Industry Headlines

Honda Zest Ranks Highest in Japan Mini-Car Initial Quality

TOKYO, October 17-The Honda Zest ranks highest in satisfying mini-car owners in Japan, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2008 Japan Mini-Car Initial Quality Study (IQS).

The Honda Zest ranks highest in mini-car customer satisfaction, improving from 105 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) in 2007 to 91 PP100 in 2008. The Mitsubishi eK Wagon, 98 PP100, and the Nissan Moco, 99, follow the Honda Zest in the rankings.

“The Honda Zest in particular has done well in improving quality scores among female consumers,” says Shinsuke Takei, project manager of the automotive practice at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Tokyo. “Specifically, the model has received lower PP100 scores in the exterior, features/controls/displays and seat factors in 2008 compared with 2007.”

The study finds that the average number of problems reported by female owners of mini-cars has declined by 12 PP100 to 122 PP100 in 2008, compared with 134 PP100 in 2007. At the same time, male owners of mini-cars reported an average of one fewer problem in 2008 compared with 2007. The most considerable improvements in vehicle quality among female owners are in the engine/transmission, interior and seat factors. These factors represent 85% of the reported quality improvement among females.

Now in its eighth year, the study is a customer-driven measure of problems experienced during the first two to seven months of ownership, based on evaluations by owners. The study captures problems in two distinct categories-quality of design and defects and malfunctions. The study also examines more than 200 problem areas affecting quality across nine categories: vehicle exterior; driving experience; features/controls/displays; audio/entertainment/navigation; seats; heating, ventilation and air conditioning; vehicle interior; engine/transmission; and other problems. All problems are summarized as the number of reported problems per 100 vehicles, with lower scores indicating a lower rate of problem incidences and higher quality.

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