NEW YORK (AP) — Volkswagen took the most awards in an annual U.S. automobile quality survey by a California research company, but Ford's Focus also proved to be a favorite, rising to the top of the survey's small car category.
Volkswagen of America, which includes Audi, came out on top in six of the 17 market segments in the results released Monday by San Diego-based Strategic Vision Inc. General Motors Corp. vehicles won four categories and Nissan models took three.
Volkswagen and Ford Motor Co. were the top scorers among automakers that offer a full line of products in the U.S. The survey looked at 20,101 buyers who bought 2008 and 2009 models between September and December of last year.
"Volkswagen is building vehicles that people are falling in love with," said Strategic Vision President Alexander Edwards. "They're focused on interesting, sporty vehicles and those sporty cues also add to the safety perception of consumers."
The New Beetle was the German automaker's top model, scoring 924 points out of a possible 1,000 to win the survey's small specialty coupe division.
The Volkswagen CC and Audi A4 sedans tied for first place in the survey's near-luxury car division with total quality index scores of 923 and 922, respectively.
Volkswagen's Tiguan won the entry utility division with 914 points, while the Rabbit scored 889 points to take the small multifunction division and the Jetta won the medium car division with 891 points.
Meanwhile, the Ford Focus sedan won the small car division with 877 points.
GM's winners included the Chevrolet Corvette, which won the premium coupe division and was the top scoring vehicle in the survey with 938 points and the Pontiac G8, which tied for first in the large car division with 899 points.
The Detroit-based automaker's GMC brand came out on top in two sport utility vehicle categories, with its Envoy tying for first in the medium SUV division with 859 points and the Yukon XL wining the large SUV category with 899 points.
To get the rankings, Strategic Vision calculated the index based on survey questions about reliability, vehicle characteristics, dealership experience, styling, interior and exterior design and their overall perception of initial quality.
The idea is that by looking at a variety of factors such as driving enjoyment and buying experience, the survey can produce a more complete picture of a customer's overall commitment to a particular vehicle than it would have if it just counted the number of vehicle problems.
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