DETROIT - General Motors did not dominate the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study released Thursday, May 30. Nor did it show the biggest gain in eliminating new-car defects.
But it did a great job of stealing the buzz. GM mounted a vigorous public relations offensive to spin news coverage its way.
GM officials began dropping hints about the results in the weeks before the release. Then the automaker issued a press release and scheduled a telephone press conference shortly after the release of the Power numbers Thursday afternoon.
Friday's stories included plenty of mention that GM finished third among multiline manufacturers, beating Nissan North America Inc., and that several GM cars - such as the Chevrolet Malibu, Buick LeSabre and Chevrolet Corvette - ranked best in their segments.
Here are a few sample headlines:
Actually, GM finished fourth among multiline automakers. Most accounts skipped over BMW AG, which also produces Mini and Rolls Royce/Bentley.
In general, news reports paid less attention to the performance of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., which repeated as overall winner. American Honda Motor Co. Inc., which cut defects by 20 percent to retain second place, drew little notice, as did Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler, which also passed Nissan.
And there was little mention of an ominous trend for GM: Toyota and Lexus light trucks took first place in six of seven categories.