Lexus on top again
This is the second consecutive year
that Lexus has led the J.D Power Initial Quality Survey, which measures
customer impressions of quality after 90 days of ownership and is based on
the results of a 228 item questionnaire survey filled out by 74,000 US car
Lexus scored an industry leading 73 on a scale of problems per 100 vehicles,
while Jaguar and Porsche tied for second on 75. The industry average this
year was 102 problems per 100 vehicles, an improvement from 107 last year.
Jaguar was the big improver, second place from 20th last year. Overall 26 of
the 34 brands in the survey improved their score over last year, five
declined, one was steady and two brands entered the 2012 survey for the
So Lexus was top of the heap, who was on the bottom? Fiat and Smart tied for
last place. Each had roughly double the number of faults reported by Lexus
owners. MINI was third last, while Volkswagen, Dodge and Mitsubishi also
recorded near the bottom of the table results.
Significantly, it was not so much mechanical faults this year, but problems
with audio, entertainment and navigation systems. Since 2006 there has been
a 45 percent increase in related issues, running counter to a 24 percent
improvement elsewhere in the survey..
The number of owner-reported problems with factory-installed hands-free
communication devices has increased by 137 percent during the past four
years. Hands-free devices not recognizing commands is now the
Ford, in particular, has suffered a slide down the quality ratings as a
result of problems with its MyFord technology. This has resulted in its
going from 5th place in 2010 to 27th place this year. However, with
individual models Ford did well with the Taurus (large car), Mustang
(mid-size sporty car) and Expedition (large crossover/SUV)..
Lexus won with its RX SUV (mid-size premium crossover class), ES350 (entry
premium) and LS (large premium).
Since I cannot get my home computer to work faultlessly, I pity the auto
manufacturers trying to get the on-board computing/electronics to be
British GP Silverstone tonight
Silverstone for the British
The British Grand Prix will be held this weekend at the
ancestral home of F1, with the first ever F1 GP held there in 1950 (and won
by Dr Farina in the Alfa Romeo).
This is a circuit that the drivers universally like, a circuit that allows
cars to pass each other (even without the DRS), and a Grand Prix where it is
likely to rain at some point. After all, it is in England, and they cannot
possible go three days on the trot without a good drenching from above!
The new “arena” part of the circuit used last year for the first time goes
from Abbey to Brooklands corners, moving the infield and adding an extra
760m to the track length. You will be heartened to read that Herr Tilke was
not involved. Interestingly, this modification was actually built for the
MotoGP series, but now incorporated in the F1 series after Bernie, the
patron saint of King Midas Enterprises, gave it his blessing. Yes, that is
the same Bernie who has masterminded such yawnfest circuits as Bahrain and
Singapore. But don’t start me.
Hamilton will be trying for the win (or at least trying to avoid being
skewered by Maldonado), team mate Jenson Button will be desperate to win
another and shove it up his team mate, Boy Vunder Vettel wants to raise the
magic finger again and Mark Webber will try to repeat his result from
Valencia, but actually qualify well and get on the podium, while Alonso the
Savvy Spaniard will complain about something, and then try a scoop up
another win! Felipe Massa, who must be on borrowed time, will complain that
his car feels different every time he drives it, while Narain Kathikeyan
will be tail-end Charlie as usual.
The race is on at 7 p.m. Sunday July 8.