American auto brands beat imports for first time in 24 years

08:59, June 18, 2010      

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For the first time in 24 years, domestic auto brands in the United States have defeated import brands with higher initial quality, J.D. Power and Associates said in a study released on Thursday.

Initial quality for domestic brands, which are led by Ford has improved by 4 problems per 100 vehicles(PP100) in 2010 to an average of 108 PP100, which is slightly better than the initial quality of import brands including Japanese and European models, which averages 109 PP100 in 2010, according to the 2010 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS).

Overall, the industry average for initial quality is 109 per PP100 in 2010, increasing slightly from 108 PP100 in 2009, the study said.

"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. "

The Initial Quality Study serves as the industry benchmark for new-vehicle quality measured at 90 days of ownership. It has been used extensively by manufacturers worldwide to help them design and build better vehicles and by consumers to help them in their vehicle purchase decisions.

The Westlake Village, Calif.-based company pointed out that substantial improvements by many domestic models including the Ford Focus, Ram 1500 LD and Buick Enclave have driven the overall improvement of domestic automakers in 2010.

In particular, initial quality of Ford models has improved steadily for the past nine years. Ford Motor Company (including Volvo) has 12 models that rank within the top three in their respective segments in 2010-more than any other corporation. General Motors Company has 10 models that rank within the top three in their segments.

Led by new launches from Ford, Honda, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, initial quality of new models and major redesigns continues to improve in 2010. The all-new Honda Accord Crosstour and the redesigned Ford Mustang, Ford Taurus and Lexus GX 460 each rank highest in initial quality in their respective segments.

The Ford Fusion, Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe and Sedan and Porsche Panamera also launch with notably high initial quality levels, the company said in the study.

More than one-half of all models launched during the 2010 model year perform better than their respective segment averages, which is different from the historical trend that newly launched models have incurred substantially more quality problems than carryover models, the company said.

Furthermore, 12 all-new and redesigned models rank within the top three in their respective segments. Meanwhile, initial quality of carryover and freshened models has declined for the 2010 model year.



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