According to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 South Africa Initial Quality Study(SM, Mercedes-Benz ranks highest in initial quality among passenger vehicle nameplates.
The study is a customer-driven measure of problems experienced during the first three to seven months of ownership, and examines 228 individual problem symptoms across nine factors: vehicle exterior; the driving experience; features/controls/displays; audio/entertainment/navigation; seats; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); vehicle interior; engine/transmission; and other problems. All problems are identified as the number reported per 100 vehicles (PP100), with lower scores indicating fewer problems and therefore better quality.
With 164 PP100, Mercedes-Benz ranks highest among passenger vehicle nameplates. Honda (165 PP100) follows Mercedes-Benz in the rankings. Rounding out the top five are Audi (175 PP100), BMW (193 PP100) and Kia (194 PP100).
In addition, the Mercedes-Benz East London assembly plant that produces the Mercedes-Benz C-Class ranks highest among South Africa plants in initial quality for a second consecutive year. Vehicle assembly plants are ranked based solely on the number of defects and malfunctions in vehicles produced at the plant. Furthermore, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class ranks highest in initial quality in the upper small car segment with 97 PP100 — the fewest problems of any model in the 2008 study.
“Mercedes-Benz’s continued attention to detail has enabled it to pass its competitors and rise to the top rank in 2008,” said Brian Walters, vice president of J.D. Power and Associates Europe, Middle East and Africa operations. “The continued industry leading performance of the Mercedes-Benz East London plant is particularly remarkable considering that the plant was retooled in 2007 to produce left-hand drive vehicles for export to the United States and other markets. Maintaining high levels of quality in the face of major changes to a production line requires a concerted effort by the local workforce and supplier base.”
Source: J.D. Power and Associates