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Ford leads surge in quality

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Ford leads surge in quality

A first: Detroit 3 edge out foreign rivals in survey



With Ford leading the way, the Detroit Three have made an unprecedented leap in quality.

Domestic brands, as a group, closed the quality gap with foreign brands for the first time since J.D. Power and Associates began tracking the initial quality of new vehicles 24 years ago. Quality is a big selling point for consumers shopping for new cars.

Excluding luxury makes, Ford was the No. 1 brand in this year's study, which measured 228 potential problems during the first three months of ownership of 2010 model-year vehicles. Ford, including Volvo, had 12 models rank in the top three in their segments -- more than other automakers.

The Toyota brand, beset by a recall crisis, plummeted from its tie at sixth place last year to 21st -- a decline that contributed to the shift in performance between Detroit and its rivals.

General Motors, which launched five new models for 2010, saw quality scores decline for three of its four brands. Still, GM had 10 models in the top vehicle rankings.

Chrysler, with its four brands all below average, showed progress. The Ram 1500 pickup showed one of the strongest industry improvements.

Collectively, Detroit-based brands narrowly edged out foreign rivals in a milestone performance, said David Sargent, J.D. Power's vice president of global vehicle research. But he stopped short of calling this a turning point. "To say that the domestics are consistently outperforming the imports," Sargent said, "we would need to see several more years of the domestics being ahead."



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