By on February 25, 2008

holden-ve-commodore-1-big.jpgAnother myth exploded. Hot off TTAC's Paul Niedermeyer's editorial shattering our high-octane illusions of a country content with big, RWD Australian-made sedans like the Falcon, The Age reports that Ford and Holden finished at the bottom of the first ever J.D. Powers customer satisfaction survey for Australia. A sample of Aussies with cars up to three years old were fed an "international standard questionnaire" and asked to rate their purchases on several factors, including performance and reliability. Scanning the top place finishers paints a familiar picture for many Americans: Mazda, Honda and Toyota. Holden spinmeister John Lindsay uses utterly generic understatement to diffuse any controversy, noting that "When you sell thousands of cars some people will have issues". Right up until they stop buying, John.

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14 Comments on “Holden and Ford Last in New JD Powers’ Aussie Survey...”


  • avatar
    Brendino

    Long time viewer, first time commenter. The possibility of the first post and the international perspective drew me in :P

    Say what you want about the Falcon and Commodore, but as an American in Oz their presence was one of the first things I noticed. These things are EVERYWHERE in all kinds of capacities. Now obviously I haven’t asked anyone how satisfied they are, but people seem to love ’em.

    That being said, I think they’re more of image cars than Hondas or Toyotas, and that’s why people might not be satisfied with reliability or performance. People buy em to look cool and then find out that they’re not perfect.

    Just my two Australian cents (which rounds down to zero here :P).

  • avatar
    olddavid

    Was I the only American that liked the GTO? That was a damn fine Holden, in my opinion. Have they gone backwards, or is it my lack of experience with the brand?

  • avatar
    umterp85

    JD Powers Surveys are useless (at least according to most on this site) therefore I take these results with a grain of salt.

  • avatar
    niccogp

    Plenty of Americans like the GTO, but it’s a minority. The press (still) likes to bash it because it’s the easiest way to get the word count up in any article that touches upon the Australian automotive industry. Likewise, when it first hit the USt, it was a lot easier to say “this car isn’t what a GTO used to be” rather than taking the time to explain to people that it’s a solid car, regardless of what the nameplate says.

    With so few GTOs imported the number of people who read the reviews vastly outnumbered the people who actually put their butt in the seat. Thus, the car is known as a flop outside of a small group of people with first-hand experience. If only Lutz had called it a Monaro instead of trying to dredge up “GTO”…

    I think the initial quality impression with most GTO owners was that it completely blew away any American car on the road in terms of interior design and fit and finish. Some longer term issues with strut rub, gremlins in the electronics, etc. have definitely come up. Lots of discussion over at LS1GTO.com.

    Regards.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    I think the initial quality impression with most GTO owners was that it completely blew away any American car on the road in terms of interior design and fit and finish. Some longer term issues with strut rub, gremlins in the electronics, etc. have definitely come up.

    And that’s the root of the ill-understood difference between design quality and reliability. A C-Class undoubtedly has better design quality than a Civic, but which of the two is more likely to have longer term issues?

    This is the problem that Volkswagen in particular can’t seem to get a handle on. It doesn’t matter if the gaps between dash panels are 2mm smaller than the competition if the car doesn’t start.

  • avatar
    L47_V8

    Brendino :
    February 25th, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Long time viewer, first time commenter. The possibility of the first post and the international perspective drew me in :P

    Say what you want about the Falcon and Commodore, but as an American in Oz their presence was one of the first things I noticed. These things are EVERYWHERE in all kinds of capacities. Now obviously I haven’t asked anyone how satisfied they are, but people seem to love ‘em.

    That being said, I think they’re more of image cars than Hondas or Toyotas, and that’s why people might not be satisfied with reliability or performance. People buy em to look cool and then find out that they’re not perfect.

    Just my two Australian cents (which rounds down to zero here :P).

    Impalas and old Tauruses are everywhere here. Just means they’re cheap used (and new!) buys and fleet-specials with half or more being dumped into rental car pools.

    Doesn’t mean people drool on them in the garage at night.

  • avatar
    TexasAg03

    JD Powers Surveys are useless (at least according to most on this site) therefore I take these results with a grain of salt.

    They are useless and I second your grain of salt…

  • avatar
    Pch101

    For an allegedly useless company, it’s amazing that JD Power has managed to stay in business selling its data to the automakers for millions of dollars. I have been trying to figure out a way that I could sell useless data for a lot of money, but have yet to find it.

    And it’s quite interesting that the results of JD Power’s useless data frequently correlates with other survey data. So I guess that all of that other data must also be useless, too.

    Or here’s a radical thought — perhaps the data isn’t useless at all, and it would behoove the auto manufacturers to listen to their customers and make improvements based upon what their customers want, instead of pretending that buyers’ preferences don’t matter.

    Ford and Holden are up for a day of reckoning, as reductions in import tariffs, free trade agreements and Japanese transplants open up the Aussie auto market. Their market is at the state that US was about twenty years ago, so there is still time to save themselves if they use it wisely. Or, they can ignore the useless surveys as they watch Falcons being traded in for Camrys.

  • avatar
    FunkyD

    @olddavid:

    I love my GTO! True it “isn’t what a GTO used to be”, but rather what a GTO would have become had it continued in production.

    Maybe I’m lucky, but I have had 26k trouble-free miles so far. Burned through a set of tires in 15k, but that’s not the car’s fault! :-)

    As noted, fit and finish are superb, except for a troublesome trunk latch. However, electrical gremlins are definitely a drag on your quality rep.

    The biggest reason I’m a GM fan is they will build or import neat stuff like the GTO and G8. I only wish they’d have quality and dealer service to match.

  • avatar

    It would be better both here and Australia if they or anyone else measured long term durability of more than 5 years. Thats what counts the most with the dependibility crowd. Most of us have reached our own conclusions based on our actual experiences which generally means Toyota and Honda.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I am going to guess that JD Power conducts a 3-year survey because their customers — the automakers — provide warranties of about that length. JD Power makes its money from the auto manufacturers, not from the rest of us.

  • avatar

    I understand that Pch but thats why even if the domestics match the imports on durability their sales will not improve. I mean how would I know? I know I keep my car more than 5 years. The only thing I have to go on is what I see with my own eyes and in my case my import brands don’t break down.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I understand that Pch but thats why even if the domestics match the imports on durability their sales will not improve. I mean how would I know?

    Consumer Reports’ coverage goes back several years, not just three.

    I find that CR typically correlates to what you’ll find in JD Power, their rankings tend to be quite similar. Between the two of them, you can get a pretty good idea of long-term reliability. And if a car is a poor performer by the third year, it’s a fair bet that it isn’t going to age gracefully.

  • avatar
    Brendino

    L47_V8 :
    February 25th, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Impalas and old Tauruses are everywhere here. Just means they’re cheap used (and new!) buys and fleet-specials with half or more being dumped into rental car pools.

    Doesn’t mean people drool on them in the garage at night.

    I drooled over my Sable when I got it :) I’m just happy to have a car!

    Your point is valid. But I dunno. I mean, if I see someone peeling out, acting like an idiot to show off, they’re in a ute. For the price of cars here, I see a lot of the top level trim. A lot of the classic cars I’ve seen down here are old Falcons. Obviously I can’t definitively measure it but there seems to be a lot more pride in ownership for one of these than a Taurus or an Impala.

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