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Toyota Motor Sales had two additional leaders with the Scion xB and the Lexus RX 350 (which tied with Land Rover’s LR2); while Ford Motor Co. added two additional wins with the Mercury Sable and Volvo C30. “Ford is back, establishing its vehicle quality in the hearts and minds of its customers,” says Alexander Edwards, president of Strategic Vision’s automotive division. “The Ford Edge is one of the vehicles Ford can be proud of. By careful attention to key areas such as exterior styling, workmanship and performance, which are the cues that signal quality for crossover customers, Ford is building vehicles that also build brand equity and perceived customer quality.”
Mercedes, Honda and Chevrolet brands each had two leaders: Mercedes leading with the S-Class and SL, Honda with the Odyssey and Ridgeline, and Chevrolet with the Corvette convertible and a tie with itself in full size trucks between the Avalanche and Silverado. From three leads last year, Hyundai took the lead in only one segment this year with its Santa Fe in one of the most competitive automotive segments, the smaller SUVs. The Volkswagen Jetta, Chrysler 300C and BMW X5 were each TQI leaders. Also worthy of mention is the redesigned Chevrolet Malibu, now second in the highly competitive medium car segment. “Over the past quarter century in the U.S., customer perceptions of quality of domestic and Asian manufacturers underwent large swings. Today, it doesn’t matter if you are a Toyota or a Ford, BMW or Hyundai, each manufacturer has the opportunity and mandate to produce a product with the right cues of quality-those product attributes that signal quality and create customer trust-and present vehicles that have a greater impact on the purchase decision,” says Edwards.