SAN DIEGO – Strategic Vision has announced the results of its 2012 Total Quality Index study, which measures the number of reported problems with specific vehicles and whether vehicles meet customers’ quality expectations.

Toyota took the top spot for the lowest number of reported problems, with only 17% of owners noting they encountered issues. Toyota had the lowest “Problem Impact Measure” (PIM) score, at 4.29. Strategic Vision stated this metric examines problem reports, the nature of the problem, i.e. whether it’s serious, moderate, or minor, and the nature of problems unresolved by dealers.

Volkswagen earned the top spot for Strategic Vision’s Total Quality metric, i.e. how well a vehicle meets a customer’s expectations. Ford and Chrysler tied for second place in the Total Quality rankings.

“This is really great news for all those corporations, but the key to success and sales will be products that satisfy the customer's increasingly insatiable need for innovation, and the complete picture of Quality,” says Strategic Vision President, Alexander Edwards. “We point out Total Quality vs. ‘Fewest Problems’ for a reason. When measuring quality, the complete experience must be part of the calculation and include all the perceptions that influence how people make their decision. For instance, even when ‘just' counting problems, perception is involved. One buyer may overlook what another may report. With Total Quality, we factor in all the perceptions that are proven to create the impression of Total Quality; this is ultimately how people think about vehicles and spend money,” concludes Alexander Edwards.

Notable vehicles in the study include VW’s Golf, Eos, and Tiguan, and Audi’s A4 and A8. Vehicles from Ford the study noted include the F-150, Flex, and F-250/350.

The report also noted that the most improved corporation in terms of quality is Chrysler Group. Total Quality winners from Chrysler Group were the Dodge Charger and redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee.

“They are definitely beginning to turn things around and the Fiat 500 (Small Car Segment winner) is just one example,” Edwards said. “Attributes like Fiat 500's Exterior Styling and Workmanship, and even Sound Systems, all become part of the Total Quality equation when one explicitly captures the heart and mind of how customer's think when spending $20,000 to $100,000 on a vehicle,” said Darrel Edwards, Ph.D. and Strategic Vision Chairman/Founder. “Of course some brands do not compete at the corporate level. BMW and Mercedes continue to do well, but monitor the pulse of America, and be sure to recognize the current trend of ‘smart' luxury.”

Other notable brands include Honda, with a good Problem Impact Measure score. It led in three segments, with the Accord Crosstour, Odyssey and [five-time] Standard Truck Segment winner Ridgeline.

The full list of vehicles and their respective scores is below.