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  • Strategic Vision

Driver Engagement Influences Quality Perceptions more than Flawless Toasters: 2020 TQI Winners

San Diego, California: November 17, 2020: Even amid the current state of affairs that have altered some of the how and why consumers choose different vehicles for personal mobility, several newer models have delighted owners. The BMW 8-Series leads Strategic Vision’s 2020 Total Quality Awards. Other segment leaders included the Jeep Gladiator, Volkswagen Arteon, Kia Telluride, and Hyundai Palisade, according to the results of Strategic Vision’s 2020 Total Quality Impact? (TQI) measure.

Determining quality by measuring the quantity and importance of the parts of the vehicle that break or do not function properly is only the foundation, as most all manufacturers are essentially at the same level. TQI instead explains what generates the perceptions of quality, demonstrating how things-gone-right influence those perceptions on an emotional level. “Others have reported that brands like Tesla are among the worst in Quality,” says Alexander Edwards, President at Strategic Vision. “But who cares? Customers are engaged with the Tesla product, image, and shopping experience that overshadows quality weaknesses.”

Most vehicles that took leadership positions in TQI this year were those that went above and beyond to emotionally engage their drivers and enable them to be an active participant in the vehicle experience. As an example, the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class used excellent styling and a superior dealership experience to communicate to entry-luxury buyers that they had “made it” and had achieved their dreams – even completing their lives. The Volvo V60 demonstrated that Safety can be a leverageable attribute if it is why people buy the vehicle and it delivers on that promise. In addition, Jeep Gladiator owners found this newer model to be a true Jeep, with all the brand’s emotional implications, that also happens to feature a truck bed.

Another key finding in 2020 is that 3 of 4 alternative powertrain vehicle segments had lower averages – and lower top scores – than their gas-powered counterparts. The good news is that the gap has slowly closed over the last decade. One of the factors for lower quality scores can be found in the value the buyers receive for the money they spend. Essentially, buyers feel like they are compromising and receiving less when they purchase a hybrid or electric vehicle. This leads to more disappointment, and therefore a lower perceived level of quality.

The Tesla Model 3 was the exception where the vehicle leads over its gas cohorts. While there were quality flaws that have been reported in other studies, its power and pickup and technical innovations reinforced the brand’s image which enhanced its perceived quality for customers.

Mercedes and Subaru each earned three Total Quality Awards, the most for of any single brand. The Mercedes brand image made a key difference, clearly succeeding in balancing the exclusivity and attainability of owning and driving a Mercedes-Benz. This balance helped owners feel a sense of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. Several other brands had two winners each, including BMW, Chevrolet, Dodge, GMC, Honda, Jeep, and Toyota.

Below is the full list of the 2020 Total Quality Award winners and scores:

Strategic Vision is an international consulting and advisory service organization that focuses in helping to understand and predict advocacy, conquest, and loyalty according to their personal values and decision-making structure. Strategic Vision’s 25th annual Total Quality Impact (TQI) report is based on results from the New Vehicle Experience Study® (NVES) surveying over 62,275 new vehicle buyers after the first 90 days of ownership. It incorporates the impact of problems with the vehicle as well as the drivers’ analytical and emotional evaluations of quality. For further information or interview requests please contact Alexander Edwards or Christopher Chaney at (858) 576-7141, or visit our website at

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