JD Power: U.S. Cars Now Beat Imports in Quality – Barely

For the first time ever, U.S. cars as a whole beat out imports for quality.

For the first time in the 24-year history of the J.D. Power Initial quality survey, owners of U.S. cars reported fewer overall problems than buyers of imports during the first 90 days of ownership.

“Domestic automakers have made impressive strides in steadily improving vehicle quality,” said David Sargent, J.D. Power’s vice president of global research.

According to J.D. Power, Ford had the biggest increase in quality and now occupies fifth place in overall quality of the 33 brands surveyed.

Toyota’s quality ranking went from sixth in 2009 to 21st in 2010. The dubious distinction of having the lowest overall quality went to Land Rover.

Quality is ranked by a survey measuring the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles. U.S. manufacturer’s beat the imports – but not by much.

From the J.D. Power press release:

“The industry average for initial quality is 109 problems per 100 vehicles in 2010, increasing slightly from 108 in 2009. However, initial quality for domestic brands as a whole has improved by 4 problems per 100 vehicles in 2010 to an average of 108 – slightly better than the initial quality of import brands, which averages 109 problems per 100 in 2010.”

Ford had 93 problems per 100 vehicles. Land Rover had 170.

While the quality of American cars exceeded that of imports overall, the specific brands that led Ford on the quality list are all imports: Porsche in the top spot, followed by Acura, Mercedes and Lexus.

Thirty-three car makers were ranked for overall quality. Here are the rankings of other American brands:

  • Lincoln: 8
  • Cadillac: 13
  • Chevrolet: 14
  • Mercury: 17
  • Buick: 18
  • Chrysler: 23
  • GMC: 25
  • Jeep: 27
  • Dodge: 28

You can read more about it in this article from the Associated Press at MSNBC.

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