J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Porsche Ranks Highest Among Nameplates, While Mercedes-Benz Improves Notably in U.S. Initial Quality Study

By J.d. Power And Associates, PRNE
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Daimler Assembly Plant in East London, South Africa, Receives Platinum Plant Quality Award

MUNICH, June 17, 2010 - Porsche ranks highest among nameplates in initial quality, while
Mercedes-Benz improves substantially from sixth rank position in 2009 to
third in 2010, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Initial
Quality Study(SM) (IQS) released today.

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Porsche averages 83 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). Following in the
rankings are, respectively, Acura (which moves from 14th rank position in
2009 to second in 2010), Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Ford (which moves into the
top five for the first time since the inception of the study). MINI posts the
largest improvement in 2010, reducing problems by 32 PP100 from 2009. Lower
PP100 scores indicate a lower rate of problem incidences and higher quality.

The Daimler assembly plant in East London, South Africa, receives the
Platinum Plant Quality Award for producing vehicles yielding the fewest
defects and malfunctions. The plant, which averages just 28 problems per 100
vehicles (PP100), produces the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

"Daimler's East London, South Africa, plant has been a top performer for
the past three years, and its achievement in 2010 is particularly
impressive," said Brian Walters, vice president of Europe, Middle East and
Africa operations at J.D. Power and Associates. "Daimler's rigorous quality
management processes are a key reason for why the brand has been able to
assemble consistently high-quality vehicles in different regions of the

2010 U.S. Initial Quality Study Findings

For the first time since the inception of the study 24 years ago, U.S.
auto brands, as a whole, have demonstrated higher initial quality than import
brands (automakers headquartered in Europe or Asia Pacific).

Overall, the industry average for initial quality is 109 problems per 100
vehicles (PP100) in 2010, increasing slightly from 108 PP100 in 2009.
However, initial quality for U.S. brands as a whole has improved by 4 PP100
in 2010 to an average of 108 PP100-slightly better than the initial quality
of import brands, which averages 109 PP100 in 2010.

Substantial improvements by many U.S. models-including the Ford Focus,
Ram 1500 LD and Buick Enclave-drive the overall improvement of domestic
automakers in 2010. In particular, initial quality of Ford models has
improved steadily for the past nine years. In addition, as a corporation,
Ford Motor Company (including Volvo) has 12 models that rank within the top
three in their respective segments in 2010-more than any other corporation.
General Motors Company has 10 models that rank within the top three in their

Initial quality performance demonstrated by U.S. brands in 2010 contrasts
sharply with consumer sentiment from one year ago. According to data
collected by the J.D. Power Web Intelligence Division between May and July
, much of the online consumer discussion about automotive quality
centered around the difficulties U.S. automakers were facing, and perceptions
that these problems were largely caused by poor product quality.

"Domestic automakers have made impressive strides in steadily improving
vehicle quality, particularly since 2007," said David Sargent, vice president
of global vehicle research at J.D. Power and Associates. "This year may mark
a key turning point for U.S. brands as they continue to fight the battle
against lingering negative perceptions of their quality. However, there is
still a long road ahead, and domestic manufacturers need to consistently
prove to consumers that they can produce models with quality that equals or
beats that of the import brands. Achieving quality comparability is the first
half of the battle; convincing consumers-particularly import buyers-that they
have done this is the second half."

According to the Web Intelligence Division, online consumer conversations
about vehicle quality have recently shifted to a more concrete tone. In 2010,
consumers are more often discussing quality as it applies to their own
personal vehicle purchase decisions, rather than how domestic brands overall
are affected by perceptions of low quality.

Initial quality of new models and major redesigns continues to improve in
2010, led by new launches from Ford, Honda, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.

The all-new Honda Accord Crosstour and the redesigned Ford Mustang, Ford
Taurus and Lexus GX 460 each rank highest in initial quality in their
respective segments. The Ford Fusion, Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe and Sedan
and Porsche Panamera also launch with notably high initial quality levels.

Historically, newly launched models have incurred substantially more
quality problems than carryover models, on average. However, more than
one-half of all models launched during the 2010 model year perform better
than their respective segment averages. Furthermore, 12 all-new and
redesigned models rank within the top three in their respective segments.
Meanwhile, initial quality of carryover and freshened models has declined for
the 2010 model year.

"With automakers committing huge budgets for the design, engineering,
production and marketing of all-new models and major redesigns, hitting the
quality mark out of the gate is critical," said Sargent. "Getting initial
quality right on model launches can serve dual purposes for
automakers-boosting profitability and also inspiring consumer confidence in
the overall quality of their models. Having a strong quality image is
essential for automakers to be able to compete in today's market-both in the
U.S. and around the globe."

The Initial Quality Study serves as the industry benchmark for
new-vehicle quality measured at 90 days of ownership. The study is used
extensively by manufacturers worldwide to help them design and build better
vehicles and by consumers to help them in their vehicle purchase decisions.
Initial quality has been shown over the years to be an excellent predictor of
long-term vehicle durability, which directly impacts consumer purchase
decisions. The study captures problems experienced by owners in two distinct
categories-design-related problems and defects and malfunctions.

2010 U.S. IQS Ranking Highlights

Ford and Lexus each garner three segment awards. Ford captures awards for
the Focus, Mustang and Taurus, while Lexus receives awards for the GS, GX and
LS models. The Lexus LS has the fewest quality problems in the industry, with
just 55 PP100.

Chevrolet, Honda and Toyota receive two awards each. Chevrolet models
earning awards are the Avalanche (in a tie) and the Tahoe. Honda receives
awards for the Accord and the Accord Crosstour, while Toyota receives awards
for the FJ Cruiser and Sienna.

Also receiving segment awards are: Acura RDX, Cadillac Escalade, GMC
Sierra LD (in a tie), Hyundai Accent, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Mercedes-Benz
C-Class, Nissan Frontier, Scion xB and Volvo C70.

Toyota's problem count increases by 16 PP100, moving it from sixth rank
position in 2009 to 21st in 2010.

"Clearly, Toyota has endured a difficult year," said Sargent. "Recent
consumer concerns regarding Toyota's quality are reflected in the nameplate's
performance in the 2010 study. That said, Toyota's success was built on a
well-deserved reputation for quality, and there is little doubt that they
will do everything possible to regain that reputation."

2010 Plant Quality Award Recipients

Among North and South American plants, the Toyota Motor Corporation plant
in Cambridge South, Ontario, Canada, which produces the Lexus RX, achieves
the Gold Plant Quality Award.

In the Asia Pacific region, Toyota Motor Corporation's Kyushu 2, Japan,
plant, which produces the Lexus ES, IS and RX, receives the Gold Plant
Quality Award.

The 2010 Initial Quality Study is based on responses from more than
82,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2010 model-year vehicles surveyed after
90 days of ownership. The study is based on a 228-question battery designed
to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate identification of
problems and to drive product improvement. The study was fielded between
February and May 2010. Visit the J.D. Power Business Center for additional
information on J.D. Power's automotive research.

    2010 Nameplate IQS Ranking
    Problems per 100 Vehicles
    Porsche                                   83
    Acura                                     86
    Mercedes-Benz                             87
    Lexus                                     88
    Ford                                      93
    Honda                                     95
    Hyundai                                  102
    Lincoln                                  106
    Infiniti                                 107
    Volvo                                    109
    Industry Average                         109
    Ram                                      110
    Audi                                     111
    Cadillac                                 111
    Chevrolet                                111
    Nissan                                   111
    BMW                                      113
    Mercury                                  113
    Buick                                    114
    Mazda                                    114
    Scion                                    114
    Toyota                                   117
    Subaru                                   121
    Chrysler                                 122
    Suzuki                                   122
    GMC                                      126
    Kia                                      126
    Jeep                                     129
    Dodge                                    130
    Jaguar                                   130
    MINI                                     133
    Volkswagen                               135
    Mitsubishi                               146
    Land Rover                               170
    Top Three Models per Segment
    Car Segments

    Sub-Compact Car
    Highest Ranked: Hyundai Accent
    Toyota Yaris
    Honda Fit

    Compact Car
    Highest Ranked: Ford Focus
    Honda Civic
    Hyundai Elantra

    Compact Sporty Car*
    Highest Ranked: Mazda MX-5 Miata
    Scion tC

    Compact Premium Sporty Car*
    Highest Ranked: Volvo C70
    Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe

    Entry Premium Car
    Highest Ranked: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
    Acura TL
    Cadillac CTS

    Midsize Premium Car
    Highest Ranked: Lexus GS
    Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan
    Volvo S80

    Midsize Sporty Car*
    Highest Ranked: Ford Mustang
    Dodge Challenger

    Large Premium Car
    Highest Ranked: Lexus LS 460
    Mercedes-Benz S-Class
    Porsche Panamera

    Midsize Car
    Highest Ranked: Honda Accord
    Ford Fusion
    Chevrolet Malibu

    Large Car
    Highest Ranked: Ford Taurus
    Buick Lucerne
    Nissan Maxima

    NOTE: For a segment award to be issued, there must be at least three
     models with sufficient sample that comprise 80 percent of market sales
     within an award segment. There were only two premium sporty models and
     no large van models with sufficient sample size, thus no premium sporty
     or large van awards have been issued.

    *No other model in this segment performs above the segment average.
    Top Three Models per Segment
    Truck/Multi-Activity Vehicle (MAV) Segments

    Compact Crossover/SUV
    Highest Ranked: Toyota FJ Cruiser
    Honda CR-V
    Honda Element

    Compact MPV
    Highest Ranked: Scion xB
    Chrysler PT Cruiser Wagon
    Nissan Cube

    Entry Premium Crossover/SUV
    Highest Ranked: Acura RDX
    BMW X3
    Volvo XC60

    Midsize Crossover/SUV
    Highest Ranked: Honda Accord Crosstour
    Honda Pilot
    Ford Edge

    Large Crossover/SUV
    Highest Ranked: Chevrolet Tahoe
    Chevrolet Suburban
    GMC Yukon

    Midsize Premium Crossover/SUV
    Highest Ranked: Lexus GX 460
    Infiniti FX-Series
    Volvo XC70

    Large Premium Crossover/SUV
    Highest Ranked: Cadillac Escalade
    Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
    Infiniti QX56 (tie)
    Land Rover Range Rover (tie)

    Large Pickup
    Highest Ranked: Chevrolet Avalanche (tie), GMC Sierra LD (tie)
    Ford F-150 LD

    Midsize Pickup
    Highest Ranked: Nissan Frontier
    Ford Ranger
    Ford Explorer Sport Trac

    Highest Ranked: Toyota Sienna
    Kia Sedona
    Dodge Grand Caravan

    NOTE: For a segment award to be issued, there must be at least three
     models with sufficient sample that comprise 80 percent of market
     sales within an award segment.  There were only two premium sporty
     models and no large van models with sufficient sample size, thus no
     premium sporty or large van awards have been issued.

    2010 Assembly Plant Quality Award Recipients
    Based on Models Produced for U.S. Market

    Award                      PP100              Model(s) Produced at Plant
                               malfunctions only)

    Platinum Award
    Daimler, East London,
     South Africa                 28               Mercedes-Benz C-Class

    North/South America
    Gold Award
    Toyota Motor Company,
     Cambridge South, Ontario
     (TMMC)                       30               Lexus RX

    Silver Award
    Ford Motor Company,
     Hermosillo, Mexico           33               Ford Fusion, Lincoln MKZ
                                                   and Mercury Milan
    Bronze Award
    General Motors
     Corporation, Lansing, MI
     (Grand River)                37               Cadillac CTS and STS

    Asia Pacific
    Gold Award
    Toyota Motor Corporation,
     Kyushu 2, Japan (TMK)        32               Lexus ES, IS and RX

    Silver Award
    Toyota Motor Corporation,
     Tahara 3, Japan              33               Lexus GS, IS and LS

    Bronze Award
    Toyota Motor Corporation,
     Kyushu 1, Japan              37               Lexus HS and RX;
     Toyota Highlander

    Europe and Africa
    Silver Award
    Porsche, Stuttgart,
     Germany                      32               Porsche 911 and Boxster

    Bronze Award
    Daimler, Sindelfingen,
     Germany                      33               Mercedes-Benz CL-Class;
                                                   CLS-Class; E-Class
                                                   Sedan; and S-Class

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 (NYSE: MHP) is a global
information and education company providing knowledge, insights and analysis
in the financial, education and business information sectors through leading
brands including Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts, and J.D.
Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40
countries. Sales in 2009 were US$5.95 billion. Additional information is
available at www.mcgraw-hill.com.

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Media Relations, John Tews, +1-248-312-4119, or Syvetril Perryman, +1-805-418-8103, both of J.D. Power and Associates, media.relations at jdpa.com

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