Honda Takes Top Spot from Toyota in ALG Quality Score

Honda CR-ZHonda, Japan’s No. 2 automaker, has not only started challenging Toyota with its own incentive deals but it also has surpassed its bigger rival in a national quality score .
Honda secured an 83.2 score, down 1 percent but 12.6 percentage points above runner-up Nissan’s score of 70.6 percent, according to ALG’s Spring 2010 Automotive Consumer Attitudes Survey. Toyota took a sharp drop in the survey, falling from first to sixth place.
Rounding out the top five mainstream brands were Ford Trucks (up 5 percent), Subaru (up 4 percent) and Volkswagen (down 1 percent).
California-based ALG publishes the Automotive Lease Guide and derives its scores from surveys of card and truck owners in the U.S. Its “perceived quality scores” are a benchmark for residual values.
“Toyota’s dramatic decline in ALG’s Spring 2010 PQS obviously reflects its recent quality issues and the ensuing media storm around its massive vehicle recalls,” said Matt Traylen, ALG’s Chief Economist
Traylen said that Toyota can improve its score before year’s end as its quality crisis subsides. Toyota initiated large-scale recalls of popular models last month due to unintended acceleration issues.
“Assuming there are no further quality problems, the media focus gradually diminishes, and Toyota stops its heavy incentive spending within three to six months, we would expect Toyota’s PQS to stabilize and begin to improve later this year. However, reclaiming the top spot from Honda will clearly be a formidable task.”
Honda itself issued a large recall this month of about 344,000 Odyssey and 68,000 Element vehicles from the 2007-2008 model years for brake pedals that may regress closer to the floor of the vehicles over time.
The two Japanese car giants are now in an incentive price war, with Honda launching lease specials this week on most of its models. It is offering no down payment or security deposit leases that also come with no first month’s payment and most fees waived.
Toyota this month started its largest incentive campaign with zero percent financing on several of its popular models. The move has boosted sales in March by about 40 percent.
In other news today from Honda, the carmaker said it has received more than 10,000 orders for its new CR-Z hybrid two-seater since its debut in Japan a month ago, exceeding the sales target of 1,000 vehicles. The CR-Z is expected in U.S. showrooms this summer.

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