2013 JD Power Initial Quality Survey Results – GM Is Rising, Ford Is Falling Fast, and Toyota is Still Great
JD Power’s Initial Quality Survey is an excellent tool for evaluating the relative quality of a manufacturer’s products, especially if you look at the data they generate over a period of time.
For 2013, the results are in, and the big winner is GM, as both the GMC and Chevy brands finished with above-average quality. The big loser? Ford, which finished near the back of the pack…and who seems to have a growing quality problem.
Toyota, of course, maintained their record of above-average quality.
Historical Performance Is Key
It’s folly to look at one year of JD Power Quality Study results and form a conclusion. New models can throw off a brand’s rating pretty dramatically, especially if that brand has a limited line-up (which is what happened to Scion and Fiat this year, the lowest ranked brands on the 2013 survey).
However, if you take the time to evaluate a manufacturer’s performance over a period of years, you develop a good understanding of the manufacturer’s direction: are they improving, declining, or simply maintaining?
Looking at the results for the last 5 years:
- 2009 JD Power Initial Quality Survey
- 2010 JD Power Initial Quality Survey
- 2011 JD Power Initial Quality Survey
- 2012 JD Power Initial Quality Survey
- 2013 JD Power Initial Quality Survey
We see the following trends:
- Toyota is trending upwards. Since they’ve been above-average in 4 out of 5 years, we have pretty strong evidence that Toyota quality is universally excellent.
- Ford is trending downwards. They’ve brought out a lot of new products over the last 3 years – and their ratings have taken a hit because of the MyFordTouch debacle – but this clear negative quality trend should give Ford truck buyers pause.
- GM quality is quickly trending upwards. Considering that GMC was the 2nd best brand in the 2013 survey (and that Chevy placed just ahead of Toyota), it seems likely that things have changed for the better at GM. Having said that, many of GM’s products are old, and older products tend to have higher quality…it will be interesting to see what happens to GMs ratings next year.
- Ram quality is trending slightly upwards, but still below-average. No surprises here, Chrysler and quality are rarely mentioned in the same sentence.
- Nissan quality is falling nearly as fast as Ford quality, at least according to the linear regression I did. I’m thinking their data is too noisy to trend.
- Industry quality is steady…if you can build a vehicle with fewer than 112 problems per 100 copies, you’re going to do good on JD Power’s Initial Quality Survey.
I’ve plotted each truck brand’s problem’s per 100 vehicles (PP100) rating over the last 5 years of data below, as well as the industry average, and then created trend lines for each brand via linear regression.
NOTE: I’m averaging the rating for GMC and Chevy in the graph above, as I just don’t think it’s fair to consider these brands separately when they’re carbon copies of one another.
Suffice to say, the JD Power data tells us that Toyota is always a safe bet, GM quality is officially above-average, and Ford quality is on a dangerous path towards bad. I must admit I wouldn’t have predicted Ford’s poor performance on initial quality, but the data is pretty clear. As for Nissan and Ram, there’s nothing to be proud of here…which is why their trucks are probably so inexpensive.
Comments? Ford seems like they’re in a bit of trouble here, no?
Filed Under: Auto News