J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Six Canadian-Made Models Perform Well in Initial Quality Study, But Competition Intensifies with Other North American Plants



    Four Canadian Plants Rank in Top Fifteen in North and South America, Down
    from Six in 2006

    TORONTO, June 6 /CNW/ - Three Canadian-made vehicle models receive
segment awards, and three additional Canadian-made models rank within the top
three in their respective segments, according to the J.D. Power and Associates
2007 U.S. Initial Quality Study(SM) (IQS) released today.

    
    These high-ranking models are:
    -   Honda Civic (American Honda's Alliston, Ontario, plant) ranks highest
        in the compact car segment
    -   Toyota Corolla (Toyota's Cambridge, Ontario, plant) ranks second in
        the compact car segment
    -   Honda Ridgeline (American Honda's Alliston, Ontario, plant) ranks
        second in the midsize pickup segment
    -   Chevrolet Monte Carlo (General Motors' Oshawa 1, Ontario, plant)
        ranks third in the midsize sporty segment
    -   Lexus RX 350 (Toyota's Cambridge, Ontario, plant) ranks highest in
        the midsize premium multi-activity vehicle (MAV) segment
    -   Pontiac Grand Prix (General Motors' Oshawa 2, Ontario, plant) ranks
        highest in the large car segment
    

    In addition, four Canadian plants rank in the top 15 in terms of initial
quality out of the North and South American plants studied. These plants are
General Motors' Oshawa 2 plant, which receives the Silver Plant Quality Award;
Toyota's Cambridge plant; General Motors' Oshawa 1, Ontario plant and Ford
Motor Company's St. Thomas plant. This number is slightly decreased from the
2006 study, in which six Canadian plants ranked in the top 15.
    For the first time since 1999, a North American assembly plant receives
the Platinum Plant Quality Award for producing vehicles yielding the fewest
defects. Ford Motor Company's Wixom, Mich., plant produced the Lincoln Town
Car and averages just 35 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). American Honda's
East Liberty, Ohio, plant, which produces the Honda Civic Sedan and Honda
Element, earns the Bronze Plant Quality Award. Plant awards are based solely
on defect scores.
    "The results of the study indicate that the level of competition among
Canadian plants to build quality vehicles continues to intensify," said
Richard Cooper, vice president of J.D. Power and Associates' Canadian
operations. "The significance for Canada is that we cannot afford to be
complacent with the status quo. If we expect to continue to attract investment
in auto and parts manufacturing, our claim to quality needs to be demonstrated
in the experiences of customers who buy vehicles."

    Other 2007 Plant Quality Award Recipients
    -----------------------------------------
    In the Asia Pacific region, Toyota's Kyushu, Japan, plant, which produces
the Lexus ES 350, Lexus IS 250/IS 350, Lexus RX 350, Lexus RX 400h and Toyota
Highlander/Highlander Hybrid receives the Gold Plant Quality Award. Toyota's
Fujimatsu, Japan, plant, which produces the Toyota Prius, earns the Silver
Plant Quality Award. American Honda's Sayama, Japan, and Suzuka, Japan, plants
tie for the Bronze Plant Quality Award. The Sayama plant produces the Acura
RL, Acura TSX, Honda Accord Sedan/Hybrid Sedan and Honda CR-V. The Suzuka
plant produces the Honda Civic Sedan/Hybrid Sedan, Fit and S2000.
    BMW's Regensburg, Germany, plant, which produces the BMW 3 Series Coupe
and 3 Series Sedan, receives the Gold Plant Quality Award for Europe. Earning
the Silver Quality Plant Award is the DaimlerChrysler Sindelfingen, Germany,
plant, which produces the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, CL-Class, CLS-Class, E-Class
Sedan, E-Class Wagon, and S-Class. Volkswagen of America's Neckarsulm,
Germany, plant, which produces the Audi A6 Avant, A6 Sedan, A8 Sedan, RS 4
Sedan, S6 Sedan and S8 Sedan, receives the Bronze Plant Quality Award.

    2007 U.S. Initial Quality Study Findings
    ----------------------------------------
    The Initial Quality Study serves as the industry benchmark for
new-vehicle quality measured at 90 days of ownership and captures problems
experienced by owners in two distinct categories - quality of design and
quality of production (defects and malfunctions). Over the past 20 years, the
automotive industry has improved in quality at the rate of 6 percent per year
on average - a 20-year improvement rate of more than 120 percent. In addition,
the study has found that the automotive industry has reduced problem counts by
50 percent every 7 to 8 years.
    The study finds that vehicle redesigns and product launches create
quality challenges for manufacturers as they continue to develop and introduce
new and advanced automotive technologies. On average, a vehicle redesign
increases problem counts by 10 problems per 100 vehicles.
    "Ideally, manufacturers should aim to achieve high initial quality when
launching a new model, since this builds a strong foundation for future years
and can become a differentiating factor relative to the competition," said
Neal Oddes, director of product research and analysis at J.D. Power and
Associates. "One year after launch, initial quality begins to improve by an
average of 7 PP100. If a model launches with lower initial quality, it is more
difficult for the manufacturer to keep pace with the competition over time."

    2007 U.S. IQS Ranking Highlights
    --------------------------------
    Ford Motor Company garners five top model segment awards - more than any
other automobile corporation this year - with the Ford Mustang, Lincoln Mark
LT, Lincoln MKZ, Mazda MX-5 Miata and Mercury Milan.
    Mercedes-Benz and Toyota models capture three segment awards each. Toyota
models that receive awards are the 4Runner, Sequoia and Tacoma. Mercedes-Benz
models that earn awards are the E-Class (total), SL-Class and the S-Class. The
S-Class ties with the Audi A8 (total) for having the fewest quality problems
in the industry, with just 72 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100).
    "Mercedes-Benz shows dramatic improvement, particularly with its
newly-redesigned S-Class, which improves 63 PP100," said Oddes. "Overall,
Mercedes-Benz improves its nameplate rank by 20 positions-the greatest rank
increase of any nameplate in the study. All Mercedes-Benz models in the study
improved substantially, and the breadth and speed of these improvements
demonstrates the Mercedes-Benz commitment to quality."
    For the second consecutive year, Porsche tops the overall nameplate
rankings, averaging 91 PP100. Following in the rankings are Lexus, Lincoln,
Honda and Mercedes-Benz, respectively. Honda, with the fewest problems per 100
among non-premium brands, improves in the ranking to fourth from sixth since
the 2006 study and earns awards with the Civic and CR-V. Among non-premium
brands, Kia posts the largest improvement in ranking, moving from 24th in 2006
to 12th in 2007 and earning an award for the Kia Rio/Rio 5 for the second year
in a row.
    The most improved nameplates in the study are Land Rover (increasing in
initial quality by 34 PP100), Saab (improving by 30 PP100) and Mercedes-Benz
(increasing by 28 PP100).
    Other nameplates receiving model awards in 2007 include Chevrolet
(Express and Silverado Classic HD), Lexus (RX350/RX400h), Pontiac (Grand Prix)
and Porsche (Boxster).
    The 2007 U.S. Initial Quality Study is based on responses from more than
97,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2007 model-year cars and trucks surveyed
after 90 days of ownership. The study is based on a 228-question battery
designed to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate problem
determination and drive product improvement.
    For more detailed findings on new-vehicle quality performance as well as
model photos and specs, please visit www.jdpower.com.

    About J.D. Power and Associates

    Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is
an ISO 9001-registered global marketing information services firm operating in
key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance
improvement, training and customer satisfaction. The firm's quality and
satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers
annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance,
health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit jdpower.com. J.D.
Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

    About The McGraw-Hill Companies

    Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global
information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial
services, education and business information markets through leading brands
such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power
and Associates. The Corporation has more than 290 offices in 40 countries.
Sales in 2006 were $6.3 billion. Additional information is available at
http://www.mcgraw-hill.com.

    No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in
this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and
Associates. www.jdpower.com/corporate.

    
                 NOTE: Detailed charts available upon request
    




For further information:

For further information: J.D. Power and Associates Media Relations
Contacts: John Tews, J.D. Power and Associates, Troy, Mich., (248) 312-4119,
john.tews@jdpa.com; Alexandra Cygal, Cohn & Wolfe, Toronto, Canada, (416)
924-5700 ext. 4076, alexandra_cygal@ca.cohnwolfe.com

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