Lexus ES wins the Vehicle Satisfaction Award for the Mid-Size Luxury Car segment, collecting high marks for attributes we have come to expect from the Lexus brand. In its fifth generation, ES owners still report solid satisfaction with their vehicles. This is the second year in a row for the Lexus ES to take home a VSA. Of the 48 measurements included in AutoPacific’s vehicle satisfaction calculations, the ES won 23 outright.
• Vehicle and brand reputation
• Overall quality, durability, reliability and dependability
• Vehicle’s ride along with interior controls with a quality feel/operation
• Feel of fabrics and materials along with top marks for driver’s seat comfort
• Anticipated resale value
We all know Lexus products as being paragons of quality and refinement, but many younger enthusiast drivers have long passed over the brand in favor of established performance names like BMW and Audi. No surprise there; Lexus products tend to be amazingly refined and quiet, providing a driving experience akin to manning a hyperbaric chamber. Given Lexus’ 20 past years of wresting away market share from the Germans and the fact that they’ve been the best-selling luxury brand in the US for years, we’d have to say they’ve got the American luxury buyer licked. The majority of American luxury buyers really do want to waft along in utter silence, and no one does that better than Lexus.
The coveted entry luxury buyer (who represents a long-term opportunity to retain and move up through the brand), however, is younger and often wants a more engaging drive. And to those buyers, the BMW 3-Series has long been the default choice. There’s good reason: in addition to looking great and possessing a really aspirational badge, the 3-Series has been generally peerless in terms of handling, steering, and that elusive “feel” that makes the car so wonderful to drive. No pretender, in my opinion, has ever really been able to mix those components into a cocktail quite as tasty as the BMW.
The March 23 Los Angeles Times editorial ‘You can depend on Detroit” hits the mark; today’s auto industry is a tremendously competitive place. Consumers can now choose cars and trucks from domestic (Detroit) automakers that match the quality and reliability of vehicles from Japanese or European makers. So why won’t Americans buy American cars?
Buyers have long memories. In the late ’70s through the early ’90s American manufacturers dropped the ball in product quality, reliability and customer service. While those problems have largely been corrected, the stark reality is that many people were burned during those years and they will forever be biased against the Detroit Big Three. Parents have influenced their children. Friends have influenced neighbors. Worrisome for the domestic makers, many Americans today have never, never owned an American car. They have no point of reference or familiarity with today’s domestic offerings.
During the auto industry bailout testimony by the Detroit Big Three, Senator after Congressman castigated the DB3 management for selling vehicles Americans did not want to buy. Based on AutoPacific research, it is the government officials who are out of touch with today’s reality, not the U.S. automakers. In fact, in AutoPacific’s most recent research with owners of new cars and trucks, and echoed by other automotive researchers, both General Motors and Ford Motor Company products won more than their fair share of awards for satisfying their customers and developing vehicles ideal for their target customers.
Lexus builds outstanding vehicles supported by a great dealership experience. But its position atop durability studies is not unassailable. Today, American consumers have terrific choices – foreign AND domestic.
AutoPacific: Owners made the Lexus LS the winner of the 2008 Motorist Choice Award® for premium luxury car by providing the LS with top ratings where it counts: Power, braking, handling and being fun to drive. Owners also applauded the ease of getting in and out of the LS, as well as its exterior styling.
IntelliChoice: While the Lexus LS was not the best in either ownership costs or the AutoPacific survey, it took second place in both. The LS has excellent retained value and repair costs.
AutoPacific: Even though the number of competitors in the crossover SUV segment keeps going up, one of the category’s pioneers won the 2008 Motorist Choice Award®. Lexus RX owners claimed victory with high ratings for ingress/egress and reliability. RX also tops the charts in vehicle reputation and overall satisfaction.
IntelliChoice: The Lexus RX was a 2008 BOVY Winner and a 2008 Vehicle Satisfaction Award winner. The Lexus RX has best-in-class retained value and much better than expected insurance costs.
AutoPacific: Owners are more comfortable in the driver’s seat of a Lexus ES than in any other vehicle in the segment. This – in addition to highly rated instrumentation, controls and ride – earned ES a 2008 Motorist Choice Award®. Also adding to the victory were high marks for ride and innovative technology and overall experience.
IntelliChoice: The Lexus ES was a 2008 BOVY Winner, a 2008 Vehicle Satisfaction Award winner, and it has best-in-class ownership costs. In addition, the Lexus ES has the best-in-class retained value, repairs and insurance costs.
AutoPacific: Call it ‘entry-level luxury’, ‘compact executive’, or ‘aspirational luxury,’ but owners are simply calling it a winner. They rate Lexus’ brand reputation and Lexus dealerships as significant contributors toward the brand’s 2008 Motorist Choice Award® win. With segment-leading overall satisfaction, the Lexus IS scored extremely well with owners in durability, reliability and overall quality. Owners also gave the IS high marks for quality materials, instrumentation, controls and comfy seats.
IntelliChoice: The Lexus IS has the Best in Class ownership costs, best retained value and strong fuel and repair costs.
Each year AutoPacific identifies the Brand and individual vehicles that top all others in vehicle satisfaction: The Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award (VSA) is an industry benchmark for objectively measuring how satisfied an owner is with their new passenger car or light truck. Owner satisfaction is measured across 46 specific areas related to a vehicle’s operation, comfort, safety and the overall purchase/lease experience. The 2008 ratings reflect input from 33,500 buyers and lessees of new vehicles acquired September through December 2007.
2008 Vehicle Satisfaction Award top brand honors went to Cadillac, while other luxury brands such as Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche also had strong showings. But what does it mean to have a top brand? Though calculations single out one brand as having the highest overall score, each individual attribute also has its own top scorer. Sometimes the detail underneath it all can have just as much, if not more, meaning than the final outcome.
ES350 scored its top ranking in the Luxury Mid-Size Car Segment with high owner ratings in areas expected to be Lexus’ strengths, including excellent Ride and Comfortable Seats. The Reputation of the Lexus brand and the Reputation of the ES for Quality, Comfort and Reliability contributed to its position atop its product category.
Cadillac Top Brand, Mercedes-Benz S-Class Top Car, Toyota Sequoia Top Truck and Top Vehicle
Tustin, California, May 29, 2008 – A study released today by noted automotive consulting firm AutoPacific, Inc
. summarizes the results of its 2008 model year vehicle satisfaction research. AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award (VSA) is an industry benchmark for objectively measuring how satisfied an owner is with their new passenger car or light truck.
In a year that promises to be the toughest in a decade, owner-based awards like AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award will help customers make their purchase decisions.
The brand with the highest satisfaction rating is Cadillac. The vehicle – car or truck – registering highest overall satisfaction in 2008 is the new-for-2008 Toyota Sequoia Large Sport Utility Vehicle. The passenger car with the highest overall satisfaction score is the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
There are twenty-eight Vehicle Satisfaction Award categories. At the manufacturer level, multiple top ranked award winners include: General Motors
(eleven categories), Toyota (nine categories), Ford (six categories), Volkswagen
(four categories), Honda
(three categories) and Hyundai
“Cadillac wins the Vehicle Satisfaction Award as the top brand in a close race. Strong satisfaction performance by Cadillac cars and trucks has Cadillac winning over other leading luxury marques including Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW says AutoPacific president George Peterson. “Top ranked finishes by Cadillac’s Escalade, CTS and DTS helped cement their industry topping position.”
Peterson continues, “Vehicles that are all new received top rankings in several categories: Cadillac CTS, Honda Accord, Mitsubishi Lancer, Scion xD, Toyota Sequoia, Audi Q7, Buick Enclave, Hyundai Veracruz, GMC Acadia, Saturn Vue and Nissan Rogue. These new-for-2008 vehicles were strongly rated by their owners showing that the industry continues to improve as new vehicles are added to the hotly contested American car and light truck markets.”
From a vehicle type perspective, Traditional Sport Utility Vehicles received the highest ratings as a class closely followed by Crossover Sport Utility Vehicles. Peterson says, “Clearly, SUVs continue to be one of the most popular and satisfying vehicle types available in the USA today. Even with skyrocketing gas prices, SUVs are attractive and Crossover SUVs fill the bill for most SUV buyers with better fuel economy.” Cars scored slightly below industry average followed by minivans and pickup trucks.