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Mitsubishi Raider Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Compact Pickups


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The all new Mitsubishi Raider is the top rated Compact Pickup. Maybe that is a misnomer because Raider is clearly Mid-Size and is the only Japanese-brand Compact Pickup available with a V8 engine. Raider is a derivative of the Dodge Dakota but with more aggressive styling. Styling makes the Raider a love it or hate it proposition which actually is good for a niche vehicle in a lower volume brand. Raider owners, having made a commitment to the new Mitsubishi entry, are very satisfied with their vehicle rating Raider tops in the AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. Mitsubishi’s long warranty helps, and with its Dodge base, Raider is a downright good truck.

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Mercury Milan Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Mid-Size Cars


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The all-new Mercury Milan is a clear winner among Mid-Size competition in the AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. Combining excellent style, good size and roominess, sporty ride and handling, the Milan provides its owners with a very satisfying experience. Proving the excellence of the Ford CD vehicles – Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln Zephyr – all did very well in their segments.

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MINI Cooper Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Image Compact Cars


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Car makers continuously strive to produce a small car that people actually want to buy – an Image Compact Car – a car people aspire to. MINI has certainly achieved that goal. A car coveted by young and old drivers alike, the MINI has an attitude unmatched in today’s car market. Distinctive, cute, fun to drive, MINI is a delight that clearly satisfies its owners placing it at the top of the segment in the AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards.

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Chevrolet Corvette Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Sports Cars:


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Owners of the new C6 return the Chevrolet Corvette sports car to the top of the Sports Car category in the AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award with a decisive class-winning performance for 2006. The new Corvette is perhaps the best value in the entire Sports Car arena. The C6 Corvette is a more satisfying car than any previous Corvette – great styling, more finesse, super performance, great handling and a more supple ride. Still immediately identifiable as a Corvette, the C6 is clearly new across the board.

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Nissan Titan Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Large Pickups


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Owners of the 2006 Nissan Titan rate the pickup at the top of the Large Pickup category. The 2006 model year is the third year in a row Titan has topped its segment in the AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. This is an outstanding accomplishment and testament to the satisfaction Titan is giving its owners.
Titan’s achievement is truly remarkable and demonstrates the inherent differences in AutoPacific’s way of measuring satisfaction compared with others. Titan is immensely satisfying, but owner surveys conducted by others show Titan has a fair share of niggling problems. But, if you are not counting things gone wrong and looking at what really matters – how well buyers are satisfied – Titan shines. Its big, powerful V8 engine combined with outstanding styling and features provide the top-satisfying product package for 2006.
We cannot ignore that two large trucks produced at Nissan’s Canton Mississippi assembly plant won top place in their categories for both the 2004, 2005 and 2006 – Nissan Titan and Nissan Armada. This is a sweep any company can be envious of.

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Chevrolet Silverado Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Heavy-Duty Pickup Trucks


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The Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty wins the AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award among Heavy Duty Large Pickups.

A workhorse near the end of its run, the Silverado HD nosed out Dodge Ram Heavy Duty and Ford F-Series Super Duty entries. Much of its win has to be credited to its up-graded Duramax diesel for the 2006 model year.

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Suzuki Grand Vitara Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Compact Sport Utility Vehicles


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In Suzuki’s first win ever, owners of the all-new Grand Vitara rate it best in the Compact SUV class in AutoPacific‘s 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. New styling, larger, up-graded interior, up-graded powertrain, affordable pricing and a more-than-competitive warranty, make Grand Vitara a satisfying value proposition. With the introduction of the new Grand Vitara Suzuki proves they can achieve impressive satisfaction results with their customers.

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AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards


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AutoPacific has released the results of its 2006 model year owner satisfaction research. AutoPacific’s VSA (Vehicle Satisfaction Award) study is an industry benchmark for objectively measuring how satisfied an owner is with their new car or light truck. VehicleVoice automotive Internet panel members also contributed to this research.
The vehicle registering highest overall satisfaction in 2006 is the Lincoln Navigator Luxury SUV. The highest rated car is the new-for-2006 Hyundai flagship – Hyundai Azera.
Unlike 2005, when Nissan North America had seven winners, the 2006 results are distributed across the industry. There are eighteen Vehicle Satisfaction Award categories. Honda won four categories, General Motors won three categories, Ford won three categories, Nissan won two categories, Hyundai won two categories, Mitsubishi won two categories.
Top 2006 model year performers are:
TOP VEHICLE: Lincoln Navigator
TOP TRUCK: Lincoln Navigator
Premium Luxury Car: Lexus LS
Entry Luxury Car: Cadillac CTS
Luxury/Large Car: Hyundai Azera
Premium Mid-Size Car: Volkswagen Passat
Mid-Size Car: Mercury Milan
Image Compact Car: MINI Cooper
Compact Car: Honda Civic
Sports Car: Chevrolet Corvette
Sporty Car: Acura RSX
Large Light-Duty Pickup: Nissan Titan
Large Heavy-Duty Pickup : Chevrolet Silverado HD
Sport Utility Truck: Honda Ridgeline
Compact Pickup: Mitsubishi Raider
Luxury Sport Utility: Lincoln Navigator
Large Sport Utility: Nissan Armada
Premium Mid-Size Sport Utility: Mitsubishi Endeavor
Mid-Size Sport Utility: Hyundai Santa Fe
Compact Sport Utility: Suzuki Grand Vitara
Minivan: Honda Odyssey

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VehicleVoice Fuel Price Impact Survey – April 2006

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The Fuel Price Impact Survey conducted monthly by AutoPacific‘s VehicleVoice indicates that the median fuel price paid by U.S. motorists increased from a September 2005 peak of $2.90 per gallon to a new peak of $2.94 a gallon in April 2006. This was up from $2.42 in March. April’s spike is the largest month-over-month spike since September 2005.

SUV Loyalty Deteriorates – Small Cars Set to Boom?

In September respondents reacted to the price shock with about 27% of SUV owners saying they would consider buying another type vehicle when they replaced their SUV. As fuel prices moderated in the months following September, loyalty to SUVs rebounded. By March, only 13% would consider shifting away from SUVs. But, given the new April peak, about 25% of SUV owners say they may buy something different next time. Similarly, interest in Small Cars, up 41% in September, and up only 17% in February, was up 40% in April. Clearly, there is a direct relationship between fuel prices and the type of vehicle a person wants to drive.

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Source: AutoPacific – VehicleVoice Fuel Price Impact Study – April 2006

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Fuel Price Increases Spur Changes in American Drivers


The Fuel Price Impact Survey conducted monthly by AutoPacific’s VehicleVoice indicates that the median fuel price paid by U.S. motorists increased by 12 cents, to $2.42 per gallon, the highest level since $2.83 in October, 2005. The March data are based on the results of an Internet survey with 1,060 VehicleVoice panel members completing the survey between March 14 and March 21, 2006.

Replacement Vehicle Interest Shifts Towards Small/Mid-Size Cars

As reported in prior months, respondents indicate that if they were to replace their current vehicle at this time, they would be more likely to buy a more fuel efficient Small or Mid-Size Car, and less likely to buy a less fuel efficient Large/Luxury Car or an SUV. The interest in more discretionary Sports/Sporty Cars and in Pickup Trucks, which often meet a specific functional need, remains close to current levels. The interest in a Hybrid powered vehicle remains very high relative to their current small share of vehicles in operation, but appears to be moderating somewhat. In October, 2005, 14.8% of respondents indicated that they would like a Hybrid engine if they were to replace their current vehicle, but in March, the percentage indicating an interest in a Hybrid powered vehicle had declined to 11.5%.

Most Check Fuel Prices, but Many Have Not Changed Driving Habits

We were wondering if people actually check the price of fuel before they fill up. One fellow in the office contends he never checks. He contends that he cannot do anything about it, so just pay up and drive off. Well, he certainly is not in the majority. Seventy percent of respondents indicated that they “always” check fuel prices, while only 5% say they “never” check fuel prices… and while 43% say they “always” shop for the lowest fuel price, 47% “sometimes” do so, and only 10% say they “never” shop for the lowest fuel price.

When asked if higher fuel prices would cause you to change the type of vehicle you drive, a surprisingly high 65% said “no”. They like what they have, and are reluctant to change. When asked at what fuel price they would change their vehicle type, the median answer was $3.28 per gallon, up 86 cents per gallon or 35% from the March survey median fuel price of $2.42.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents indicated that higher fuel prices had caused them to combine trips to save fuel, and 31% say they drive slower and smoother than they used to. On the other hand, fully 29% say that higher fuel prices have not caused them to change their driving habits at all.

The median price respondents expect to be paying for fuel a year from now was $2.74 per gallon in March, significantly less than the price at which most say they would be willing to change vehicle type.

When you become a VehicleVoice Panel Member, you too can contribute to this important monthly tracking study. Just go to to join. It’s free and you can win cash and prizes.

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