have a friend who started working for a Lexus dealership when it was a brand new franchise. He relates that all of the dealers and employees were continuously pounded on the point of the JD Power's customer satisfaction surveys. That is, each dealership, every employee must do any and everything required to make sure they receive the highest ratings possible.
It is my understanding as well that Lexus and shortly there after Toyota allocated vehicles based on these surveys. In other words, if you want to get the highest amount of vehicles allocated per given market area, you'd better have the highest customer satisfaction survey results.
My friend was told that he dealerships gave coupons to the customers for free services, dinners, and merchandise if they would a) complete the survey b) answer with total satisfaction c) contact the dealership if for any reason they could not do a) or b).
Now I do also believe that both Toyota and Lexus make good cars, after all experience and word of mouth lasts way beyond new car ownership surveys. But both these makes have done an excellent job of positioning the expectation of quality in their buyers: "They just don't break .... they last forever .... highest quality ...." etc.
Since dealerships and auto manufacturers are not required to disclose "real" warrantable repairs with part summaries (unless an inquiry from the government for safety recalls) the JD Power surveys are really what are called "manageable perceptions".
Again, don't get me wrong, I think these are good cars with genuinely good "real life" owner satisfactions, but don't talk to the corporate people or the marketing purveyors, instead talk to the techs and shop managers. Ask them how the vehicles fair in the real world.
My 2 cents.
'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
'93 190E 2.6-Wrecked
'91 300E-Went to Ex
'65 911 Coupe (#302580)