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Bmw and Honda Top the Quality List

In South Africa, quality of new vehicles is deteriorating despite the decrease in the number of problems encountered by car owners in every 100 vehicle of a certain model according to data revealed by J.D. Power and Associates.

J.D. Power and Associates is a leading authority in vehicle quality analysis in the global automotive industry. Yesterday, the firm's initial quality study revealed that the average problem per 100 vehicle complained by owners climbed to 245 problems compared to last year's 239 problems.

The results were based to the responses made by a total of 8,600 new vehicle owners who purchased their vehicles for the first five months for this year. The problems cited by the subjects are those they encountered during the first three to seven months of ownership. Ideally, this period, the vehicle should be at its best driving condition since they are fresh from showrooms and dealerships.

J.D. Power and Associates discovered a total of 228 individual problems across nine categories. The vehicles that gained the lowest scores reflected fewer problems, therefore, of better quality than those with higher scores.

This year, BMW replaced Honda as the highest ranking vehicle brand in South Africa. BMW totaled 142 problems per 100 vehicles. Honda which makes quality Acura CL brake dust shields follows the German brand. Third, fourth and fifth are Subaru, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo respectively.

In 2006, the honorific five is comprised by Honda with reported 150 problems followed by BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, Audi and Hyundai.

The car with the lowest problem in the industry is the Honda Jazz belonging in the small car segment. Honda's little vehicle consistently received an award for four consecutive years.

Out of the five worst performing cars in the study, four were also ranked lowest last year. This year's five vehicles with the most problems are shamefully carrying the brands of Tata with a total of 567 followed by Volkswagen, Fiat, Opel and Renault.

JD Power and Associates Vice-President Brian Walters commented that BMW had made significant improvements in its vehicles thus climbing from the third post in 2005 and on top this year.

The Mercedes-Benz East London passenger vehicle assembly plant that produces the Mercedes-Benz C-Class leads other South African plants in initial quality, with 103 problems per 100 vehicles.

"The Mercedes-Benz East London plant was recently retooled to produce left-hand drive vehicles, which are exported to the US. It is particularly impressive that this plant, in the face of major changes to its production line, has been able to produce vehicles of such outstanding quality," said Walters.

About The Author Anthony Fontanelle is a 35-year-old automotive buff who grew up in the Windy City. He does freelance work for an automotive magazine when he is not busy customizing cars in his shop.
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