June 17, 2004 Toyota is First Non-German Nameplate to Achieve Top-3 Status in Germany by Trevor Hofmann / American Auto Press Toyota Outpaces Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi to Take Third Place in Prestigious German Survey With its recent high ratings in Germany, Toyota is proving that its nameplate is synonymous with top-notch quality, no matter the country. While the European Corolla looks nothing like the version sold in North America, its good name holds similar respect among car buyers. This is the first time a non-German nameplate has achieved top-3 placement in this very critical survey. Recognize this SUV? It's a Toyota Land Cruiser sold in North America as the Lexus GX 470. Toyota continues to dominate in customer satisfaction, while also leading in overall technology. This Previa minivan is not directly related to the model of the same name once sold in North America. The Yaris, available in Canada as the Echo Hatchback but not in the U.S., is just one of the unique cars that Toyota sells in Europe only. This Yaris Verso model is not available in North America. (Photos: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.) Some languages are universal. No matter what country Toyota is sold in, the nameplate is synonymous with top-notch quality. Case in point: Toyota recently charged up from fifth place overall in Germany's ADAC AutoMarxX report to third, with the third party survey organization stating its performance as "nothing short of a minor sensation." ADAC AutoMarxX, considered one of the most rigorous surveys in Germany, analyzed brand image, sales performance, customer satisfaction, vehicle quality, technology and innovation and considerably more criteria to arrive at their decision. The Center for Automotive Research (CAR) at the Advanced Technical College in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, working on behalf of the German auto club ADAC acquires and analyzes data at six month intervals, and then hands over the information to ADAC which compiles the results into a total of 60 unique analytical charts. The December 2003 survey hinted at this month's results, by showing Toyota coming close to nudging Volkswagen from its fifth place position in a race for fourth overall. In a mere six months the Japanese brand has outpaced Porsche, little doubt because of initial quality issues over its Cayenne SUV, and Audi, nabbing its third place ranking. Only BMW and Mercedes-Benz are left to pass, and some market analysts say it is only a matter of time before Toyota does just that. It will come as a shock to some Germans that Toyota has had such great success, as this is the first time a non-German nameplate has achieved top-3 placement in this very critical survey. And just what are the brand's strengths? ADAC-motorwelt magazine, the auto club's member publication, states Toyota continues to dominate in customer satisfaction, while also leading in overall technology, outpacing Mercedes-Benz and Honda. In a less tangible result, Toyota is also top of the charts in brand trend strengths. The thorough survey also notes major improvements in terms of the Japanese automaker's investment in advertising, local market sales, overall quality of product, and continued economic strength. The German market, along with the rest of Europe, features some very unique products such as the Yaris, available in Canada as the Echo Hatchback but not in the U.S., Yaris Verso, a crossover wagon, a totally unique Toyota Corolla and Toyota Corolla Verso, Avensis and Avensis Verso, Previa minivan, nothing like the Previa that was once offered in North America, HiLux compact pickup truck in rear- and four-wheel drive packages, Hiace cargo van and Land Cruiser, a version of which is sold in North America as the Lexus GX 470. European markets also feature models well known to North Americans, particularly the Toyota Camry, Celica, RAV4, and Prius, while the MR2 Roadster and Land Cruiser 100 are only sold in the U.S., the latter just dubbed the Land Cruiser. Toyota of Germany also offers a special TS upgrade for the Yaris hatchback, Corolla hatchback and Celica sports coupe. No matter how the Japanese brand packages its cars, trucks and sport utilities, they will without doubt continue to outperform the majority of rivals in all markets.