JD Power Rates 2011 Tundra Quality 2nd Behind F-150

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Last week JD Power released their 2011 Initial Quality Survey results, naming the Ford F-150 the top quality large pickup. The Tundra, which has been at or near the top of JD Power quality studies since the 2000 model year, came in second in the same survey. Chevy’s Avalanche came in third.

JD Power Quality Ratings for Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra

While the F-150’s quality rating was top notch, the overall quality rating of the Ford brand did not fare as well. JD Power ranked the quality of the entire Ford brand about 8% worse than the industry average. As we reported a couple of weeks ago, Ford’s overall quality rating fell mostly because of problems with Ford’s in-car electronics system, MyFordTouch. Here’s how all the truck manufacturers ranked, in order from highest brand quality rating to lowest:

  1. Toyota, with 101 reported problems per 100 vehicles (abbreviated as PP100)
  2. GMC, with 104 PP100
  3. Chevy, with 109 PP100
  4. Ram, with 114 PP100
  5. Ford, with 116 PP100
  6. Nissan, with 117 PP100
    industry average was 107 PP100

Please note that these are brand quality ratings and therefore only generally useful when considering a specific vehicle model for purchase. However, having said that, it’s important to recognize that the bulk of GMC’s products are trucks, so GMC’s rating of 104 PP100 is probably fairly representative of the quality of the average Chevy/GMC pickup.

Additionally, the bulk of Ram’s products are the Ram 1500 and the Ram HD. The Ram brand’s quality rating of 114 PP100 (about 7% worse than average) is also a likely representation of the quality of the average Ram truck.

While it’s hard to say with certainty, based on the data presented it seems likely that the best quality trucks are, in order: F-150, Tundra, Chevy/GMC (excluding Avalanche), with Ram bringing up the rear. Nissan falls in there somewhere too, but it’s hard to say where. Typically, older models that have been in production for a few years (and that have all the bugs worked out) have higher quality ratings, so it’s entirely likely the Ram is last in the segment in terms of quality.

Other Interesting Notes From 2011 JD Power Initial Quality Survey

As a brand, Lexus offers the highest quality vehicle on the market (at least according to this survey). With only 73 problems per 100 vehicles reported in the first 100 days of ownership, Lexus quality is almost 50% better than the industry average. That’s a monumental achievement and a feather in the cap of Toyota.

Toyota also won awards for having two of the three highest quality auto plants on the planet. Toyota’s Cambridge South Ontario plant (which builds the Lexus RX) and Toyota’s Kyushu 2 plant (which also builds the Lexus RX, as well as the IS and ES) both won awards for having phenomenally high quality ratings – only 24 problems reported per 100 vehicles.

Surprisingly, the Toyota Tacoma was shut out of JD Power’s small truck quality awards. The winner in the small truck category was the Ridgeline, followed by the Nissan Frontier and, surprisingly, the Ram Dakota. In what may only be interesting to me, Honda is likely to discontinue the Ridgeline while Ram is basically going to throw away the existing Dakota and start over with a completely new car-based design in 2014. How many other JD Power segment quality winners will be discontinued and/or completely and totally revamped in the next year or two?

Chevy/GMC dominated the quality awards in the large SUV segment. This is another nail in the coffin of the Toyota Sequoia, a model that may disappear by 2014 (only our sources continue to deny this). The Ford Expedition, which sells in similar volumes and which was also shut-out in the large SUV segment, may be discontinued as well (only that seems less likely).

Finally, for those who doubt the value of JD Power’s initial quality study, consider this: Consumer Reports ranked the Chevy Avalanche far ahead of the rest of the large truck field, with the Toyota Tundra and the Ford F-150 coming in 2nd and 3rd overall in the segment. Consistent ratings despite different methodologies and different surveys are a pretty good indicator of the value of JD Power’s study. It’s not definitive, but it certainly shouldn’t be ignored either.

Filed Under: Auto News


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  1. Mickey says:

    Very good info.I don’t put much stock in Consumer Reports. Like you stated put all info together and then you have something to go by.

  2. Brian J says:

    While interesting, initial quality doesn’t mean that much to me. I am much more interested in the long term durability study which, in my opinion, is much more indicative of how well a truck will perform trouble-free throughout its life. Tundra typically dominates this arena. If I have a problem in 90 days I also have a warranty to make it all better. After 3-5 yrs of ownership, its on me to fix it. I’ll take the winner of the long term durability study for my money.

  3. Jason (Admin) says:

    Mickey – Definitely – it’s a good idea to evaluate all the info from all the different companies.

    Brian J – I understand your concerns about the initial quality survey (I have them myself) – if a vehicle does or doesn’t have problems in the first few months, does that really mean anything long-term?

    JD Power – and others – argue that these initial quality stats are a good indicator of future quality and reliability. There has been a correlation in the past…but I too like to see the long term study results.

    And yes, Toyota has been dominant in that area too. 🙂

  4. Danny says:

    i wonder how this survey would be affected if they also ranked the problems per vehicle by the severity of the problem.
    Initial problems may indicate the quality and workmanship at the factory, but like Brian J stated, long term is the true test, especially when it comes out of my pocket to fix it. Long term, better describes the overall quality of the truck and its components. ive only had one vehicle that was long term nearly trouble free and it was a 95 GMC Z71. my 2010 tundra is too young to complare but so far, zero issues since january 2010, well, except an exterior door handle that sometimes gets stuck.

  5. Mickey says:

    Jason JD Power can state what they want. I had a 98 Silverado which in the first days I had to replace the fam blower on the A/C. If that was an indicator on how the vehicle was going to be then I missed the bus. The next time something broke the truck had 96k miles on it when the A/C compressor burnt up. As Danny mention the severity of the issue would be more of an indicator as per my 03 F-150 with the computer issue and the 06 Silverado with the headliner issues and the most embarassing issue of going down I-95 when the taillights fell off. Seeing duct tape on other 03-06 Silverado’s only make my decision to come to Toyota more worth it. Even though I coughed up 4k for a rebuilt torque/tranny I’m still happy with the truck.

  6. Jason (Admin) says:

    Danny – Agreed – this has always been an issue with both Consumer Reports and JD Power – what constitutes an issue? Is it minor or major? Is it really a vehicle problem, or is it a lack of understanding on behalf of the customer?

    If you look at these stats historically, a vehicle with lots of initial quality problems goes on to have a lot of other problems…but is this still the case?

    I think that ultimately, it all boils down to this: no one can say for sure what a vehicle’s quality or reliability will be. All we can do is buy something from a company that has a good track record and hope for the best.

    Mickey – Understood – I think GM, Ford, and Chrysler-Fiat will pay a penalty for a long time to come for previous quality problems.

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