General Motors leads J.D. Power initial quality survey

DETROIT, June 19 Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:00pm EDT

DETROIT, June 19 (Reuters) - General Motors Co. vehicles won eight awards in the annual J.D. Power & Associates survey of initial quality, a marked improvement since the largest American automaker turned itself around after a 2009 bankruptcy.

GM cars and trucks won eight top prizes as the best vehicles in their segments of the U.S. auto market.

Chevrolet, which accounts for 71 percent of General Motors' U.S. sales, jumped 10 spots to No. 5 on J.D. Power's initial quality ratings of new vehicles for 33 brands, the marketing information consultancy said on Wednesday.

David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power, said GM has "done an outstanding job" of working to change the long-held perception that its products were of inferior quality.

"GM's always been good at improving a vehicle once it's come to market," Sargent said in an interview. "What they're also showing to be pretty good at now is launching vehicles with pretty good quality too."

In the past, Sargent said GM often introduced new products fraught with problems and then improved those models over time.

The J.D. Power survey is in its 27th year. This was the first year that participants could fill out surveys online regarding their experiences in the first 90 days of new-vehicle ownership.

The best showing, as measured in fewer reported problems per 100 vehicles, by brand was Porsche, the German luxury sports car maker, followed by GM's GMC brand, Toyota Motor Corp.'s luxury Lexus brand, Nissan Motor Co.'s Infiniti luxury brand and Chevrolet.

GMC and Chevrolet were the top-rated non-luxury brands in the survey. GMC also jumped 10 spots in the J.D. Power initial quality ratings.

The top 10 was rounded out by Honda Motor Co.'s luxury brand Acura, Tata Motor's luxury Jaguar brand, and Hyundai Motor Co..

As in past surveys, J.D. Power selects the participants seeking a wide national representation of consumers.

This year's survey was updated to add more consumer feedback on the quality of new technologies, including navigation, lane-departure, telephone, information-entertainment and voice-activated systems.

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