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2003 JD Powers Rating
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J.D. Power and Associates 2003 Initial Quality Study

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.—New and redesigned model launches often demonstrate high initial quality, which may dispel the myth that quality always suffers during new-vehicle launches, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2003 Initial Quality StudySM released today. An analysis of all replacement-model launches and major vehicle redesigns since 1998 shows an average decline of only 5 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) in initial quality in the launch year, which is usually more than regained in the year after launch.

"Consumers often delay purchasing a model in its first year, waiting for the manufacturer to get the so-called bugs out," said Joe Ivers, partner and executive director of quality/customer satisfaction at J.D. Power and Associates. "Yet, the quality of most new-model launches is actually very good. Some manufacturers have virtually eliminated the launch-year quality drop-off. A few have even demonstrated a pattern of launching models with better initial quality than the models they replaced."

Launch-year initial quality for replacement models at Mitsubishi, for example, has averaged 26 PP100 better than predecessor models in recent years. Newly launched/redesigned vehicles from Hyundai, Toyota and the Chrysler Group also record better initial quality on average than the models being replaced.

The study also finds that for the first time since 1998, the industry has not shown year-over-year improvement in initial quality overall, and remains flat at 133 PP100. Between 1998 and 2002, the industry achieved steady improvement, averaging 6.7 percent per year.

"The initial quality drive for improvement among some manufacturers has been stalled by new-model launches that were especially challenging," said Ivers. "For other manufacturers, existing models show some deterioration that offset initial quality improvements elsewhere."

However, several manufacturers have accomplished significant improvements in initial quality in 2003. Suzuki is the most improved nameplate, improving 31 percent over 2002, due largely to the successful launch of the all-new Aerio. Mercury, Kia and Jaguar also have improved by 22 percent, 21 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., is the highest-ranking corporation in the 2003 IQS, followed by Porsche Cars North America, Inc., BMW of North America and American Honda Motor Co. Lexus is the top-ranked nameplate.

At the model level, Toyota Motor Sales vehicles rank highest in six segments, Ford Motor Company vehicles rank highest in five, General Motors Corp. in three and American Honda and DaimlerChrysler vehicles each rank highest in one segment.

The study shows that the initial quality gap between Domestic, European, Japanese and Korean brands continues to narrow. While Domestics trailed their European and Japanese counterparts by at least 19 PP100 five years ago, Domestics and Europeans are now equal, and both trail the Japanese by 9 PP100. Korean manufacturers have demonstrated substantial five-year improvements in initial quality. In 1998, 116 PP100 separated Korean brands from the Europeans, which led the industry. By 2003, the quality gap between the Koreans and the industry-leading Japanese fell to 26 PP100.

The study also reveals that vehicles built by German and Japanese manufacturers in their native markets record higher average initial quality overall than those built in their North American plants. Vehicles produced in Germany by BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, and those produced in Japan by Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota demonstrated overall higher initial quality than the vehicles built by their North American plants. There are exceptions, such as vehicles produced by Acura, Mazda and Subaru in North American plants, which show higher quality than other vehicles built at their assembly plants in Japan.

"It is important to note that often these manufacturers build different models in North America, and that some of these designs may be more difficult to build," said Ivers. "However, standardizing quality regardless of the model, platform or plant is becoming a core requirement of a global competitor."

With regard to specific models, only the Honda Accord and Civic and Toyota Camry and Corolla are produced in both North American and Japanese plants. Honda Accords built in Japan have a nearly 25 PP100 advantage over those built in North American plants, while Civics built in North America have a nearly 15 PP100 advantage over their Japanese-built counterparts. Toyota Corollas built in both Japan and North America are almost identical in initial quality. There was insufficient sample to provide the same analysis for the Camry.

2003 IQS Assembly Plant Awards

For the second consecutive year, Toyota’s Tahara, Japan, car plant receives the Platinum award for worldwide plant quality with a score of 63 PP100. Toyota sweeps the plant awards in the Asia Pacific region, with the Motomachi, Japan, assembly plant receiving the Silver plant award and the Tsutsumi, Japan, assembly plant receiving the Bronze. The General Motors Oshawa #1 plant in Ontario, Canada, and its new Lansing Grand River, Mich., plant receive the Gold and Silver North/South American plant awards, respectively, while Ford Motor Company’s Atlanta plant receives the Bronze. In Europe, BMW’s Munich, Germany, assembly plant receives the Gold award, DaimlerChrysler’s Bremen, Germany, Mercedes-Benz plant receives the Silver, and Ford Motor Company’s Torslanda, Sweden, Volvo plant receives the Bronze.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Nissan still has some room for improvement, but they have the hot new designs down!
 

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MO's built in North America

Did I read somewhere on these threads that the 2004 MO's would be built here, not in Japan?

If so, then isn't the likelihood of poorer construction quality greater with the 2004's?
 

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Still built in Japan

MO will not be built in US.

If MO is #2 in build quality to a Highlander, then I'm ready to live dangerously (get a few thinks fixed, etc.), as opposed to falling asleep (from boredom) at the wheel of a misnomer, crash and burn (from sleeping at the wheel).

Great stuff there, MadMaxMuranoManMDX! Thanks.
 

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Sorry, Kansas

Got you mistook with someone else.

That was a good read!

I'll be glad when we stop hearing that '04 MOs are not available with cabernet, will be made in US, will come with a microwave in the back seat, and that no one will ever make a winter tire that fits it.
 

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"Did I read somewhere on these threads that the 2004 MO's would be built here, not in Japan?

If so, then isn't the likelihood of poorer construction quality greater with the 2004's?"

That's hard to imagine.
MOST of the problems with the Murano are related to poor construction quality. The number of "failures" have been miniscule, IMO.

When they figure out how to build it (and maybe sending it to Mississippi is not a bad idea. The Quest seems to be solid.), and when they figure out how to fix ours, these will be remarkably reliable cars, IMO.

Of course, long term, no one, not even Nissan, knows about the CVT.
But strangly, I have more confidence in that, than most people. (I think the Enforcer agrees with me here)
Generally speaking, engineering companies (And that's what Nissan is.....they certainly are not a marketing company:2: ) will overbuild an item like this until they get some solid data.

Anyway, my point is that if and when it is sent to The Canton plant, there is no reason to suspect that it will be a poorly constructed motor car. And "I" certainly would buy any car from this ultra modern assy plant.

You are right, bigT.
Someone should notify the author about that mistake.
We nominate you to do that:D

Homer
 

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I think I contributed to the Cabernet interior rumor. My dealer told me they would not be available in 04'.

I did speak with the dealer on Saturday (I am looking for my Dad) and they will not be getting any Cabernet interior in the first 04' shipment, and again told me that if Cabernet is desired it would need to be special ordered if they can get it at all. Maybe they just don't order them, or there is some highly scientific alotment of certain configurations based on past sales at a certain dealer/area?

A Canadian MO owners here or on FA confirmed the same about special order on Cabernet for 04'. So maybe there is a shred of truth to the rumor, we will see.
 
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