According to data culled from over 82,000 new-vehicle buyers/lessees, domestic automakers as a group have overtaken their import rivals in the area of initial quality for the first time since the J.D. Power and Associates began its Initial Quality Study in 1987. Power says the benchmark industry average of "problems per 100" (PP100) vehicles actually rose from 108 to 109 during the 2009-2010 interval. However, the index for domestics improved by four points for 2010 -- dipping from 112 to 108 -- while the average import figure rose by one unit, to 109, which also happens to be the 2010 industry average.
The Power IQS rankings reflect buyer assessments of a wide range of both mechanical and design quality perceptions during the first 90 days of ownership. According to David Sargent, vice president of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates, "Domestic automakers have made impressive strides in steadily improving upon initial quality, particularly since 2007. This may mark a key turning point for U.S. brands as they try to win the battle against negative perceptions of their quality. However, there is still a long road ahead, and domestic manufacturers need to prove that they can consistently produce higher quality vehicles than import brands. In addition, domestics need to focus their efforts on convincing consumers -- particularly younger buyers -- that the quality of domestic brands rivals, if not surpasses, that of imports."
On an individual basis, the 2010 J.D. Power and Associates IQS results ranked Porsche at the top of the manufacturer list with an 83 PP100 rating. Acura, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Lincoln, Infiniti and Volvo followed in that order and all bettered or matched the industry average. With its fifth-pace ranking, Ford bested its domestic rivals as well as notched its highest-ever IQS placement. In addition to being the only non-luxury brand to make the top 10, 12 of its products earned a spot among the top three players in the individual segment breakouts. Visit the J.D. Power and Associates for a complete look at the results.