Porsche, Hyundai score big gains in Power quality survey
More startling, however, was Hyundai. The Korean brand - which stunned the automotive world in 2004 by beating Toyota in the study - repeated the feat this year by jumping to the third spot. Jaguar, which has boasted that its strong quality perception lags reality, finished fifth.
The top domestic brand was Cadillac, in the seventh spot.
Overall, domestic, Asian and European brands were scattered equally throughout the quality range. The study measures reported problems per 100 vehicles after 90 days of ownership. About 63,000 consumers were polled.
The Power survey also ranks individual vehicles -- and that's where the Asian brands shone.
In 19 car and truck segments, Asian brands took top quality honors in 14 categories. Eleven of those winners were manufactured by Toyota Motor Corp.
Among the top-three finishers in 11 car segments, 22 were from Asian brands, seven were European and five were from domestic brands. On the light-truck side, in eight segments, 11 top finishers were from Asian brands and 12 were domestics. However, many of the domestic truck winners were in segments in which the Asians don't yet have a full complement of entries, such as full-sized pickups and SUVs.
The domestic automakers were not entirely shut out. In ratings of the top-quality assembly plants worldwide, General Motors' Oshawa No. 2 plant in Ontario was named the top plant in North America. DaimlerChrysler's Windsor, Ontario, plant tied for third with Toyota's Georgetown, Ky., plant.Two of the top three plants in Europe were subcontractors. MagnaSteyr's plant in Graz, Austria, took top honors. Valmet Automotive in Finland, which builds Boxsters for Porsche, took third place.
For this year, J.D. Power recalibrated the survey, with more detailed questions and more questions about new technologies installed in cars.
As a result, the 2006 survey eliminated some of the parity that has appeared in recent years. This year's results showed more problems per 100 vehicles than in past years, although that doesn't necessarily reflect a decline in quality, Power officials said.
Power also split the survey into subcategories, one reflecting product-design issues and another defects and malfunctions.
Brands with the fewest defects and malfunctions include BMW, Chrysler, Hyundai, Lexus, Porsche and Toyota. Brands with the fewest design problems include GMC, Hyundai, Jaguar, Lexus, Nissan and Porsche.
Because the new survey's problem count is not comparable with the old results, Power also conducted a version of the old study so that automakers could track year-over-year progress. Those results will not be made available to the public.
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