GM trucks sweep Ford’s F-Series, propel automaker to top of J.D. Power’s automaker initial quality rankings

Updated Jun 21, 2013
A 2013 Chevy SilveradoA 2013 Chevy Silverado

In a survey ranking customer satisfaction within the first 90 days of ownership, J.D. Power has tapped General Motors as the top major automaker, according to a report from the Detroit Free Press. 

J.D. Power asks new vehicle owners how happy they are with their purchase and asks them to identify problems, including any ways in which the car or truck does not function properly or things they do not like about it. The rankings are ordered by least number of problems per 100 vehicles.

J.D. Power’s initial quality rankings are widely used by potential vehicle buyers as they make their decisions. All of GM’s brands finished above the industry average, and J.D. Power reports that eight GM models received awards. The closest competitor only had three.

Customer satisfaction with GM trucks was apparent with the GMC brand finishing above all of the automaker’s other brands with 90 problems per 100. GMC finished second among all brands finishing only behind Porsche, representing a big jump from last year’s ninth-place finish.

GM trucks actually swept top competitor Ford’s F-Series in the top three spots of both the large pickup and heavy-duty pickup categories in the rankings. However, GM’s truck rankings (and that of the Impala) were likely boosted due to the fact that only 2013 models are available. Because of those models are nearing the end of their lifecycle, assembly workers have had longer to familiarize themselves with the build process and many kinks in the build have been worked out.

Chevrolet was the fifth overall brand with 97 problems per 100, while Cadillac and Buick finished 14th and 15th with 108 and 109 problems per 100, respectively.

What’s interesting about the survey is that two-thirds of all reported problems were issues customers had with design—particularly with the technology automakers have implemented in their audio, navigation and information systems.

And it has nothing to do with age or unfamiliarity with gadgets: younger buyers thought these new touchscreen infotainment systems were as bad as the older buyers did.

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It was because of Ford’s MyTouch infotainment system that the automaker finished seventh from the bottom of the rankings—one spot lower than the company finished last year. MyTouch is now installed on 80 percent of Ford’s new vehicles.

However, Ford says its been happy with the feedback on MyTouch that it has received through direct communication with its customers.