First Time Ever: Domestics Lead Imports in J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

2010 GMC Sierra 1500

Are U.S. automakers ready to crush the imports?

J.D. Power and Associates has released the results of its 2010 Initial Quality Study (IQS), with Porsche taking the top spot away from last year’s winner, Lexus.

The real news here, though, is that domestic brands demonstrated higher initial quality than import brands for the first time in the 24-year history of the IQS.

The study ranks vehicles according to the number of problems reported per 100 vehicles. The overall average for the industry was 109 problems, with U.S. automakers scoring an average of 108 problems, while foreign companies posted 109.

So what’s going on here… are U.S. brands getting better, or is import quality sagging?

Probably a little bit of both. One thing for sure, domestic brands are finally beginning to dig out of the black hole of negative perception that has plagued them for years.

The domestics have seemingly always lagged behind foreign brands like Toyota and Honda, which many believe produce higher quality vehicles than General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler.

But J.D. Power said Ford showed some of the biggest gains in quality among all brands, moving into the fifth spot. Toyota, which suffered through huge safety recalls earlier this year, sank from seventh place in 2009 to 21st this year. Ford’s Lincoln brand is also in the top 10.

David Sargent, vice president of global vehicle research at J.D. Power and Associates, said,

Domestic automakers have made impressive strides in steadily improving vehicle quality, particularly since 2007. This year may mark a key turning point for U.S. brands as they continue to fight the battle against lingering negative perceptions of their quality.

Out of J.D. Power’s 20 vehicle segments, Ford and GM vehicles each won awards in six of them. Chrysler vehicles won awards in three segments.

I think once the effects of Toyota’s mass recalls filter out, the imports will rise again. But they’ll face stiffer competition from U.S. automakers than ever before. What do you think?

-tgriffith

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1 Comment

  1. Right on, Big Three! Toyota’s recalls hurt it a lot this year, but the company’s culture and approach definitely seem to have changed a lot since the days when it was obsessed with quality, and it will take time to return to that focus. Ford at least seems to be making some truly great cars these days, and I think if all three domestic makers maintain their renewed focus on quality, they could keep beating the imports.

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