General Motors’ Chevrolet Avalanche and GMC Sierra 1500 full-size pickups lead this year’s Initial Quality Study from J.D. Power and Associates. Both scored an average rating of 81 problems per 100 trucks in the new-owner survey, which measures design-related problems and defects in the first three months of ownership.
Overall, the industry average for initial quality is 109 problems per 100 vehicles in 2010, up one point from 2009.
The Initial Quality Study covers just the first three months of ownership, so it isn’t a comprehensive survey on how cars will hold up over time, but it’s still worth noting. The survey was compiled for owners who bought new cars between November 2009 and February 2010. More than 82,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2010 model-year vehicles were surveyed.
Last year’s full-size class leaders — the Ford F-150 and Toyota Tundra, which each averaged 88 problems per 100 trucks in the 2009 study — went in separate directions in 2010. The F-150 lowered its number of problems to 85 while the Tundra increased to 100.
Toyota was in the middle of multiple recalls over sticky accelerator pedals, floormats and braking when the survey was taken, so that likely played a role in the Tundra’s reversal.
Also worth noting, the Ram 1500 made big strides, improving from 131 to 98.
The Nissan Frontier was the highest-ranked midsize pickup, with a score of 87, followed by Ford’s Ranger and Explorer Sport Trac.
Last year’s midsize class leader, the Honda Ridgeline, took a major step back in quality. Reported problems grew from 81 to 110. In February 2009, Ridgeline production was moved from Honda’s Alliston Auto Plant in Alliston, Ontario, Canada, to Honda's assembly line in Lincoln, Ala.
Ford became the top-rated non-luxury brand for the first time in the study’s history, moving from eighth to fifth place.
[Source: J.D. Power & Associates]