Volkswagen is on a roll.
As the New Beetle craze continues, three VW cars finished first in their segments in the 1998 Total Quality Index of Strategic Vision Inc. The survey was to be released today, May 4.
The survey also found that manufacturers are providing increased overall customer satisfaction despite minor setbacks in reliability.
The number of those who reported vehicle quality problems was up from 34 percent to 36 percent this year. But Dan Gorrell, vice president of Strategic Vision, said the problems were probably minor.
Despite the increase in defects, higher dealership scores helped produce better overall customer satisfaction than last year.
The average score for all manufacturers increased from 807 to 830 for 1998 models.
A perfect score is 1,000.
For the second year in a row, the BMW 7 series' 910 points was the highest score in any segment. But the Lexus ES 300 is closing the gap; it racked up 896 points.
The study is based on responses from 33,000 consumers who purchased 1998 models last October and November.
Strategic Vision, a San Diego research firm, factors in the respondents' ownership experience, perception of quality, attachment to the vehicle, their delight and future purchase intent.