One could argue plausibly that J.D. Power's annual dependability study, which measures the defect rate in 3-year-old vehicles, should be the industry's most important yardstick of quality.
Instead, Power's most highly publicized yardstick is the Initial Quality Study, which measures a vehicle's defects after the first three months of ownership. As a result, flaws such as a too-small cupholder or mediocre fuel economy get counted along with more consequential problems.
The top five brands ranked in the three-year study are Lexus, Porsche, Lincoln, Buick and Cadillac. It's no surprise to see Lexus on top, but the study also is clearly good news for General Motors and Ford. Now, they must figure out how to market that good news to consumers.