| DETROIT, June 18
DETROIT, June 18 General Motors Co on
Wednesday received more awards for initial quality from J.D.
Power than any other automaker in the U.S. market, as its chief
executive officer was grilled by a U.S. congressional committee
about safety issues.
It was the second year in a row that GM had the most models
named with the best initial quality in the annual J.D. Power
South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co took five awards
and was the best overall mass-market brand in the survey,
jumping to fourth place from 10th a year ago.
The top three brand's in the study that asks consumers to
report problems in the first 90 days of new-vehicle ownership,
were Volkswagen's luxury brand Porsche (VOWG_p.DE>, Tata Motor's
Jaguar and Toyota Motor Corp's Lexus
Among GM models to win were Malibu for best midsize sedan,
GMC Terrain for compact SUV, and Chevrolet Suburban and GMC
Yukon for large SUV.
Dave Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D.
Power, said it was a turnabout from years when U.S. automakers
lagged far behind Toyota and Honda Motor Co as
the Japanese automakers dominated the study, now in its 28th
year. Toyota and Honda combined each received one top award for
Overall, Honda and Toyota are still highly regarded by
new-vehicle owners. The study found the Toyota brand as fifth
among 32 brands, and Honda eighth.
GM's mass-market Chevrolet brand was sixth.
Meanwhile GM CEO Mary Barra will appear before the U.S.
House Energy and Commerce Committee to face intense questioning
about whether the automaker has a grip on the safety crisis that
has enveloped it this year.
The No. 1 U.S. automaker has come under fire from the
Justice Department, lawmakers and other authorities probing why
it waited more than a decade to recall 2.6 million cars with an
ignition-switch flaw that has been tied to at least 13 deaths.
NEVER BEEN BETTER
Sargent said the overall quality of cars sold in the United
States has never been better. Lower-priced cars from
manufacturers like Hyundai are right up there in terms of
initial quality with expensive models from Porsche and Jaguar,
Some brands fell in the rankings, in large part because of
newly launched models that have yet to work out bugs in new
technology, such as voice recognition, Bluetooth pairing and
auto systems, he said.
Ford Motor Co, which in recent years fell in the
rankings because of problems with information-entertainment
systems, is no longer below the industry average in the J.D.
"Ford worked through those problems," said Sargent, and as
an early adopter in bringing new technology into vehicles,
helped the quality of information-entertainment systems among
In general, Sargent said, consumers have more difficulty
overcoming design problems than defects. A defect can be fixed
at a local dealership, while design problems are systemic and
often are not fixed until a new model year or new generation for
that particular model.
Finishing at the bottom of the study was Fiat Chrysler
Automobile's Fiat brand, and next-to-last was Jeep, a
key brand for Fiat-Chrysler.
Vehicles in the study were all from the 2014 model year.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)