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GM improves initial quality while Ford languishes

GM was the big winner of this year\'s J.D. Power Initial Quality Study.

General Motors showed the strongest improvement of any automaker in the 2013 edition of J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, while electronics issues continued to dog cross-town rival Ford.

Redesigned for 2013, the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study now focuses on design-related issues reported during the first 90 days of ownership, allowing the annual survey to keep better tabs on problems related to new technologies and features. The survey, now in its 27th year, has also been revised to allow for more detailed feedback from vehicle owners.

Although General Motors didn't top this year's survey - that honor went to Porsche with 80 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) - the Detroit automaker had two brands, GMC (90 PP100)and Chevrolet (97 PP100), finish in the top five nameplate rankings. GM also took home eight top-model awards, the most of any automaker in the survey.

"GM has the best quality of any corporation in the study, the first time it's been on top," David Sargent, Power vice president of global automotive and the study's author, told Automotive News. "And GMC and Chevrolet have never finished in the top five before."

All of GM's brands finished above the industry average, giving the automaker the best average of 98 PP100. Toyota and Honda tied for second in brand average with 103 PP100.

However, it should be noted that six of GM's eight top-ranked models will either be discontinued or replaced within the next 12 months.

Ford, meanwhile, finished No. 27 out of 33 nameplates for the second consecutive year and had just one vehicle, the Mustang sports car, place in the top three of any vehicle category. Most of Ford's quality woes were tied to its problematic MyFord Touch infotainment system.

"Ford is probably at its low point," Sargent said. "As we go forward, the improvements they're making to their technology will offset the fact that it's in more vehicles. We'll probably see Ford start to rise, particularly as we see some of the others introduce their versions of the technology."

Just three years ago the Ford brand was ranked in the top five for initial quality.

Lincoln finished better than Ford's namesake brand in 17th place, tying the industry average with 113 PP100.

Lexus and Infiniti rounded out the survey's top five, while Mitsubishi, Fiat and Scion occupied the three lowest positions.

The Lexus LS sedan was the highest ranked vehicle in the survey with just 59 problems per 100 vehicles.

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