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Which models offer the best value for the money?
Strategic Vision's 'Total Value' Awards

Oct. 9, 2006 -- Back in 2006, Hyundai led over many brands, including Toyota. GM proves that Asian and European makers are not out of reach. BMW and MINI top all brands as Total Value leaders. These are a few of the results from Strategic Vision's Total Value Index (TVI) for 2006, which factors economic issues against the total new vehicle ownership experience.

The San Diego-based research firm's winners of its Total Value Awards reflect that true value is about much more than the cheapest deal. Reliability, a solid warranty, strong anticipated resale value, durability, and innovation are all part of the definition of “total value.”

Hyundai and Kia continue to produce nicely styled, high quality products, backed by solid warranties, and the results are four leaders in Total Value for 2006. The new Kia Optima and Hyundai Azera were Total Value leaders in their respective car segments, and the Kia Sedona tops the Honda Odyssey in the minivan category. The Hyundai Tucson was also at the top of Small Sport Utilities (tied with the Saturn Vue). The challenge for both Hyundai and Kia remains consideration on buyers shopping lists, and success rests on communicating foundational issues of expected reliability and durability along with clear cues of quality.

Toyota remains solid with several models performing relatively well in Total Value and three leaders in 2006 from its Scion and Lexus brands. The Scion brand continues strongly, with the xB proving that vehicles can continue to deliver value throughout their production cycle; Total Value is not exclusively the domain of new releases.

GM was the top domestic corporation, and presented four 2006 Total Value winners. The Chevrolet Corvette Coupe and Convertible, Saturn Vue, and Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500 lead in Total Value in their respective segments. With the introduction of a five year 100,000-mile warranty, GM is poised for significant gain if the Total Value message is clearly recognized and communicated for individual models. "GM's new warranty will bring new prospective buyers to the brand, who otherwise might have felt the quality, durability and value was missing," said Alexander Edwards, president of Strategic Vision automotive research group. “If GM can communicate the right quality cues and value in current and future vehicles, then they will be poised for success in the near future."

BMW and MINI lead all brands in Total Value for 2006. Perennial value leader MINI Cooper leads its segment for the fifth year running, and was the overall Total Value winner among all vehicles and segments. With the 3-Series and Cooper Convertible leading Total Value in their segments, BMW and MINI demonstrate that winning requires a formula for success. BMW and MINI buyers had the highest levels of believed resale value, validated by outside sources, and BMW's Ultimate Service program differentiates it from other luxury brands.

Honda is the top full-line corporation in Total Value, with one of the highest expected reliability scores among its owners and each Honda model excelling in that area. Honda Civic, Accord Coupe, and Pilot lead Total Value in their respective segments. The Honda Ridgeline leads in its segment, proving that delivering superior product experience, innovative features and standard equipment can overcome the hurdle of premium pricing to deliver total value.

Nissan had three Total Value leaders, including the Xterra and Armada. It also achieved a milestone with the Titan replacing the Ford F-150 as the Total Value winner in full-size pickups. Innovation and the level of standard equipment helped nudge Titan ahead in a tightly contested segment.

The Total Value Study surveyed over 64,000 new vehicle buyers who purchased their vehicles between October 2005 and March 2006, asking an extensive array of questions about their first 90 days of ownership.

To view Strategic Vison's latestTotal Quality Awards, click here.

The full list of 2006 Total Value Award winners. Click on Segment name to see rankings of contenders.

TVI Score
Honda Civic
Scion xB
Kia Optima
Mazda 6 Wagon
Hyundai Azera
BMW 3-Series Sedan
Lexus LS 430
Audi A8 Sedan
Acura RL
Audi A4/S4 Avant
Mini Cooper*
Chevrolet Corvette Coupe
Honda Accord Coupe*
Mini Cooper Convertible
Chevrolet Corvette Convertible
Kia Sedona
Saturn VUE
Hyundai Tucson
Nissan Xterra
Honda Pilot
Nissan Armada
Lexus RX 330/400H*
Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
Honda Ridgeline
Nissan Titan
Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500

Strategic Vision's 2004 Total Value Awards

Strategic Vision, a San-Diego, Calif., based research firm has released its 2004 Total Value Index™ (TVI) that measures new owners sense of value in their vehicles by factoring all economic issues (including purchase/lease incentives) against the quality of the ownership experience.

Toyota Motor Sales had the most winners, four for Lexus (one a tie) and three for Toyota. Korean imports had the second highest number—three for Hyundai (one a tie) and one for Kia. Adding to a strong product experience for both were Toyota’s strong reliability, durability and resale value and Hyundai’s and Kia’s strong warranty.

European marques led in four segments, with two new Mercedes-Benz C-Class models at the head of their class. Domestic brands captured five first-place spots, with General Motors tying in two of its three wins.

More than 69,000 buyers rated the following vehicles the best values in their segments. For the complete listing of the top three vehicles in Strategic Vision's 2004 Vehicle Experience Study in each segment, click here.

TVI Score
Hyundai Elantra*
Toyota Prius
Hyundai XG 350/Acura TSX (TIE)
Mercury Marauder*
Mini Cooper*
Mercedes Benz C-Class Coupe
Honda Accord Coupe*/Chevrolet Monte Carlo (TIE)
Mercedes Benz C-Class Sedan
Lexus LS 430
Volkswagen New Beetle Convertible
Cadillac XLR/Lexus SC 430 (TIE)
Kia Sedona
Hyundai Santa Fe
Toyota 4Runner
Toyota Sequoia*
Lexus RX 330*
Lexus GX 470
Nissan Frontier
Ford F-150
Dodge Ram 2500/3500*
* 2003 Total Value Award™ winners
(Differences of 1-2 points are not statistically significant)
In addition to leading the most segments, Lexus repeated as the top brand in Total Value (774). Mitsubishi was the most improved. American Honda (750) was the highest full-line corporation, followed closely by Hyundai (747).

At the heart of the Total Value Index™ is the quality of the ownership experience—everything involved in buying, owning and driving a new vehicle. All economics issues, both immediate (price, affordability, deal offered, warranty and standard equipment) and expected (durability, future trade-in, mileage, economical to own and reliability) are then factored against that perceived quality.

“What you get for your money,” says Dr. Darrel Edwards, Strategic Vision president, “is vital in the value equation. A cheap price for a vehicle that doesn't stir the buyer’s values and emotions will never be more than a cheap vehicle. One with strong perceived quality that scores well on the value factors will make a buyer feel like a real winner who made a smart choice.”

“Brand building and strong Total Quality, rather than incentives, are the keys to delivering value to consumers,” says Gorrell. “Until the domestics reestablish their brands and introduce hot new products, they'll need incentives to roll vehicles off dealers’ lots.”

Buyers participating in the study purchased their new vehicles between October 2003 and March 2004. They had at least 90 days of ownership experience before they were surveyed. All Total Value Award™ winners had to be 2004 models.

Research pioneer Strategic Vision measures buyer satisfaction as consumers define it: the complete ownership experience, including the emotional response. The firm has calculated its Total Quality Index™ annually since 1995, and Total Value Index™ since 1996. A Total Delight Index™ that calculates the dynamics that make vehicles exceptional debuted in January 2003.
Founded in 1987, the company conducts leading-edge research in consumer and constituent decision-making for diverse companies. Clients include various auto manufacturers, as well as many Fortune 100 companies and governments worldwide.

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