Japanese cars winning hearts in Germany

Kyodo

Japanese cars have monopolized the top rankings in a German customer satisfaction survey, with Toyota Motor Corp. heading six of the seven categories, the U.S. automobile research firm J.D. Power and Associates said Tuesday.

Nissan Motor Co. completed the Japanese sweep in the first owner satisfaction study conducted by J.D. Power on the German auto market, claiming the pole position in the executive/luxury car category.

With Germany the home of most of the world’s luxury car brands, the results surprised Japanese auto executives.

“The study . . . shows that it is not necessary to buy an expensive car to have a satisfying ownership experience,” said Dave Sargent, director of European operations at J.D. Power.

J.D. Power said the results of the study are based on the responses of more than 15,000 owners of 2- to 3-year-old vehicles who were asked to rate their experiences with the vehicle, the dealer and the cost of vehicle ownership.

The survey covered 32 brands and 132 models divided into seven car segments.

J.D. Power said Toyota captured the small-car segment through its Yaris model, which is marketed in Japan as the Vitz.

It captured the lower medium car category with its Corolla, the upper medium car segment with the Lexus IS 200, the sports car category with the Celica, the sport utility vehicle segment with the RAV4 and the compact van category with the Picnic.

Nissan’s Maxima ranked top in the executive/luxury car segment.

J.D. said BMW won first place in terms of overall vehicle appeal, while Toyota was first in terms of vehicle quality/reliability and in dealer service.

Daihatsu Motor Co. ranked top in terms of ownership costs.