While Japanese brands continue to dominate the customer satisfaction rankings, four of the top 10 most-satisfying models are built in Britain, according to the J.D. Power and Associates/What Car? magazine 2006 Car Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study SM released today.

Honda Civic, Toyota Avensis, Toyota Corolla and Jaguar S-Type, which are all built in Britain, rank within the top 10 models in the study, while British brands MINI and Jaguar rank within the top 10 nameplates. Škoda, BMW and Volvo represent the remaining European brands ranking among the top 10 nameplates.

“Despite the recent, well-documented problems faced by the UK car manufacturing industry, Britain continues to build great cars,” said David Motton, editor of What Car? magazine. ” While Lexus continues to set the benchmark for customer satisfaction, it is encouraging to see British brands such as MINI and Jaguar performing strongly, signifying that with the right investment and management, British-built vehicles can be a pleasure to own.”

Luxury Japanese brand Lexus tops the nameplate rankings for a sixth consecutive year with a customer satisfaction score of 873 index points on a 1,000-point scale. With a 25-point increase from the 2005 study, Lexus also attains the award for the most improved nameplate in 2006. Honda (848), Škoda (842) and Toyota (838), respectively, follow Lexus in the rankings. Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Volkswagen and Subaru also show strong improvement in overall customer satisfaction among brands performing above average.

Lexus also builds the highest-ranking model in the study, the Lexus IS (868 index points). The Honda Jazz, which ranked highest in 2004 and 2005, follows the IS at 861 points. With an increase of 48 index points from 2005, the Suzuki Liana (856) ranks third overall.

“Over the past year, customer satisfaction across the industry has improved by 5 index points,” said Frank Parisi, director of European automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates. “The main reason for this is a substantial improvement in satisfaction with the performance of the UK’s car dealers when the customer takes their car in to be serviced or repaired. This year, 24 of the 30 ranked brands have shown an improvement in this area which is a very encouraging trend”

Of the brands scoring above average, those that show the greatest improvement in satisfaction with dealer service include Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Volkswagen and Subaru.

The 2006 UK Car Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study is based on the evaluations of nearly 15,000 UK car owners after an average of two years of ownership. The study includes 30 brands and 105 models. Owners provide detailed evaluations of their vehicles and dealers, which covers 77 attributes grouped into four measurements of satisfaction. In order of importance, they are:

  • Quality and Reliability (30%)
  • Vehicle Appeal (28%), which includes performance, design, comfort and features
  • Dealer Service Satisfaction (22%)
  • Ownership Costs (19%), which includes fuel consumption, insurance and costs of service/repair

The annual J.D. Power and Associates/What Car? study is designed to help manufacturers provide high levels of satisfaction to their customers, and gives consumers access to reliable and accurate information about many different vehicle models.

Source: J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Car Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study SM