AutoPacific Announces 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards Hyundai Azera Top Car, Lincoln Navigator Top Truck



    TUSTIN, Calif., May 17 /PRNewswire/ -- A study released today by noted
 automotive consulting firm AutoPacific, Inc. summarizes the results of its
 2006 model year owner satisfaction research. AutoPacific's VSA (Vehicle
 Satisfaction Award) study is an industry benchmark for objectively
 measuring how satisfied an owner is with their new car or light truck.
     The vehicle registering highest overall satisfaction in 2006 is the
 Lincoln Navigator Luxury SUV. The highest rated car is the new-for-2006
 Hyundai flagship -- Hyundai Azera.
     Unlike 2005, when Nissan North America had seven winners, the 2006
 results are distributed across the industry. There are eighteen Vehicle
 Satisfaction Award categories. Honda won four categories, General Motors
 won three categories, Ford won three categories, Nissan won two categories,
 Hyundai won two categories, Mitsubishi won two categories.
     Top 2006 model year performers are:
 
     BRAND:                               Lexus
 
     PASSENGER CARS:
     Premium Luxury Car                   Lexus LS
     Entry Luxury Car                     Cadillac CTS
     Luxury/Large Car                     Hyundai Azera
     Premium Mid-Size Car                 Volkswagen Passat
     Mid-Size Car                         Mercury Milan
     Image Compact Car                    MINI Cooper
     Compact Car                          Honda Civic
     Sports Car                           Chevrolet Corvette
     Sporty Car                           Acura RSX
 
     LIGHT TRUCKS:
     Large Light-Duty Pickup              Nissan Titan
     Large Heavy-Duty Pickup              Chevrolet Silverado HD
     Sport Utility Truck                  Honda Ridgeline
     Compact Pickup                       Mitsubishi Raider
     Luxury Sport Utility                 Lincoln Navigator
     Large Sport Utility                  Nissan Armada
     Premium Mid-Size Sport Utility       Mitsubishi Endeavor
     Mid-Size Sport Utility               Hyundai Santa Fe
     Compact Sport Utility                Suzuki Grand Vitara
     Minivan                              Honda Odyssey
     In addition to identifying segment winners, VSA also establishes
 numerical satisfaction ratings for virtually every passenger car and light
 truck in the North American market. This results from calculating owner
 satisfaction across 44 specific areas related to a vehicle's operation,
 comfort, safety and the overall purchase/lease experience. The 2006 ratings
 reflect input from buyers and lessees of new vehicles acquired September
 2005 through January 2006.
     AutoPacific releases VSA results yearly as a consumer and industry
 service. AutoPacific also offers a Satisfaction Benchmark Study (SBS) that
 analyzes, on a feature-by-feature basis, cars and trucks in the North
 American market. This study allows manufacturers and key suppliers to
 assess and compare their vehicles on a feature level with the best in the
 business. "We feel SBS is the best and most economical way for
 manufacturers and suppliers to rate their own performance, and find out who
 is setting the standard for satisfaction. It then takes the analysis to the
 discrete level, from cupholders to the dealership experience," says
 Peterson.
     AutoPacific is a future-oriented automotive marketing and
 product-consulting firm. Every year it publishes a wide variety of
 syndicated studies on the automotive industry. The firm also conducts
 extensive proprietary research and consulting for auto manufacturers,
 distributors, marketers and suppliers worldwide. Company headquarters and
 its state-of-the-art automotive research facility are in Tustin,
 California, with an affiliate office in the Detroit area.
     Additional information can be found on AutoPacific's websites:
 http://www.autopacific.com and http://blog.vehiclevoice.com. To weigh in
 with comments concerning these results, you can comment on the VehicleVoice
 blog site.
     Note:  Rankings for brands and segments will be released at a later date.
 
     Additional George Peterson comments regarding individual winners:
     Lexus Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Top Brand:
 "Lexus' win comes from an especially strong showing by its LS430 Premium
 Luxury Car and solid results from the rest of its lineup. Strong vehicle
 scores combined with real luxury-level customer handling at Lexus
 dealerships edges Lexus ahead of other luxury brands like Cadillac,
 Infiniti, Land Rover, and Lincoln. European luxury brands other than Land
 Rover are down on the list this year."
     Lexus LS430 Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for
 Premium Luxury Cars: "Owners of the Lexus LS return the Lexus flagship to
 its accustomed place at the top of the Premium Luxury Car rankings. With a
 combination of extremely luxurious ride and driving dynamics, top notch
 materials, bulletproof quality and overachieving dealers, the Lexus LS
 provides its owners with an extremely satisfying experience."
     Cadillac CTS Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Entry
 Luxury Cars: "Cadillac CTS moves to the top of the Entry Luxury Car
 category in 2006. The European ambience of the CTS makes it a clear
 alternative to the Japanese and European brand entries in this segment. The
 fact CTS comes from an American brand is a testament to Cadillac
 understanding what buyers in this product category really want."
     Hyundai Azera Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for
 Large Cars -- Also Top-Ranked Car: "The satisfaction results for the
 all-new Hyundai Azera prove that Hyundai is serious about selling top class
 products. In its first year on the market, Azera achieves not only a class
 win, but is the highest scoring passenger car ahead of vaunted Premium
 Luxury Cars like the Lexus LS, Jaguar XJ and Mercedes S-Class. The fact
 that these cars are twice the price of an Azera is just icing on the cake."
     Volkswagen Passat Wins AutoPacific 2006 Premium Mid-Size Car Vehicle
 Satisfaction Award: "In its first year out, the all-new Volkswagen Passat
 has established itself as an extremely satisfying Premium Mid-Size sedan.
 Passat handily beat segment volume leaders Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and
 Hyundai Sonata. Passat wins by virtue of its outstanding interior design,
 use of high touch materials and European driving dynamics."
     Mercury Milan Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for
 Mid-Size Cars: "The all-new Mercury Milan is a clear winner among Mid-Size
 competition. Combining excellent style, good size and roominess, sporty
 ride and handling, the Milan provides its owners with a very satisfying
 experience."
     MINI Cooper Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Image
 Compact Cars: "Car makers continuously strive to produce a small car that
 people actually want to buy -- an Image Compact Car -- a car people aspire
 to. MINI has certainly achieved that goal. A car coveted by young and old
 drivers alike, the MINI has an attitude unmatched in today's car market.
 Distinctive, cute, fun to drive, MINI is a delight that clearly satisfies
 its owners."
     Chevrolet Corvette Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for
 Sports Cars: "Owners of the new C6 Chevrolet Corvette return the car to the
 top of the Sports Car category with a decisive class-winning performance
 for 2006. The new Corvette is perhaps the best value in the entire Sports
 Car arena. The C6 Corvette is a more satisfying car than any previous
 Corvette -- great styling, more finesse, super performance, great handling
 and a more supple ride. Still immediately identifiable as a Corvette, the
 C6 is clearly new across the board."
     Acura RSX Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Sporty
 Cars: "Acura RSX is a small sporty coupe priced substantially below other
 Acura entries. This value, combined with a great powertrain and sporty
 handling provide RSX owners with class-topping satisfaction."
     Nissan Titan Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Large
 Light-Duty Pickups: "Owners of the 2006 Nissan Titan rate the pickup at the
 top of the Large Light-Duty Pickup category. The 2006 model year is the
 third year in a row Titan has topped its segment. This is an outstanding
 accomplishment and testament to the satisfaction Titan is giving its
 owners."
     "Titan's achievement is truly remarkable and demonstrates the inherent
 differences in AutoPacific's way of measuring satisfaction compared with
 others. Titan is immensely satisfying, but owner surveys conducted by
 others show Titan has a fair share of niggling problems. But, if you are
 not counting things gone wrong and looking at what really matters -- how
 well buyers are satisfied -- Titan shines. Its big, powerful V8 engine
 combined with outstanding styling and features provide the top-satisfying
 product package for 2006."
     "We cannot ignore that two large trucks produced at Nissan's Canton
 Mississippi assembly plant won top place in their categories for both the
 2004, 2005 and 2006 -- Nissan Titan and Nissan Armada. This is a sweep any
 company can be envious of."
     Chevrolet Silverado Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award
 for Large Heavy-Duty Pickup Trucks: "The Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty
 wins among Heavy Duty Large Pickups. A workhorse near the end of its run,
 the Silverado HD nosed out Dodge Ram Heavy Duty and Ford F-Series Super
 Duty entries. Much of its win has to be credited to its up-graded Duramax
 diesel for the 2006 model year."
     Honda Ridgeline Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for
 Sport Utility Trucks: "Complementing the numerous awards the Honda
 Ridgeline has received since its introduction, Ridgeline customers weigh in
 by rating it as the most satisfying pickup on the market. Scoring higher
 than all Full Size, Heavy Duty and Compact pickups, Ridgeline proves that a
 softer pickup doing car and truck duty can provide great satisfaction for
 its owners. Heaped with innovations, including the first-ever trunk in a
 pickup, Ridgeline breaks the pickup mold."
     Mitsubishi Raider Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for
 Compact Pickup Trucks: "Tough styling communicates the capability of the
 top ranking Compact Pickup Truck -- the Mitsubishi Raider. The only
 Japanese-brand Compact Pickup available with a V8 engine, the Raider
 achieves class-leading satisfaction. Raider's win demonstrates the value of
 good power and performance even in the Compact Pickup class."
     Lincoln Navigator Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for
 Luxury Sport Utility Vehicles -- Also Top Ranked Truck and TOP RANKED
 VEHICLE Overall: "The Lincoln Navigator is the top ranked vehicle for
 satisfaction in AutoPacific's 2006 research. Not only did the Lincoln
 flagship beat its Luxury SUV competition, but it was ahead of all other
 trucks and cars as well. While Cadillac's Escalade may be the new King of
 Bling, Navigator achieves its class leading status with an industry
 benchmark interior, full fold flat rear seating, tasteful styling and a
 great performing V8."
     Nissan Armada Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award Large
 Sport Utility for Third Year in a Row: "Armada is a significant vehicle for
 a variety of reasons, the most notable of which is that it comes from a
 Japanese brand but is completely tuned for American tastes and
 sensibilities. Brand aside, there is absolutely nothing traditionally or
 typically Japanese about it. Armada is full size, and when we say
 full-size, we mean it! It has a powerful and sophisticated V8 engine bigger
 and mightier than the domestic competition! Armada is unapologetically made
 for North America and North America alone, with no compromises or
 shortcomings."
     "Armada was right for the market right out of the box for the 2004
 model year when it won Large SUV honors. As a repeat winner, Armada's 2004
 and 2005 performances surely were not flukes."
     Mitsubishi Endeavor Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award
 for Premium Mid-Size Sport Utility Vehicles: "Mitsubishi Endeavor won its
 first VSA when it was launched in 2004 and repeats in 2006. Endeavor's
 5-passenger interior package gives good spaciousness to front and rear
 passengers without the compromises often made by SUVs trying to shoehorn
 7-people into the space designed for five. Endeavor has good performance
 and driving dynamics. While Endeavor's somewhat controversial styling may
 limit its sales, clearly, once a person has made the commitment, the
 Endeavor provides what they want."
     Hyundai Santa Fe Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for
 Mid-Size Sport Utility Vehicles: "In its last year before being replaced,
 the Hyundai Santa Fe continues its string of category-leading performances.
 Santa Fe has won or tied in its category for five of the six years it has
 been on the market. This is a testament to Santa Fe's strong combination of
 product competence, value and warranty. Santa Fe satisfies its owners and
 continues to help Hyundai build its brand image in the United States."
     Suzuki Grand Vitara Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award
 for Compact Sport Utility Vehicles: "In Suzuki's first win ever, owners of
 the all-new Grand Vitara rate it best in the Compact SUV class. New
 styling, larger, up-graded interior, up-graded powertrain, affordable
 pricing and a more-than-competitive warranty, make Grand Vitara a
 satisfying value proposition."
     Honda Odyssey Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for
 Minivans: "The Honda Odyssey Minivan wins top satisfying Minivan honors for
 2006. The Odyssey, in a three-way tie with other Japanese brand Minivans in
 2005, moves into the lead for 2006. Odyssey's relatively sporty
 performance, ride and handling combined with traditional Minivan styling
 and innovative interior features nudge Odyssey ahead of the Nissan Quest
 for 2006. Honda's perceived product quality was the deciding factor."
 
 

SOURCE AutoPacific, Inc.

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