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Toyota, Merc top quality study

2011-09-01 15:09

STAR PERFORMER: Chevrolet's Spark was reported by owners to have the lowest number of problems within the first 90 days of ownership.

You eyeing a set of hot new wheels but concerned the wheels might come off soon after you’ve signed on the dotted line? Take a look at this… the results of the 2011 Synovate Initial Quality Study are out - can you guess who the top performers are?

After surveying close to 10 000 new car-owners, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz emerged as the biggest overall winners of 2011 with Merc earning a Platinum award.

Measuring customers’ new-car experiences after three months of ownership, Synovate reports the results for 2011 contain some of the best scores yet recorded by it, the research agency said.


The awarding of a Platinum award is discretionary and was awarded to Mercedes-Benz South Africa for “exceptional product quality in 2010”.

Using problems per 100 cars (PP100) as a measure, the Initial Quality Awards relate to the quality of new cars as perceived by owners within their first 90 days of ownership.

Four areas are measured, including noise levels (which proved to be one of the biggest problems this time around, with rattles and squeaks topping most segment lists), static and dynamic “functional aspects” evident either when a car is stationary (such as satellite and communication functions) or on the move (such as steering and mechanical issues) and the vehicle’s appearance.

All in all, the total number of potential problems, according to Synovate’s checklist, was 187 although the average in the 2011 results is 56 PP100. This indicates that, by Day 90 of ownership, an average of one in two cars is reported as problem-free by their owners. Compare this to the average of 182 PP100 in 2001…


More good news is that the quality of vehicles produced in South Africa has, for the first time in the history of the survey, noticeably improved. Local light commercial vehicles reported an average of 86 PP100 compared to 95 for imported completely built units. For cars, 56 PP100 were reported for models manufactured in South Africa and 58 for those imported.

This year there also appears to be a marked improvement in the quality of entry-level cars and small hatchbacks, and with light commercials - particularly diesel double-cabs.

Flying the entry-level flag, Chevrolet’s hard work appears to be paying off as its new Spark was reported as the car with the least problems, according to its owners, at 17 PP100. The next-best performer was the Mercedes C-Class built at East London with 18 PP100.

Seemingly in recognition of this, Mercedes-Benz was also adjudged to have the best local plant, followed by Toyota (with its plant based at Prospecton, Durban) and Volkswagen – celebrating 60 years in South Africa this year – third (its plant is in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape).

There are some notable omissions from the list of manufacturers this year, including BMW (plus Mini), Hyundai, Honda and Jaguar Land Rover and in cases where the survey pool was too small, certain results were excluded.

However, here’s a rundown of the key results from Synovate –




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