The Ipsos Quality Awards 2012 have revealed outstanding results with the best scores in the history of the survey, with an overall score for the passenger vehicle market of 41 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100).
"The problems per 100 vehicles index in South Africa has shown a sharp decrease with an overall improvement in quality of 52% in the past four years," says Patrick Busschau, Ipsos automotive business unit director.
The Ipsos Quality Awards were previously known as the Synovate Quality Awards and have been awarded to the industry for the past eight years. They are the benchmark in measuring the customer perspective on the experiences and vehicle quality in the South African vehicle industry.
The study is the largest survey of its kind in the country and forms part of Ipsos's Competitive Customer Experience - a study into vehicle product quality as well as sales and service experience.
Busschau says the study collectively talks to 22,000 South African vehicle owners a year. Respondents for PP100 are interviewed three months after purchasing their vehicles to ascertain what, if any, problems have been experienced in that period. The score is calculated as PP100 vehicles, which is a globally recognised approach.
Mercedes-Benz and Toyota have produced the lowest model scores across the segments. The best (lowest) score across all the segments belongs to the Mercedes-Benz B-Class (10 PP100), followed by the Mercedes-Benz M-Class (12 PP100), then the Toyota Auris X and Toyota Yaris 1.3 with scores of 13 PP100 each in their relevant segments.
"Once again, both Mercedes-Benz and Toyota have displayed excellent results and certainly deserve the recognition," says Busschau.
"It's great to see some different names in the rankings, such as Jeep. All the manufacturers are working hard to differentiate themselves and delight their customers and this is evidenced by the close competition and improved overall scores."
The Ipsos Quality Awards recognise the top three performers by model segments and also by brand categories.
Starting with the passenger vehicles, the top performer in the entry segment goes to the Toyota Yaris 1.0 (24 PP100). The Chevrolet Spark 1.2 and the Chevrolet Spark Lite are tied in second place with score of 31 PP100 each. Third place is shared among the Ford Figo (36 PP100), Volkswagen Vivo Hatch (36 PP100), Nissan Micra (37 PP100) and Volkswagen Vivo Sedan (40 PP100).
Toyota Auris X and Toyota Yaris 1.3 tie for first place in the small hatch segment - each with scores of 13 PP100. The Mazda 2 (26 PP100) follows in second position and the Opel Corsa, Peugeot 207 and Volkswagen Crosspolo come in tied at third with scores of 36 PP100, 37 PP100 and 39 PP100 respectively.
Top hatch produces fewer awards - Mercedes-Benz A-Class (21 PP100) yields the best score. Audi A3 Sportback (25 PP100) takes the silver award, followed by the Renault Megane (33 PP100).
Small sedan yields higher scores on average at 40 PP100. Frontrunner in this segment is the Toyota Corolla 1.3 (32 PP100), followed by the Chevrolet Aveo Sedan (37 PP100).
Audi A4 (26 PP100) wins the gold in the medium sedan segment, followed closely by the Lexus IS ( tied with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class petrol with 28 PP100 in second spot. In third place is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class diesel (36 PP100).
The Toyota Corolla 1.6 and 2.0 dominate the top sedan segment with a score of 19 PP100. The Mazda 3 and Chevrolet Cruze take second place with scores of 36 PP100 and 39 PP100 respectively. Volkswagen Jetta 6 (46 PP100) is in third place.
Top executive has only one gold award - the Mercedes-Benz E-Class with a score of 13 PP100. The Audi A5 and Mercedes-Benz SLK tie for first place in the sports coupe segment with 28 PP100 and 29 PP100 respectively. The Volkswagen Scirocco (56 PP100) comes in second.
The small recreational vehicle segment is led by the Nissan X-Trail with a score of 13 PP100. The Toyota RAV4 and the Volkswagen Tiguan are tied in third place with scores of 21 PP100 and 23 PP100 respectively. Third place is also a tie between the Audi Q5 (37 PP100) and the Jeep Patriot (39 PP100).
"Light commercial vehicles as a group have performed exceptionally well this year, with two of its segments scoring below 30 PP100," says Busschau
He says that each year the gap between passenger car and light commercial vehicle scores narrows.
Isuzu KB dominates both the petrol single cab and diesel single cab segments and it wins gold in both - 21 PP100 for its petrol model and 38 PP100 for its diesel model. Likewise, Toyota Hilux tops both the diesel double cab and petrol double cab segments with scores of 46 PP100 and 23 PP100 respectively.
Lastly, in the segment of three-quarter ton, the Nissan NP200 (34 PP100) features at the top. The Chevrolet Utility (73 PP100) and Ford Bantam (102 PP100) are placed in second and third place respectively.
Brand category awards are dominated by Toyota, which wins Best Volume Passenger Car Brand (tied with Mazda), Best One Ton Double Cab LCV Brand Overall, Best Local Plant Manufacturing Passenger Vehicles and Best Overall Light Commercial Brand.
Best Premium Passenger Car Brand goes to Mercedes-Benz. Nissan and Toyota share first position in the category of best Local Plant Manufacturing Light Commercial Vehicles and Isuzu takes gold in the category of Best One Ton Single Cab Light Commercial Brand.
Earlier this year in Ipsos' 2012 Ipsos Quality Awards for sales and service experience, top performing passenger car brands included Chevrolet, Audi and Volkswagen, while in the light commercial segment Chevrolet, Isuzu and Toyota delivered strong performances.
"There is much to be said of the effort that manufacturers and dealerships have put in over the past year to improve their customers' experience" says Busschau.
"There have been significant advances in technology, facilities, systems and financing processes. All of these factors play a big role in the overall customer experience, as well as the product itself.
"The brands that have focused on the more personal elements are the ones that have done particularly well," he says.
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