J.D. Power And Associates And What Car? Report: Ford Is The Most Improved Brand In Customer Satisfaction

Japanese Carmakers Remain the Quality and Reliability Leaders

Ford, the best selling car brand in the UK, has made the most dramatic improvement in customer satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power and Associates/What Car? magazine 2003 UK Car Customer Satisfaction (CSI)SM Study. However, for true peace of mind, Japanese brands on average remain the most hassle-free cars to own and operate, according to the study.

For the third year running, Lexus has topped the UK’s leading car customer satisfaction study, now in its tenth year. The study shows overall satisfaction with vehicles from all manufacturers has risen three points from 791 in 2002 to 794 in 2003 with 13 of the top 20 models being built by Japanese manufacturers.

The top vehicle brands in overall customer satisfaction for 2003 are Lexus at 861 points, an increase of one point over 2002, closely followed by Toyota (848), which improved by five points. BMW is third (838 points) changing places with Skoda (836 points), which was third in 2002.

The most dramatic improvement among those brands above industry average is by Ford, which improved by 21 points, making strong gains in quality and reliability, dealer service, vehicle appeal and overall ownership costs. Just trailing Ford for the most improved brand is Honda, with a 20 index point improvement.

"It is common knowledge that Ford’s cars have improved markedly over the last few years, but the 2003 study shows that dealer service has also taken a big leap forward. However, the fact remains that Japanese brands on average still hold a commanding lead, demonstrating that most European brands have some way to go to match their levels of customer satisfaction," said Dave Sargent, director of European operations, J.D. Power and Associates.

From What Car? magazine’s perspective, "The best way to find out what a car is really like is to live with it," said Rob Aherne, editor. "The J.D. Power and Associates Customer Satisfaction Index is the ultimate short-cut to acquiring that knowledge."

The 2003 J.D. Power and Associates/What Car? study is based on evaluations of more than 24,000 owners of ‘X’ and ‘Y’ registration vehicles and covers 32 brands and 138 models. Owners provide detailed evaluations of their vehicles and dealers, encompassing 77 attributes, which are grouped together into four key measures of satisfaction (the importance of each measure is shown as a percentage):
  • Quality and Reliability (41%)
  • Vehicle Appeal (26%) - includes performance, design, comfort, features
  • Ownership Costs (18%) - includes fuel consumption, insurance and costs of service/repair
  • Service Satisfaction (16%)

In 2003, only two of these four factors improved. Vehicle Appeal increased by two points and Ownership Costs improved by 16 points. Quality and Reliability remained the same as in 2002, and Service Satisfaction decreased by 3 points.

For the second year running, Lexus led with the highest ratings for quality and reliability and for vehicle appeal, Skoda owners were most satisfied with ownership costs, while Lexus and Jaguar tied for the lead in dealer service satisfaction.

The study is designed to help manufacturers provide high levels of satisfaction to their customers, and gives consumers access to reliable and accurate information about as many different vehicles as possible.

The European headquarters of J.D. Power and Associates is located in Guildford, UK. J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services firm operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, consulting, training and customer satisfaction.

Published 17 April 2003 Melanie Carter
 
 

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