In announcing its 14th Annual Vehicle Satisfaction awards, AutoPacific has named the all-new 2010 Ram Heavy Duty and the Dodge Nitro tops in their respective segments.

AutoPacific, a future-oriented automotive marketing and product-consulting firm, said the 2010 Ram Heavy Duty was its top Heavy Duty Pickup, while the Dodge Nitro was the top Mid-Size Sport Utility. The firm’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award is an industry benchmark for measuring how satisfied an owner is with his/her new car or light truck. The study summarizes the results of over 42,000 new vehicle owners.

"The all-new Ram Heavy Duty pickups have earned the industry's top awards, driven in large part by the quality and refinements brought forward from the Ram 1500," said Doug Betts, Senior Vice President - Quality, Chrysler Group LLC. "It's clear that Ram Trucks have become the new benchmarks for the segment.

"We're also proud of Nitro and the Dodge Brand," added Betts. "With customer-oriented packages focused on performance, features and style, Dodge Nitro is a stand-out value in the midsize SUV segment."

The winners must perform well in 48 separate categories that objectively measure the ownership experience, says George Peterson, president of AutoPacific.

“While the auto industry is showing signs of improvement, more than ever before, manufacturers need to be able to differentiate themselves. Proof of satisfied customers is as good as gold,” Patterson said. “We’ve found that more than 25% of new car buyers are positively influenced by owner-based awards like the VSA when deciding on a new car or truck.”