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Luxury Institute Survey: Wealthy Rate Lexus #1 in Customer Experience

NEW YORK--Jan. 19, 2006--Lexus trounced the competition as the luxury automobile brand that delivers "the best customer experience" in a new Luxury Customer Experience Index survey (LCEI) from New York- based Luxury Institute ( Porsche came in second, Acura was a close third. Notably absent from the top four were Mercedes and BMW, previously ranked in the top three in the Luxury Institute's Brand Status Index surveys.

Wealthy customers rated the top 11 luxury automobile brands based on their direct individual experiences. These included: Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Jaguar, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes, Porsche and Volvo.

The Luxury Institute surveyed a nationally representative sample of some 2,100 households with a minimum of $200,000 gross annual income and net worth of $750,000+ (including home equity).

"Lexus won by a wide margin, achieving a rating of 88 vs. 83 for Porsche and 82 for Acura, said Milton Pedraza, CEO, Luxury Institute. "Lexus customers rated it most worthy of a price premium by a five point margin. Lexus also posted the highest ratings in the critical Customer Retention and Customer Referral indexes."

Lexus won every category of Customer Experience Drivers, including brand effectiveness, brand attitude, and top scores in "most enthusiastic, most polite and most trustworthy representatives." Lexus overwhelmed the competition on brand environment (dealerships). Acura had the lowest incidence of reported problems although its problem resolution scores were below most competitors.

"Alarms should be going off in Germany," said Pedraza. "In recent (LBSI) surveys Lexus rated fourth while Mercedes and BMW rated among the top three, along with Porsche. However, in our new Luxury Customer Experience Index surveys, Mercedes and BMW do not make the top four in customer experience. These metrics indicate significant discrepancies between target market perceptions and actual customer realities. Interestingly, in our brand reputation surveys Lexus rated by far the up-and-comer, and with its run-away customer experience rating among the wealthy, Lexus has arrived."

The Luxury Institute

The Luxury Institute, the research institution focused solely on the top 10 percent of America's wealthy, provides proprietary publications and research. Publications include the monthly Wealth Report, Luxury Brand Status Index surveys, Luxury Best Practices surveys and the Luxury Consumer Experience Index surveys.