J.D. Power: Ford Leads Domestics Over Imports in Quality Study

Ford / Toyota Domestic auto brands, led by a surging Ford, has overtaken perennial imports in J.D. Power and Associate’s newly released 2010 U.S. Initial Quality Study,  an industry benchmark for measuring a vehicle’s propensity for problems within the first 90 days of ownership.
J.D. Power puts the auto industry average for initial quality at 109 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) in 2010 – that’s an increase from 108 PP100 in 2009.
Initial quality for domestic brands has improved by 4 PP100 in 2010 to an average of 108 PP100, slightly better than the initial quality of imports at an average 109 PP100 in 2010.
Not surprisingly, Toyota has sustained a big hit in its quality rating following a massive recall and ongoing litigation tied to unintended acceleration issues that erupted earlier this year. Toyota’s problem count jumped by 16 PP100, moving it from sixth rank position in 2009 to 21st in 2010, according to J.D. Power.
But Toyota’s fall is only part of the shift toward domestics in quality standings. Substantial improvements by many domestic models –  including the Ford Focus, Ram 1500 LD and Buick Enclave – fueled the overall improvement of domestic automakers in 2010.
In particular, initial quality of Ford models has improved steadily for the past nine years.
“Domestic automakers have made impressive strides in steadily improving vehicle quality, particularly since 2007,” said David Sargent, vice president of global vehicle research at J.D. Power and Associates. “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.”
But domestics still have to prove consistency in quality before claiming a victory over import brands, Sargent said.
“Achieving quality comparability is the first half of the battle; convincing consumers-particularly import buyers-that they have done this is the second half,” he said.
Porsche leads the overall name-plate rankings, averaging 83 PP100. Following in the rankings are: Acura (which moves from 14th rank position in 2009 to second in 2010); Mercedes-Benz (which improves from sixth rank position in 2009 to third in 2010); Lexus; and Ford, which moves into the top five for the first time since the inception of the study.
Mini posts the largest improvement in 2010, reducing problems by 32 PP100 from 2009.
See J.D. Power’s news release for all rankings.

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