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Ipsos Automotive Quality Awards

Standout performances from Audi, Lexus and Chevrolet (passenger cars) and Toyota, Chevrolet and Isuzu (commercials)

Keeping the customer satisfied…

Ipsos, the international survey company, has announced its 2013 quality awards for sales and service experience in the South African automotive industry. These awards have been made for the past nine years and have become the benchmark in customer experience.

Ipsos measures the satisfaction when purchasing and servicing vehicles, and recognition is given to top achievers in the following categories: Passenger Vehicle (PC) Purchasing Experience; PC Servicing Experience; Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) Purchasing Experience, and LCV Servicing Experience.

Across both the sales and service environment, top performing passenger car brands this year include Chevrolet, Audi and Volkswagen, while in the light commercial segment Chevrolet, Isuzu and Toyota have delivered the strongest performances.

Passenger Vehicle Purchasing.

The category of PC purchasing enjoys the highest average score for the quality of customer experience at 93.8% “Compliments must go to all of the Gold Award winners who all have traditionally been excellent performers, with scores in this band above 94.4%” states Patrick Busschau, automotive business unit director at Ipsos South Africa.

Gold awards went to Audi, Volkswagen, Chevrolet and Toyota. Mercedes-Benz, Opel, Renault, Volvo, Lexus, Nissan and Mazda received silver awards, with Ford and Peugeot taking bronze.

Passenger Vehicle Servicing.

The category of PC servicing has an average score of 85.8% (up from 84.8% in 2012). Gold award winners in this category are Audi, Chevrolet, Volkswagen and Lexus.  Lexus has maintained Gold in this category for 4 years in a row. “It’s encouraging to see a slight increase in the average in this category,” states Busschau. “Servicing always yields lower scores than purchasing as it is a more challenging environment in which to delight customers. It is essentially a grudge purchase and so the results we are seeing must be extremely pleasing to the industry participants. The top performers exemplify an understanding of customer needs, which in turn affirms a sense of confidence in the brand and the dealership to deliver to the customer’s expectations. This all wraps up a nice little package that delivers value for money in the customer’s mind, with as little hassle and sacrifice as they deem to be reasonable.”

Silver awards went to Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Opel, with Mitsubishi, Renault and Mazda taking bronze.

Light Commercial Vehicle Purchasing Experience

The category of LCV Purchasing Experience has yielded five Gold Awards and a very high category average of 92,7%, up from last year.  This category has traditionally performed at a slightly lower level than the PC purchasing experience, but is catching up to the performance of the passenger segment. “There is still opportunity to separate out the light commercial sales experience from the passenger car experience with a clear focus on the specific needs of the commercial vehicle buyer,” comments Busschau.

Gold awards went to Isuzu, Toyota, Chevrolet, Nissan and Volkswagen. No other makes achieved statistically meaningful scores, so no silver or bronze awards were made.

LCV Servicing Experience

The top achievers for the category of LCV Servicing Experience were Volkswagen, Toyota, Isuzu, Nissan, and Chevrolet, who all made the gold category. The average score for this category has improved again from last year to 86% in 2013, which is very similar to the passenger car service average. “The service areas of dealers have become very good at standardising processes and delivering consistently to customers. Again the zone for improvement in recent times is in the softer skills dealer staff are developing to really make the customer feel important to the dealership and that they are receiving value for money with as little inconvenience as possible,” says Busschau.

Mazda, Ford and Mitsubishi achieved silver, and no bronze award was made.

Launch Pad: Toyota Verso

0605 Toyota Verso 1

Wholesome goodness

Wendy Robinson

The aroma of soup emanates from my kitchen as I write this review. You know that familiar connection that the nose sends to the brain when all the senses start working together to cause the body to feel cosy and warm?  I guess that is what an MPV does for a family. You know, it’s not all exotic or particularly over-spiced, but rather a predictable sensation of familiarity. And what is wrong with that? When it comes to comfort, space and practicality, why force the issue with inappropriate vehicles for family comfort.

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Launch Pad: Toyota RAV4


Compact sophistication

Wendy Robinson

Back in 1994 Toyota took a bold step forward by introducing the first cross-over utility vehicle (CUV) into the South African market.  My recollections of the 1st RAV4 are a mixture of hazy moments of wishing so much that I owned one of those cheeky and spunky vehicles that a number of my girl friends owned. Unfortunately, driving that 3-door wonder never happened back in the day.

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Toyota 86 goes racing

0602 Toyota 86 GT4 1

Pictured here is the Toyota 86 GT4 racecar, which will begin its testing programme soon ahead of its entry into the European GT4 champiuonship, which starts in May. The car has been built by specialists GPRM and features a specially developed version of the standard car’s 2,0-litre boxer-four motor.

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Toyota’s 86 to lose its head?

2014 Toyota GT 86 Convertible

Toyota has revealed a sketch of what a convertible version of the 86 might look like, and the car itself will be seen for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Although it has only been seen in sketch form so far, the Toyota FT-86 Open concept does preview possible future development of the award-winning car.

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Launch Pad: Toyota Auris

3101 Toyota Auris 1

Work of art

John Bentley

Toyota is brilliant at making cars that are effortless to drive, comfortable to ride in, meticulously built and as long-lived as Kato’s ancient painting of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove. Take the first Auris, the car that replaced the well-received Run X as the local Corolla’s hatchback alter ego.  It was beautifully made, in Corolla tradition. It drove like a dream and had the bulletproof integrity of its notchback sibling. But it didn’t really catch on. The reason? Bland yet also somewhat awkward styling. Where notchback drivers are traditionalists and will put up with a touch of conservatism, hatchbackers tend to be younger, more trendy individuals, and I believe it was staidness that did in the the first-gen Auris.

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Launch Pad: Toyota 86

Sportscar roots

John Bentley

Heading West on the N4 just before Kaapmuiden, hook a left onto the R38 towards Barberton. For the first few kilometres you’ll bounce across a poorly-maintained bumpy tar B-road, but about 20km in, it changes to a smooth-surfaced winding ribbon along the periphery of the Barberton Nature Reserve, a route that could have been created for Toyota’s new rear-drive 86 sportster.

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