When J.D. Power speaks, Nissan listens.
In May, J.D. Power and Associates' 2005 Initial Quality Study reported that Nissan's Infiniti brand got a lower score than it did in 2004. A frequent complaint: Owners of the Infiniti QX56 said their brakes squeaked.
So Nissan dispatched a SWAT team of engineers to the U.S. operations of brake supplier Robert Bosch Corp. They redesigned a component to deal with the squeal.
The QX56 was "one exception" that dragged down Infiniti's score, says Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan Motor Co.
The plan worked for the Nissan brand last year. After Nissan posted poor scores in the 2004 Power survey, the company sent 200 engineers to scour its Canton, Miss., assembly plant for problems. The plant now builds the Nissan Armada, Quest, Titan and Altima, as well as the Infiniti QX56.
It worked. In this year's study the Nissan brand had 120 reported problems per 100 vehicles after three months of ownership, down from 154 last year.
Ghosn wants more of the same. "It's a good improvement," he says. "It's still not a good result."