SHANGHAI -- China's domestic automakers are building better vehicles and will match the quality of foreign brands in China within five years, according to J.D. Power and Associates.
In a study released at the Automotive News China Conference, Jacob George, vice president of China operations for J.D. Power Asia Pacific, said Chinese consumers are driving the trend.
For Chinese consumers, quality has replaced price as a leading factor in vehicle purchase decisions.
Ten years ago, domestic Chinese brands had 396 more problems per 100 vehicles than foreign brands had. That gap is now just 89, George said.
The gap in real quality between Chinese and international brands will close by 2015, but "the definition of quality in China is expanding to include perceived quality," George said. In perceived quality, "the Chinese will still take two or three generations" to bridge the gap with international rivals, he said.
J.D. Power's Chinese consumer data show that customers in China are increasingly concerned about interior seating materials, road noise, audio systems and the performance and sound of the engine in the vehicles they buy.
George also said that China-built vehicles are moving closer to matching U.S. average initial quality surveys and will be on par by 2016.
The study is based on vehicle ownership within the first three to six months.
George said J.D. Power is working on research that collects data over three-year terms.