This year's J.D. Power and Associates survey on initial quality shows great strides for much of the industry.
The quality gap between the best and the worst continues to narrow. Toyota and Honda are still above the rest of the field, but a mere 26 problems per 100 vehicles separates the best, Toyota, from the industry average. That translates into one problem in the first 90 days of ownership for every four new vehicles.
When margins are that slim, other factors -- design, perceived value, a knack for delighting customers -- will count for more in a consumer's decision to buy.