Best quality cars announced

2015-10-27 06:00

Lexus ES is the best luxury passenger car, according to a study of car quality. 


Lexus ES is the best luxury passenger car, according to a study of car quality. PHOTO: quickpic

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If you own a Lexus ES, Volkswagen Polo Vivo hatch, Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé, Toyota Avanza or previous generation Audi Q7, you have a winner.

Similarly if you park a Nissan NP200 bakkie, Hardbody petrol or Navara diesel double cab, or a Toyota Hilux petrol or diesel single cab in your garage . . .

But you probably already know that.

Still, it’s good to know that in terms of quality (and reliability) you have made the right choice, as confirmed by the findings of the latest in-depth Ipsos quality study, which includes cars sold last year, released last week.

Over 30 000 samples

The study was conducted using telephonic interviews with over 30 000 car owners last year. The owners’ buying and service experiences were measured 10 to 35 days after delivery, while product quality interviews took place 90 days after buying the car.

According to Ipsos, the survey is strictly controlled to ensure high levels of scientific validity and reliability. So, for example, a sample that is too small for certain brands or models will not be listed in the rankings.

The best-performing car manufacturers and distributors are rewarded for excellence with three levels of awards (gold, silver and bronze), while discretionary platinum awards are given for consistent excellence.

But before getting into the detail, let’s qualify a couple of things.

Participation of the Ipsos product quality study is voluntary, and while it covers manufacturers and distributors responsible for more than 83% of the country’s annual sales, some notable brands are shining in their absence.

These include BMW (a hint of arrogance, perhaps?), Chrysler and Fiat, Hyundai, Jaguar and Land Rover, as well as all the Indian and Chinese manufacturers.

This is important, as their non-participation obviously make the study less representative. It’s also a pity, as BMW’s performance in terms of quality in local manufacturing in particular, could have added some perspective.

Also of interest is the influence of manufacturing origin on the quality ratings of some imported models.

This is specifically true of some Indian sourced products, such as the Honda Brio and Ballade, Ford Ikon and Figo, and the Renault Duster (now sourced from Romania in Europe); the Toyota Etios being a notable exception.

Also interesting is the fact that locally produced light commercial vehicles (LCVs) are still viewed as of marginally lesser quality than vehicles sourced from overseas. This may be a result of comparing local, mostly bakkie-based product with more sophisticated, vehicle-based imported models.

A further observation is the correlation (or lack thereof?) of results for the quality study and those of the Ipsos Purchasing and Servicing Quality Awards announced in June.

Volkswagen and Audi fared very well in this regard but even so did not blitz the latest quality results.

Top performers

So who are the top performers? Toyota fared particularly well in the latest study, especially with its LCV range.

After being awarded with four consecutive gold awards, Toyota received platinum awards for Best Overall LCV Brand, Best One Ton Double Cab LCV Brand and Best Local Plant Manufacturing LCVs in the latest results.

Toyota – together with Kia – was also awarded with gold as the Best Volume Passenger Car Brand and – along with Mercedes-Benz – was ranked first as the Best Local Manufacturing Plant for Passenger Cars.

As last year, Mercedes-Benz continued to be a front-runner in product quality. Not only did it receive a gold award as the Best Luxury Passenger Car Brand, but after four consecutive gold awards, the E-Class was recognised as the Best Top Executive Model and received a platinum award.

The A-Class received a gold award as the Most Improved Luxury Passenger Car and ranked alongside Toyota as the Best Local Manufacturing Plant for Passenger Cars.

New cars

In the rankings for new cars (not included in the previous study) the Lexus ES won gold in the category for luxury passenger cars.

The relaunched Nissan Sentra was the Best New Volume Passenger Car and Kia’s new Sorento was judged the Best New Recreational Vehicle.

The Best New Light Commercial Vehicle was the new Nissan Hardbody petrol double cab.


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