Cars made by U.S. automakers topped imports in quality ratings for the first time, according to J.D. Power, confirming something that the not-so-Big Three have been saying for several years, that American-made cars are as good if not better than imports.
It appears Ford is responsible for pushing domestics past imports. Ford was largely the one U.S. automaker to not receive bailout money from U.S. taxpayers. GM also contributed to the better perception of domestic, with its Buick Enclave model.
An excerpt from a J.D. Power press release:
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 17 June 2010 - Domestic auto brands, as a whole, have demonstrated higher initial quality than import brands for the first time, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS) released today. The study has been conducted annually for the past 24 years...
...Substantial improvements by many domestic models-including the Ford Focus, Ram 1500 LD and Buick Enclave-drive the overall improvement of domestic automakers in 2010. In particular, initial quality of Ford models has improved steadily for the past nine years. In addition, as a corporation, 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.
Initial quality performance demonstrated by U.S. brands in 2010 contrasts sharply with consumer sentiment from one year ago. According to data collected by the J.D. Power Web Intelligence Division between May and July 2009, much of the online consumer discussion about automotive quality centered around the difficulties U.S. automakers were facing, and perceptions that these problems were largely caused by poor product quality.
"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. However, there is still a long road ahead, and domestic manufacturers need to consistently prove to consumers that they can produce models with quality that equals or beats that of the import brands. Achieving quality comparability is the first half of the battle; convincing consumers-particularly import buyers-that they have done this is the second half."