Auto quality rankings put Ford ahead of foreigners for first time

A 2010 Ford Mustang Calabrio

Ford finished No. 1 among mass-market brands in J.D. Power reliability, the first time a U.S. automaker finished ahead of foreign automakers in auto quality rankings. Flickr photo.

U.S. automakers finished ahead of imported brands for the first time ever in auto quality rankings for mass-market new cars and trucks released Thursday. Ford Motor Co. ranked No. 1 for quality among mass-market brands while Toyota, usually at or near the top of the heap, fell to 21st in the J.D. Power & Associates car review study considered to be the benchmark of auto quality rankings for U.S. consumers.

J.D. power car reviews

J.D. Power car reviews rank vehicles according to the number of problems reported per 100 vehicles. The Associated Press reports that owners of cars built by U.S. automakers reported fewer problems on average during the first 90 days of ownership than cars and trucks built by foreign automakers. It marks the first time that has happened in the 24 years the industry research group has conducted the annual quality study.

Ford tops auto quality rankings

J.D. Power said Ford, the only U.S. automaker to avoid bankruptcy and a government bailout, showed some of the biggest gains in auto quality rankings among individual brands, moving into the fifth spot overall — the highest place Ford has achieved in the study. Luxury brands captured the top four spots, led by Porsche and followed by Acura, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus. Reuters reports that “the results underscore the progress U.S. automakers have made on closing their long-criticized gap in quality with Asian automakers.” Toyota, which suffered through major safety recalls earlier this year, saw its score drop from sixth to 21st.

GM quality ranking below industry average

In the auto quality rankings, Buick was the only General Motors brand that reported fewer problems than in 2009. Business Week reports that all GM brands finished below the industry average. J.D. Power said that high scoring brands in the auto quality ranking survey do a better job of keeping customers, with owners of cars in the top quarter of the list buying the same brand 59 percent of the time while brands in the bottom quarter retain just 44 percent of  owners.

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