Fiat Panda – J.D. Power and Associates Best in Class

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A prize-giving ceremony for the Fiat Panda took place yesterday at Arnold Chatz in Hyde Park, Johannesburg. Based on the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 South Africa Customer Satisfaction Index study, the Panda was ranked number one in its category, achieving a CSI score of 82,6 per cent and performing better than all the other models in the Lower Compact class.

Giorgio Gorelli, Managing Director of Fiat Group Automobiles SA, together with the Chairman of the Fiat Dealer Council, Mr. Derik Scorer, accepted the trophy from Brian Walters, the UK-based Vice-President for J.D. Power and Associates.

Mr Gorelli said: “I’m ecstatic that a product like Panda, which has received international recognition including the 2004 European Car of the Year title, is now also being rewarded for excellence in South Africa.

Of significance is the fact that in the areas of mechanical reliability and ownership costs, the Panda was ahead of its rivals. This result underlines the great strides that we, together with the dealer network, have made to deliver a customer experience that really meets customer expectations.

Panda has proved to be a winner not only on quality and reliability. It’s also a car with a great attention to detail and offers an extremely low cost of maintenance, thanks to a dealer network that has taken positive steps to ensure competitive service, parts pricing and availability to its customers.

As representative of the Fiat network, Derik Scorer added that the quality standards and training in technical and service areas that dealership staff have been exposed to in the past few years, is really paying off in terms of Customer Satisfaction.

“This prestigious award is reason to be proud and will no doubt inspire us to make ongoing improvements,” Scorer said.

About J.D. Powers and Associates 2007 CSI study

Now in its fourth year, the independent CSI study is a comprehensive measurement of customer satisfaction after 10 to 21 months of ownership that covers 77 attributes grouped in four factors (the importance of each factor is shown as a percentage): vehicle quality and reliability (32%); vehicle appeal (29%)—which includes performance, design, comfort, styling and features; dealership service satisfaction (19%); and cost of ownership (20%)—which includes fuel consumption, insurance and cost of service/repair. Importance weights are based on survey responses from vehicle owners, thus reflecting what is more important to motorists in South Africa. CSI performance is reported as an index score based on a 1,000-point scale, with a higher CSI score indicating a more satisfying ownership experience.