DETROIT -- Ford and Hyundai have improved the most in perceived quality among volume brands in the past four years, but Honda has the top score, according to a study today that measures consumers' perception of brand quality.
ALG, the TrueCar Inc. subsidiary that sets residual values for the auto industry, says Ford's quality perception has risen 37 percent to a score of 70.5 on a 100-point scale since the inaugural study in spring of 2008. Hyundai's score jumped 25 percent to 62.3 during the period.
Honda continued to lead volume brands in this spring's study with a score of 81.3. It also was No. 1 the last time the study was conducted in 2010.
Toyota finished second in this year's study at 80.1 -- and showed the greatest one-year improvement of 6.4 points -- while Subaru finished third with 71.1. The industry average is 59.1.
Scion, 56.9; Kia, 52.4; Chrysler, 49.1; Dodge, 48.8; and Fiat, 44.5; improved since a year ago, but are below average.
Kia's perceived quality has climbed over the past four years. The Korean marque ranked last of the brands in the inaugural study that remain today.
The Perceived Quality Study used data from 3,000 U.S. consumers and was compiled in late April. The semiannual study ranks volume brands and luxury brands.
"Changing the perception of quality is a long-term proposition," Eric Lyman, ALG's vice president of residual value solutions, said in a statement. "Consumers recognize the product improvements made by Ford and Hyundai. Honda and Toyota are still widely recognized as being the quality leaders, but as more consumers increasingly consider brands like Subaru, Ford and Hyundai, that perception gap erodes."
Lexus, 85.4, paces luxury brands for the second straight study while three German brands -- Mercedes, 82.9; BMW, 81.5; and Porsche, 80 -- round out the top four.
ALG found that owners are more likely to rate their brands higher than other brands. In this spring's study, brand owners scored their brands 17 percent higher than other brands.
The study said: "The difference between owner and non-owner perception can give clues to the future direction of brand perception, as owners may have more intimate knowledge of a make's quality."