Initial quality in the automotive industry has improved significantly in 2008, with substantial gains demonstrated by nearly three-fourths of the 36 ranked nameplates, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Initial Quality Study recently released.
Overall quality improves to 118 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) in 2008, down from 125 PP100 in 2007.
The study finds that 86 percent of the overall improvement is due to advances in eliminating defects and malfunctions. Minimizing design problems remains a major challenge for the industry, particularly since new technology, such as navigation and entertainment devices, is becoming increasingly common in today's new vehicles.
The study also finds that new-vehicle sales patterns in 2008 have shifted away from the largest models and toward smaller models.
Honda models capture three segment awards -- more than any other nameplate in the 2008 study -- for the Civic, CR-V and Fit.
Garnering two segment awards each are:
- Chevrolet (Malibu and Silverado LD)
- Dodge (Dakota and Durango)
- Infiniti (EX-Series and M-Series)
- Lexus (LS and RX)
- Mercedes-Benz (CLK-Class and E-Class).
The Porsche 911 has the fewest quality problems in the industry, with just 67 problems per 100 vehicles. Also receiving segment awards are the Ford E-Series, Lincoln Navigator, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Pontiac Grand Prix Sedan and Toyota Sequoia.
For a third consecutive year, Porsche tops the overall nameplate rankings, averaging 87 PP100. Following in the rankings are Infiniti (which improves from ninth rank position in 2007), Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and
Toyota, respectively. Audi posts the largest improvement in ranking, moving from 26th place in 2007 to 10th in 2008.
The Mercedes-Benz assembly plant in Sindelfingen, Germany, receives the Platinum Plant Quality Award for producing vehicles yielding the fewest defects and malfunctions. Averaging just 33 PP100, the plant produces the Mercedes-Benz CL-Class, CLS-Class, E-Class Sedan, E-Class Wagon and S-Class. Plant awards are based solely on defect and malfunction counts.
Among North and South American plants, the Toyota plant in Baja California, Mexico, which produces the Toyota Tacoma, achieves the Gold Plant Quality Award.
Find more detailed findings on new-vehicle quality performance as well as model photos and specs by visiting www.JDPower.com.