CALIFORNIA - Luxury brands once again dominated an annual U.S. automobile quality survey taken this year by a California research company, but total quality dropped for the first time in four years, the company said. BMW led all brands in the survey by San Diego-based Strategic Vision, followed closely by Hummer, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Infiniti, Lexus, Land Rover, Cadillac, Lincoln, and Volkswagen, according to


To get the rankings, Strategic Vision calculated the index based on survey questions about reliability, vehicle characteristics, dealership experience, styling, interior and exterior design and their overall perception of initial quality, said Alexander Edwards, president of the company’s automotive division.

VW, which includes Audi, led all corporations with a total quality index score of 892 out of 1,000 possible points. General Motors (GM) finished second as a corporation at 867, followed by Ford Motor and Honda, which tied for third at 862.

Toyota finished fifth, at the industry average of 860. VW, GM, and Ford were the only corporations showing improvement in this year’s survey.


Ford had five vehicles with the highest scores in the 19 market segments measured by Strategic Vision, while Toyota had four. The two companies tied in one other category. Ford won in the large car category with the Mercury Sable, the convertible under $30,000 segment with the Ford Mustang, the small specialty car segment with the Volvo C30, the medium crossover category with the Ford Edge, and the heavy-duty pickup with the Ford F-250-350.



Toyota’s Yaris subcompact, 4Runner mid-size SUV vehicle and Sequoia large SUV were winners, as was the Scion xB small multifunction vehicle.

Toyota ’s Lexus RX 350 tied with Ford’s Land Rover LR2 in the near-luxury SUV category.


As a corporation, Honda had the lowest percentage of people who reported problems with their vehicles at 19 percent, followed closely by Ford at 20 percent and Toyota at 21 percent. Nissan and BMW tied at 24 percent.


Strategic Vision said it developed the rankings from surveys taken of 20,655 people who bought new cars in September, October, and November of last year.