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Toyota’s Perceived Quality Score (PQS) of 67.6 was down a remarkable 20% from 84.0 in the ALG Fall PQS 2009 survey. Honda’s score of 83.2 was down 1%, but 12.6 percentage points above runner-up Nissan’s score of 70.6, which was up 3% from last fall. Rounding out the top five mainstream brands were Ford Trucks (up 5%), Subaru (up 4%) and Volkswagen (down 1%).
“Toyota’s dramatic decline in ALG’s Spring 2010 PQS obviously reflects its recent quality issues and the ensuing media storm around its massive vehicle recalls,” said Matt Traylen, ALG’s chief economist. “Assuming there are no further quality problems, the media focus gradually diminishes, and Toyota stops its heavy incentive spending within three to six months, we would expect Toyota’s PQS to stabilize and begin to improve later this year. However, reclaiming the top spot from Honda will clearly be a formidable task.”
Lexus also lost its position atop the luxury PQS rankings, falling to 3rd place. However, its 6% decline from the Fall 2009 survey left it with a PQS of 81.5, still relatively strong and only 1.7 percentage points behind the new luxury leader, Mercedes Benz. Mercedes’ PQS of 83.2 was up 1% from last fall, while BMW was second at 82.6 (down 1%). Porsche and Acura rounded out the top five luxury brands. Other than Lexus, the biggest change among luxury brands was Saab’s 5% decline from last fall’s survey. Mr. Traylen commented, “While Lexus’ PQS has been affected by the recent recalls and media attention, its declines are not nearly as significant as Toyota’s. With the top eight luxury brands only 10 percentage points apart in the Spring 2010 rankings, consumers seem to view the most competitive brands as offering relatively similar product quality.”
The biggest gainer among mainstream brands was Kia (up 10%), although its score of 47.1 remains relatively low. Ford Cars were up 8% to a score of 66.8, less than a percentage point behind Toyota and good for 7th place on the mainstream list. Also posting strong gains were Hyundai and Chevrolet Cars (both up 5%). ALG tabulates results separately for domestic manufacturers’ cars and trucks/SUVs due to the wide perception gap that exists between these two categories.