The latest J. D. Power and Associates study, spotlighting initial quality performance for cars in the North American market, shows a marked increase in customer ratings for British brands Jaguar and Land Rover.
Jaguar becomes the highest ranked European nameplate, significantly ahead of the nearest rival.
Jaguar rose from tenth in 2003 to rank third overall, an increase of 20% on the previous year's performance, whilst Land Rover enjoyed a 22% increase, improving its position by seven places.
Jaguar's best performing model is the new XJ saloon, which was ranked second in the premium luxury car segment. The Jaguar S-TYPE and X-TYPE improved their performances by 28% and 13% respectively. Jaguar's Browns Lane factory, where the new XJ saloon is built, receives a bronze award for European plant performance.
Joe Greenwell, Chairman and CEO of Jaguar and Land Rover said: "Both brands have made significant progress in the authoritative and independent J.D. Power survey which very clearly highlights our commitment to continuous improvement.
The excellent rating of the new XJ saloon, and the Browns Lane plant, confirms that the launch of this new luxury saloon was the best quality launch in the company's history."
The new XJ saloon went on sale late last spring and already dominates the premium luxury market in the UK. It currently accounts for around 50 per cent of petrol-engined sales in the luxury sector and is class leader. Technology such as lightweight aluminium and enhanced engine performance mean that Jaguar is able to appeal to a wider premium customer base than ever before. At the recent New York Motor Show Jaguar announced a long wheelbase version of the car to extend its appeal to premium car buyers.
At Land Rover, the emphasis on improving quality processes within the manufacturing facility in recent years is beginning to be seen on products in the marketplace.
Buyers of premium products expect a high quality product in every respect and the increased focus on quality improvements at Land Rover, supported by substantial levels of investment, is beginning to be evident. By the end of 2004 in excess of £452m will have been invested by Ford Motor Company into new tooling, equipment and training at Land Rover's manufacturing plant at Solihull.
The unveiling of the latest Land Rover, the new Discovery 3, in New York last month underlined the step change in quality that comes as a result of better facilities, committed levels of investment and shared learning between the Premier Automotive Group brands.
Both Jaguar and Land Rover consider that quality products are of paramount importance and the companies will continue to work relentlessly towards achieving total customer satisfaction.
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