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Toyota leads customer satisfaction rankings in Germany

Stuttgart. The market researcher J.D. Power has carried out three car buyer satisfaction studies in Germany with the German automobile magazine "mot." The result is always the same. Toyota is at the top of the brand ranking.

The most recent poll, for which 25,000 owners were questioned two years after buying a new car, shows that the Japanese brand has improved even further -- by 0.3 percent.

Toyota took first place in three out of seven vehicle categories. In the quality and reliability category the brand achieved top marks.

Three more Japanese manufacturers were close behind Toyota. Mazda, Subaru and Honda were in second, third and fourth place.

BMW has the best ranking of all European automakers. BMW came third in the previous study but fell to fifth place in the most recent survey.

German customers' satisfaction with Mercedes-Benz worsened significantly. In the 2004 J.D. Power report the premium brand manufacturer only came 11th, just in front of Opel.

However, the general satisfaction with German and European brands has risen.

Opel improved significantly by 3.8 percent, Skoda by 2.6 percent and Volvo by 2.5 percent.

Volkswagen's increased sensitivity to product quality appears to be paying off. VW's customer satisfaction ranking has risen by 1.6 percent since 2002. However, VW still received low marks.

Opel's ranking improved significantly thanks to better customer service and the increased reliability of its Astra and Vectra models.

"It is very good news that European volume manufacturers such as Opel and Volkswagen have improved so much. However, European manufacturers still have a lot of hard work to do," said Martin Volk of J.D. Power.

The average value of the Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) is composed of a car's quality and reliability, work undertaken by authorized repair workshops, maintenance costs and the subjective judgment of the car's drivability.

The average value of the current index rose by 1.9 percent in the past two years.

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