Detroit's Big Three makers made huge strides in quality, according to the latest J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey, but the single highest-quality product was the Lexus LX sport-utility vehicle.
Despite distracting financial problems, Detroit’s Big Three automakers showed a substantial improvement in off-the-assembly-line quality, according to the latest Initial Quality Survey by automotive gurus J.D. Power and Associates.
Chrysler, Ford and General Motors’ various brands scored a collective 10% improvement on the closely-watched 2009 IQS, though the industry, as a whole, experienced significant improvements. That means that while the so-called quality gap is closing, imports once again retain the lead.
Among the 37 brands included in the yearly quality report, long-dominant Lexus again took the number one spot with an average of just 84 problems reported per 100 vehicles, (or 84 PP100). Porsche, which had led the list for the last two years, slipped into the number two spot, while Cadillac jumped from 10th to 3rd. Significantly, the Korean maker, Hyundai, surged to the 4th position, a major gain for a manufacturer long relegated to the bottom end of the quality charts.
The industry average, for 2009, came to 108 problems – down from 118, last year – which works out to just slightly more than one per vehicle, though Mini, the lowest-ranked maker, suffered from 165 PP100.
“It’s fair to say that new vehicle quality is better than it’s ever been,” said David Sargent, JDPA’s vice president of automotive research, “in terms of the absence of problems.”
Notably, four Detroit brands – Cadillac, Ford, Chevrolet and Mercury – ranked above the industry average. And Power officials reported that on the whole, the Big Three “outpaced (the) industry-wide improvement” in quality.
“Even in the face of unprecedented challenges, the Detroit automakers are keeping their focus on designing and building high-quality vehicles, which is a precondition for long-term success,” noted Sargent.