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Editor/Photographer : Mark Charles
September 20 2004
JAGUAR LEAPS FORWARD
Jaguar has moved up to become the highest-ranking European nameplate in the latest 2004 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study (IQS). Leaping from 10th place in 2003 to rank third overall is a direct result of a 20 percent improvement on its previous year's performance.
The third-place ranking puts Jaguar well ahead of rivals Mercedes-Benz (10th place), Audi (11th) and BMW (12th). Only Lexus and Cadillac placed higher than Jaguar.
"The significant progress we've made is a testament of our dedication to quality and our commitment to continuously improve our product," said Mike O'Driscoll, president of Aston Martin Jaguar Land Rover North America.
Jaguar's best-performing model was the new XJ sedan, though the S-TYPE and X-TYPE also made marked improvements in their performances, by 28 percent and 13 percent, respectively.
"The performance of our XJ model and the Browns Lane plant in the UK where it's manufactured, are largely responsible for our improved ranking," O'Driscoll added.
Every year J.D. Power & Associates, the highly-respected research organization, conducts an independent, industry-wide examination of quality during the first 90 days of vehicle ownership. For the 2004 study, more than 50,000 new vehicle owners responded to the in-depth survey evaluating quality in nine different categories ranging from the engine and transmission quality to the seats and sound system.
Traditionally, new models in their first year of production don't perform well in initial quality surveys. However, that was not the case with the all-new aluminum intensive XJ. Ranking second in the J.D. Power survey only to the Lexus LS430 in the luxury car segment, the new XJ ranked well ahead of the other competitors, including the BMW 7-Series, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Audi A8.
Other Jaguar models also continue to improve in performance. This year, the S-TYPE showed a marked jump in its quality performance, improving by an impressive 28 percent since last year - placing it among the top five cars in the mid-luxury segment. The X-TYPE has enjoyed a 32 percent jump in initial quality since its introduction in 2002, jumping 13 percent from last year alone.
"It's a fact that, without exception, every car that Jaguar builds today is better in quality than it was just a year ago," said C.J. O'Donnell, executive vice president of Marketing, Sales and Communications, Jaguar North America.
"Of course, we will never be completely happy until Jaguar reaches the number one slot in all aspects of quality. That's our ultimate goal, a goal we feel is an achievable one," O'Donnell added.
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