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By Al Phillips

Customers frequently ask us what cars they should buy or what they should buy for their kids in school.  Our answers typically highlight the brands that we have to repair the least such as Toyotas and Hondas.  We tell them "If you want to see us the least, these are the brands to buy".

Some take our advice but many wind up buying brands that we tried to steer them away from, such as Land Rover, Audi and Mini which tend to have more frequent and more expensive repair bills over time.  It's obvious that factors other than repair history enter into many buying decisions and, in fact, many of our customers who went against our advice tell us "I love my car".

According to an article in the July 31st issue of the San Diego Union Tribune by Mark Maynard, a local company is quantifying that emotional factor, that love, and including it their annual automotive surveys of customers who have owned the vehicle for 90 to 120 days.

San Diego based Strategic Vision includes repair problems, as do other surveys, but also includes more than 155 other aspects of the customer's experience.  By expanding their methodology to include those emotional connections they get what they refer to as the "Total Quality Experience that customers actually use to judge their product ownership".

"Toyota and Lexus have some of the best results when it comes to things gone wrong (TGW) or things that break.  However, now that we live in a world where the number of things that break is less than one per vehicle, the impact of things that break is not significant because the differences between brands are so small.  Because of this, customers are judging quality more by the Things Gone Right (TGR) or those vehicle attributes that generate a strong emotional response and signal quality in other aspects of the vehicle."

Some people just want to get from here to there.  But many have an emotional attachment to their cars.  My wife loves her Lexus RX300.  I keep telling her that it won't last forever and we should check out other brands that may have different or better features and/or cost less.  She won't even consider it.  She loves her Lexus.  That love is what Strategic Vision is measuring. 

Some recent survey highlights:

            Mini Cooper Roadster was the top scoring car at 935.

            Mazda3 was the best small car at 873.

            Honda Accord Hybrid sedan was the best midsize alternatively powered car at 853.

            Dodge Charger was the best full-size car at 902.

            Mercedes S-Class was the top luxury car at 910.

            Hyundai Genesis was the top premium coupe at 919

            Cadillac Escalade & Land Rover Range Rover Sport were a near tie for luxury SUV at         909/907.                                

Click on the following link, http://www.strategicvision.com/auto_2015_tqa_release.php, (or copy and paste into your browser) to see how your car ranked.


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