July 17, 1997 in Nation/World

Lexus, Infiniti Garner Top Rankings

Associated Press

Lexus owners are the happiest drivers on the road when it comes to satisfaction with their cars’ reliability and dealer customer service.

Japanese automaker Lexus came out on top in J.D. Power and Associates’ 1997 survey of driver satisfaction, followed by Infiniti and cura, also based in Japan. Germany’s Mercedes-Benz was fourth.

Cadillac, No. 5 and Saturn, No. 7 - both units of General Motors - were the only U.S. cars in the top 10.

The common link among top-ranking companies is that they have developed a corporate culture that stresses keeping the customer happy long after the car is sold, said Ron Conlin, J.D. Powers’ director of research.

“It’s more being than doing,” he said. “Those at the top, they don’t approach customer treatment in terms of tasks that they do. It’s in terms of who they are. Satisfaction is more than just checking off activities.”

While the top rankings were dominated by expensive nameplates, high rankings by Saturn and Japan’s Honda, No. 9, suggest that good customer service isn’t determined by price, Conlin said.

“The key thing is being extremely sensitive to the demands, the anxieties, the needs of the customers,” Conlin said.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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