SOUTH AFRICA: BMW holds most owner appeal

By just-auto.com editorial team | 23 November 2004

BMW vehicles are the most appealing in South Africa, according to the JD Power and Associates 2004 South Africa Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study.

The inaugural study is a customer-driven measure of "things gone right," which measures customer perceptions on the design, content, layout and performance of their new vehicles during the first three to seven months of ownership. The study evaluates new vehicles across eight categories: engine and transmission; cockpit and instrument panel; ride, handling and braking; heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC); comfort and convenience; sound system; seats; and vehicle styling/exterior.

The study finds that particularly among passenger cars, European-branded models tend to be the most appealing to new-vehicle owners in South Africa. BMW places highest in the overall nameplate rankings, followed by Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Honda and Volvo, respectively. Other above average brands are Renault, Citroen, Volkswagen, Peugeot and Hyundai.

"While all-new models or recently redesigned models tend to perform best in APEAL, the Volkswagen Citi Golf, which ranks highest in the compact car segment, indicates that with periodic freshening, older designs can maintain their appeal over time," said a JD Power spokesman. [It's still essentially the Mark One Golf.]

The Honda Jazz ranks highest in the lower small car segment and is also the top-performing lower small car in JD Power and Associates 2004 South Africa Initial Quality Study. The IQS, complementary to APEAL, is a customer-driven measure of vehicle problems experienced during the first three to seven months of ownership.

Two recent redesigns, the Audi A3 and the Renault Megane, rank highest in a tie in the upper small car segment. The Audi A3 performs particularly well in the engine/transmission; cockpit/instrument panel; HVAC; and sound system categories, while the Megane's strengths are in ride, handling and braking; comfort/convenience; seats; and styling/exterior.

In the medium car segment, the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class rank highest in a tie. The BMW 3 Series out performs the Mercedes-Benz C-Class in five of the eight categories, while the C-Class leads in comfort/convenience; sound system; and styling/exterior. The 3 Series also leads the medium car segment in initial quality.

Among the most appealing bakkies [what South Africans call a pickup truck] are the Opel Corsa Utility (half-ton) and the Ford Ranger (one-ton).