J.D. Power and Associates and What Car? Report: Despite A Tough Economic Environment, Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction in the UK Improves from 2010

By J.d. Power And Associates, PRNE
Thursday, May 26, 2011

LONDON, May 27, 2011 -

- Lexus Ranks Highest in Satisfying New-Vehicle Owners for an 11th
Consecutive Year

Despite economic pressures on both auto manufacturers and consumers,
vehicle ownership satisfaction in the UK has increased from 2010, with
improvement occurring across all aspects of the ownership experience,
according to the J.D. Power and Associates/What Car? 2011 UK Vehicle
Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS)(SM) released today.

(Logo: photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20050527/LAF028LOGO-a)

The study measures customer satisfaction with the vehicle and dealer
service based on evaluation of 66 attributes grouped in four key measures. In
order of importance, they are: vehicle appeal (37%), which includes
performance, design, comfort and features; vehicle quality and reliability
(24%); ownership costs (22%), which includes fuel consumption, insurance and
costs of service/repair; and dealer service satisfaction (17%).

The most notable improvement from 2010 has occurred in the service
satisfaction factor, while modest increases have also occurred in the vehicle
appeal and ownership costs factors.

"It is particularly encouraging that satisfaction with ownership costs
has improved during a year that has witnessed record fuel costs, increased
insurance premiums and greater competitive price pressure for dealerships,"
said Brian Walters, senior director of European automotive operations at J.D.
Power and Associates. "In many respects, this indicates that automakers have
been able to protect their customers from direct internal cost pressures."

Lexus ranks highest in satisfying new-vehicle owners for an 11th
consecutive year, with a score of 845 on a 1,000-point scale. Lexus performs
particularly well in three of the four key measures: vehicle quality and
reliability; vehicle appeal; and service satisfaction. Following in the
rankings are Honda (833) and Jaguar and Skoda, in a tie (825 each).

At the model level, Honda receives two awards for the Accord (upper
medium car) and Jazz (small car). Also receiving awards are the BMW 5 Series
(executive luxury car, in a tie); Citroen C3 Picasso (MPV); Lexus IS (compact
executive car); Mercedes-Benz E-Class (executive luxury car, in a tie); Skoda
Octavia (lower medium car); and Toyota Aygo (city car).

Overall satisfaction has improved in each vehicle segment, compared with
2010. In particular, the MPV segment improved more than any other segment in
the product appeal and quality and reliability factors.

"It's great news that people are more satisfied with their cars than
ever, and it proves that car makers are getting things right more often,"
said Jim Holder, magazine editor of What Car? "Yet again Lexus tops the study
with outstandingly reliable cars and dealer back-up that is truly
exceptional. Brands at the other end of the spectrum must work hard to win
back customer support."

The study also finds that customer expectations for vehicle ownership
satisfaction have been steadily rising during the past decade. In particular,
owners have become more critical of design elements within their vehicles,
are increasingly willing to shop around for service, are less tolerant of
quality issues and are placing more importance on the overall appeal of their
vehicles. According to Walters, this makes it critically important for brands
to differentiate their products and service experiences in ways that meet and
exceed customer expectations time after time.

"While the new-vehicle market in the UK is expected to contract further
during the next several years, the number of models in the market is expected
to increase," said Walters. "In 2008, buyers in the UK had approximately 250
models to choose from. This is expected to grow to more than 340 in 2015. As
customer choice expands, so does switching behaviour in the market.
Therefore, it is paramount for brands to provide a compelling case for the
shrinking pool of customers to stay with their products and services in the

The 2011 UK Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS) is based on the
evaluations of more than 16,500 online interviews from UK car owners after an
average of two years of ownership. The study was fielded in December 2010 and
January 2011.

The annual J.D. Power and Associates/What Car? study gives consumers
access to reliable and accurate information about many vehicle models, and
helps manufacturers provide high levels of satisfaction to their customers.
More comprehensive study results are published exclusively in the July issue
of What Car? on sale Friday, May 27, 2011.(1)

(1) Study results published in What Car? use some segment names and
definitions that differ from J.D. Power and Associates' segmentation. These
include: supermini (for small car segment), small family car (for lower
medium car segment) and family car (for upper medium car segment).

    VOSS Manufacturer Index Ranking
    (Based on a 1,000-point scale)
    Lexus                           845
    Honda                           833
    Jaguar                          825
    Skoda                           825
    MINI                            822
    Mercedes-Benz                   821
    BMW                             817
    Audi                            812
    Volvo                           811
    Alfa Romeo                      805
    Toyota                          805
    Volkswagen                      805
    Nissan                          802
    Land Rover                      801
    Mazda                           799
    Industry Average                794
    Hyundai                         792
    SAAB                            792
    Citroen                         790
    Ford                            790
    Kia                             783
    Seat                            778
    Fiat                            776
    Renault                         775
    Mitsubishi                      773
    Peugeot                         771
    Chevrolet                       766
    Suzuki                          764
    Vauxhall                        763

    Included in the study, but not ranked due to small sample size are:
     Chrysler, Dodge, Daihatsu, Jeep, Porsche, smart and Subaru.

    Top Three Models per Segment
    Overall VOSS

    City Car
    Toyota Aygo              802
    Fiat 500                 799
    Hyundai i10              798

    Small Car
    Honda Jazz               832
    MINI MINI                822
    Skoda Fabia              817

    Lower Medium Car
    Skoda Octavia            831
    Honda Civic              827
    Hyundai i30              821

    Upper Medium Car
    Honda Accord             852
    Toyota Prius             839
    Volvo S40                833

    Compact Executive Car
    Lexus IS                 854
    Mercedes-Benz C-Class    831
    BMW 3 Series             819

    Executive/Luxury Car
    BMW 5 Series             833
    Mercedes-Benz E-Class    833
    Jaguar XF                823

    Citroen C3 Picasso       831
    Citroen C4 Grand Picasso 825
    Mercedes-Benz B-Class    817

    Factors Contributing to Overall Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction

    Vehicle Appeal                          37%
    Satisfaction with the vehicle's performance, design, function and
     styling across nine areas:

    --        Vehicle exterior
    --        Vehicle interior
    --        Storage and space
    --        Audio/entertainment
    --        Seats
    --        Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)
    --        Driving dynamics
    --        Engine/transmission
    --        Visibility and driving safety

    Vehicle Quality/Reliability             24%
    Problems experienced with the vehicle across eight areas:

    --        Exterior
    --        The driving experience
    --        Features/controls/displays
    --        Audio/entertainment/navigation
    --        Seats
    --        Heating, ventilation and air  conditioning (HVAC)
    --        Interior
    --        Engine/transmission

    Ownership Costs                         22%
    --        Fuel consumption
    --        Insurance
    --        Cost of service/repairs

    Service Satisfaction                    17%
    --        Service initiation
    --        Service adviser
    --        Service facility
    --        Vehicle pickup
    --        Service quality

About J.D. Power and Associates

The European headquarters of J.D. Power and Associates is located in
Munich, Germany. With world headquarters in Westlake Village, California,
U.S.A., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services
company operating in key business sectors including market research,
forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer
satisfaction. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based
on responses from millions of consumers annually. J.D. Power and Associates
is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global financial
information and education company that helps professionals and students
succeed in the Knowledge Economy. Leading brands include Standard & Poor's,
McGraw-Hill Education, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and
Associates. The Corporation has approximately 21,000 employees with more than
280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2010 were $6.2 billion. Additional
information is available at www.mcgraw-hill.com.

About What Car?

Over one million consumers consult What Car? every month. The What Car?
stable also includes the award-winning website whatcar.com, What Car? New Car
Guide, What Car? Price Guide, What Car? TV, What Car? Mobile and What Car?
Video - available online or as a video podcast. What Car? is part of the
Haymarket Media Group, the United Kingdom's largest independently owned
publishing company with a portfolio of over 150 titles, ranging from
specialist consumer magazines to business titles and customer publications,
published via wholly owned subsidiaries, joint ventures and under license
worldwide. www.whatcar.com

Media Relations Contacts:

John Tews; J.D. Power and Associates; Director, Media Relations; 5435
Corporate Drive, Suite 300; Troy, MI 48098, USA; Tel: +1-248-312-4119;

Karen Parry; What Car? Magazine; Tel: +44(0)1784-456-526;
Mob: +44-(0)7903-955-696; karen@prandmediaworks.com;

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in
this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and


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