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J.D. POWER AND ASSOCIATES 1993 CUSTOMER SATISFACTION INDEX STUDY SHOWS ACCELERATION AFTER 1992 SLOWDOWN IN IMPROVEMENT

 AGOURA HILLS, Calif., July 6 /PRNewswire/ -- J.D. Power and Associates 1993 Customer Satisfaction Index Study(SM)(CSI) reports that the auto industry's customer satisfaction improvement trend is back on track. According to the firm's publication, The Power Report, automakers' drive for customer satisfaction excellence slowed in 1992. However, a six-point improvement in the 1993 CSI industry average from 1992 suggests the car industry is once again on the move. In addition, every car nameplate in the 1993 CSI study, from the top-ranked to the lowest, exceeded the 1988 industry average of 108.
 "As vehicle prices increase and product quality improves, an automobile dealership's need to stand out from others by providing excellent service satisfaction also increases," said J.D. Power III, president and founder, J.D. Power and Associates. "We are now entering a period where the overall consistency and level of dealership customer satisfaction and service are the strategic distribution issues facing each manufacturer."
 In all, 16 nameplates ranked at or above the 1993 CSI industry average of 135 index points. The 1992 CSI industry average was 129. Lexus ranked as the No. 1 carline in customer satisfaction with a Customer Satisfaction Index score of 175, followed by Infiniti with a CSI score of 170, and General Motors' Saturn ranked third with a CSI score of 156. Lexus has been ranked as the No. 1 carline in Customer Satisfaction for three years in a row (with a tie for the No. 1 spot in 1991 with Infiniti). Lexus slipped somewhat in overall CSI score this year, dropping a total of four index points. Infiniti, however, narrowed the spread between itself and Lexus with a three-point improvement over last year.
 For the second year in a row, Saturn remained perched in third place as the leading domestic nameplate. A decline in the three-year-old carlines Customer Handling factor score resulted in a four-point overall loss in Saturn's overall CSI score. Mercedes-Benz was the top European carline in Customer Satisfaction.
 In the independent study, two major factors, comprised of a total of 23 performance indicators, are identified from consumer opinions. One factor, Vehicle Repair and Reliability, explains 60 percent of all differences in relative satisfaction ranking. The other, Customer Handling, is related to services performed at dealerships and explains the other 40 percent of competitive differences. A unique J.D. Power and Associates methodology isolates these essential indicators.
 On trucks, according to The Power Report, Toyota ranked as the No. 1 Truckline in Customer Satisfaction for the third year in a row. Toyota's CSI score of 165 is a 14-point improvement over its 192 CSI score of 151. Oldsmobile achieved a second-place ranking among the light truck nameplate ranking with a CSI score of 146. Dodge ranked third with a CSI score of 142 among the eight truck nameplates ranking at or above the industry average of 138. The 1993 Light Truck Customer Satisfaction Index Study includes compact and full-size pickups, vans and sport utilities.
 Japanese car nameplates, as a group, continue to set the pace in customer satisfaction. However, the domestic makes have now slashed the CSI gap between themselves and the industry-leading Japanese nameplates from 25 index points in 1986 to nine index points in 1993. The domestics also passed the Europeans in customer satisfaction performance for the second time, registering a two-point advantage.
 The J.D. Power and Associates New Car and Light Truck Customer Satisfaction Index Studies(SM) are an annual independently funded assessment of customer handling and vehicle repair/reliability based on responses from more than 31,000 owners of cars and light trucks after one year of ownership. J.D. Power and Associates does not reveal the performance of nameplates or models ranking below the industry average.
 J.D. Power and Associates is an international marketing information firm with headquarters in Agoura Hills. The firm also has offices in Detroit; Westport, Conn.; Torrance, Calif.; Palo Alto, Calif.; and Tokyo. J.D. Power and Associates is best known for its marketing information, consulting and measurement expertise in the areas of consumer opinion and customer satisfaction.
 -0- 7/6/93
 /CONTACT: Patricia A. Patano or Jim Olson of J.D. Power and Associates, 818-889-6330/


CO: J.D. Power and Associates ST: California IN: AUT SU:

LM-LS -- LA016 -- 8653 07/06/93 13:31 EDT
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Date:Jul 6, 1993
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