Toyota Lexus RX, made at Toyota’s Cambridge, Ont. plant.
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: Toyota’s Cambridge, Ont. plant has scored a gold in the 2010 J.D. Power automotive quality awards, and three Canadian-made vehicles made into the top three of their segments.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc.’s (TMMC’s) Cambridge South plant, the only Toyota plant outside of Japan making the Lexus RX, won the North/South America region award for averaging just 30 problems per 100 vehicles, according to the annual Initial Quality Study by J.D. Power and Associates, a global marketing information company.
“We are pleased with the strong performance of our vehicles, despite recent Toyota and Lexus recalls which we expected would influence specific vehicle rankings,” said Yoichi Tomihara, president and CEO of Toyota Canada Inc., in a statement.
The study is based on responses from 82,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2010 model-year vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. It captures problems that are design-related, and based on defects and malfunctions.
Four Canadian-made vehicle models made it into the top three of their segments. The Dodge Challenger made at Chrysler’s Brampton, Ont., plant was second among midsize sporty cars; the Dodge Grand Caravan produced at Chrysler’s Windsor, Ont. plant was third in the minivan category; the Ford Edge made in Oakville, Ont. was third in the midsize crossover/SUV segment; and the Honda Civic made at Honda Canada’s Alliston 1, Ont. plant was second in the compact car segment.
“The success of Toyota’s Cambridge South plant in the 2010 IQS, as well as that of high-performing models built in Canadian plants, is a testament to the skill and dedication of the Ontario communities that continue to deliver high-quality vehicles to the North American market,” said Ryan Robinson, automotive practice leader of J.D. Power and Associates Canadian operations.
The Daimler assembly plant in East London, South Africa, received the Platinum Plant Quality Award for producing vehicles yielding the fewest defects and malfunctions. The plant, which averages just 28 problems per 100, produces the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
In the Asia Pacific region, Toyota Motor Corp.’s Kyushu 2 plant in Japan, which produces the Lexus ES, IS and RX, received the Gold Plant Quality Award.
Overall, this year’s industry average for initial quality is 109 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), increasing slightly from 108 PP100 in 2009. However, initial quality for US brands as a whole has improved by 4 PP100 to an average of 108: slightly better than the initial quality of import brands, which averaged 109 PP100.
This is the first time in the 24 years since the study was launched that US auto brands have ranked higher than import brands.
J.D. Power cited substantial improvements by the Ford Focus, Ram 1500 LD and Buick Enclave for driving domestic brands to surpass the imports.
Ford was noted as a standout, showing steady improvement over a none-year period and having 12 models within the top three of their segments, more than any other automaker. General Motors had 10 models within the top three of their segments.
“Domestic automakers have made impressive strides in steadily improving vehicle quality, particularly since 2007,” said David Sargent, vice-president of global vehicle research at J.D. Power, based in Westlake Village, Calif. “However, there is still a long road ahead, and domestic manufacturers need to consistently prove to consumers that they can produce models with quality that equals or beats that of the import brands.”
Here are some 2010 US IQS ranking highlights:
• Porsche topped the rankings with 83 PP100.
• Acura was second with 86 PP100, moving from 14th position in 2009.
• Mercedes-Benz’s 87 PP100 improving from sixth rank position last year.
• Lexus’s 88 PP100 and Ford’s 93 PP100 moved both into the top five for the first time since the inception of the study.
• MINI posted the largest improvement in 2010, reducing problems by 32 PP100 from 2009.
• Toyota’s problem count increased by 16 PP100, moving it from sixth rank position in 2009 to 21st in 2010.