower scores was Lexus, but it dropped from second last year to fifth this year even though it had the same score as last year.

"Other nameplates that do better jobs made more improvements," he said.
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