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J.D. POWER AND ASSOCIATES REPORTS: U.S. CONSUMERS INDICATE HUGE QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS FOR 1993 VEHICLES IN INITIAL QUALITY STUDY

 AGOURA HILLS, Calif., May 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The 1993 new car quality improvement of 14 percent over last year's models is the biggest one-year percentage leap seen since 1987 when J.D. Power and Associates started its current method of measuring initial vehicle quality after 90 days of ownership. Also, the quality improvement in new light trucks (both compact and full-size sport utilities, vans and pickups) jumped 12 percent. These are the overall results from the more than 45,000 consumers who responded to the annual, independently funded 1993 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Studies(sm), released today in the firm's publication, "The Power Report."
 The top nameplate rankings in both studies are dominated by Toyota Motor Sales. In the car study, its luxury division, Lexus, leads. In the light truck study, Toyota leads. In the J.D. Power and Associates New Car Initial Quality Study(sm), Lexus ranks highest, followed by Toyota, Infiniti (Nissan's luxury division), and Acura (American Honda's luxury division) and Lincoln tied for the fourth position. In all, 13 nameplates, of a total 32 measured, ranked above the industry average of 107 problems per 100 vehicles (the industry standard).
 "Consumers not only see dramatic improvement, they expect even more. These Initial Quality Study results mean even more pressure on the entire manufacturing `quality chain,'" noted J.D. Power III, president and founder of J.D. Power and Associates. "Consumers want -- no, they demand -- product quality improvements even from existing quality leaders. Just being better than last year is not a `win' for any manufacturer."
 Industry gains were also reflected in a nearly across-the-board improvement in 11 of the 12 major problem categories reported on in the New Car Initial Quality Study. These areas are further broken down into 89 specific vehicle problems. Since 1987, the base tracking year, the most significant improvements according to consumers have been in engine and electrical problems.
 In addressing nameplates by country of origin, Power stated, "While Asian nameplate manufacturers continued as a group to have the fewest reported problems, comparing historical trend data shows that the gap between Asian, European and domestic nameplates has narrowed. The European and domestic improvements of 19 percent and 17 percent, respectively, led to the narrowing of the gap even though the Asian nameplates improved by a dramatic 10 percent." Power continued, "Where a vehicle is produced is now nearly irrelevant to consumers because of the multiple new sources of assembly outside of the borders of origin countries."
 Light trucks, both compact and full-size, had an impressive 12 percent improvement in initial quality, despite the fact that problem incidence among import products actually rose 6 percent in 1993, according to "The Power Report." Domestic truck-makers' rate of improvement more than doubled in 1993. For the third year in a row, however, Toyota led the IQS truck list followed by Mazda, Ford and Nissan. In all, seven trucklines, out of a total 17, ranked above the industry average of 129.
 The New Car and Light Truck Initial Quality Studies are funded in their entirety by J.D. Power and Associates and are conducted among an independently sourced sample of new vehicle owners after 90 days of ownership. This assures the firm's independent perspective in presenting the voice of the U.S. consumer and their vehicle ownership experience.
 Other J.D. Power and Associates annually syndicated studies on the automotive industry include the Sales Satisfaction Study(sm) (Release: June 17, 1993) and the Customer Satisfaction Study(sm) (Release: July 6, 1993).
 J.D. Power and Associates is an international marketing information firm with headquarters in Agoura Hills and offices in Detroit; Westport, Conn.; Torrance, Calif.; Palo Alto, Calif.; and Tokyo. The firm is best known for its marketing information, consulting and measurement expertise in the areas of consumer opinion and customer satisfaction.
 J.D. POWER AND ASSOCIATES INITIAL QUALITY STUDY(sm)
 Pre-Determined Award Categories
 (In announcement dated Feb. 8, 1993)
 Best overall carline in initial quality: Lexus
 Price Class Awards(a)
 $12,000 and under: Toyota Tercel
 $12,001 to $17,000: Toyota Paseo
 $17,001 to $22,000: Toyota Camry
 $22,001 to $29,000: Ford Crown Victoria
 $29,001 and up: Lexus LS 400
 (a) 1993 J.D. Power and Associates Pricing/Financing Study(sm) Categories based on Average Median Transaction Price.
 Top-10 Models In Initial Quality
 1. Lexus LS 400
 2. Lexus SC 300/400
 3. Infiniti J30
 4. Infiniti Q45
 4. Toyota Camry
 6. Acura Legend
 6. Ford Crown Victoria
 8. Lexus ES 300
 9. Toyota Paseo
 10. Buick Park Avenue
 10. Toyota Corolla
 10. Toyota Tercel
 Plant Quality Awards
 Gold -- Plant Quality Award Toyota, Georgetown, Ky.
 Silver -- Plant Quality Award General Motors, Fort Wayne, Ind.
 Bronze -- Plant Quality Award Toyota, Cambridge, Ont.
 IQS Light Truck Awards
 Best Compact Pickup Toyota Pickup
 Best Compact Sport Utility Toyota 4Runner
 Best Compact Van Toyota Previa
 Best Full-Size Pickup Toyota T100
 Best Full-Size Sport Utility Toyota Landcruiser
 Best Full-Size Van Below Industry Average
 J.D. Power and Associates does not reveal the performance of those car and truck lines ranking below the industry average.
 Source: 1993 J.D. Power and Associates Early Buyer
 New Car Initial Quality Study(sm)
 New Light Truck Initial Quality Study(sm)
 -0- 5/27/93
 /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:

EH-LS -- LA018 -- 2998 05/27/93 13:35 EDT
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Date:May 27, 1993
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