In times like this, any form of good news is reason enough for auto manufacturers to jump for joy. So when word came out that J.D. Power and Associates, a marketing and consulting company, released their annual study of vehicle quality and gave flowering remarks to Ford, GM, and Chrysler, you could imagine that these three manufacturers pumping their fists in excitement.
With word coming out from the consulting company that the three automakers have made marked improvements on the quality of their vehicles compared to last year, a collective sigh of relief could be heard coming from Detroit.
Yet despite this vote of confidence, the study also revealed that the three local brands have a lot more work to do before it can catch up to its foreign competitors.
The J.D. Power study, which measures mechanical and design problems that show up in the first 90 days of ownership, revealed that Lexus – Toyota’s luxury brand – and Porsche, came out as the top two brands with GM’s Cadillac line bagging third place honors.
The clear-cut winner as the world’s best brand is Toyota, which, incidentally, also overtook GM as the world’s biggest automaker last year. The car giants from Japan came out on top in 10 different vehicle categories, not to mention winning the best production plant in the world for their plant in Japan that makes the Toyota Corolla and the Lexus SC 430.
Nevertheless, the improvements made by the three American brands is a welcome breath of fresh air for all of them, especially after everything that’s happened in the past year, which included fire sales, bankruptcies, and the unfathomable reality of being this close to shutting down.
The study – as well as some of the world’s foremost authorities on the auto industry – stresses that the road to recovery for the three US brands begins with the production of more high-quality cars that people can choose from.
According to Dave Sargent, VP of automotive research at J.D. Power, “there are too many cars and not enough consumers. For any vehicle that is lagging in quality, that’s a difficult position for them to be in.”
For now, it seems that the three US car brands heard the message loud and clear, as evidenced by the improved remarks vetted by the Power study. Whether or not this marks the beginning of their turn around, one thing remains clear: the three automakers still have a lot of work to do to get back to where they were in the past.
But if this Power study is any indication, it’s beginning to look that there may be a silver lining for the Detroit 3 after all.