Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

3 of 6
BACKNEXT
Lousy Quality
Lousy  Quality
The Chevrolet Malibu leads its category in initial quality, according to J.D. Power and Associates.
Gripe: Asian automakers sell more reliable products.
Fact: Detroit has lagged Toyota and Honda, but Ford has finally closed the gap.

Consumer Reports now considers the reliability of Ford Motor Co.'s cars (leaving aside its large trucks and SUVs) to be about as good as those of Toyota and Honda.

Chrysler has improved too, but it has been overshadowed by much bigger improvements at its rivals. Between 2005 and 2009 Chrysler's score in J.D. Power's Vehicle Dependability Study improved. But the overall industry average improved much more, so its ranking actually sank to well below average.

Consumer Reports considers GM reliability to be much improved, but it's not as consistent as that of other brands, like Ford. GM has made huge strides, however, in the "perceived quality" of its vehicles.

In more recently designed GM vehicles interiors are more attractive and feature richer-feeling materials. Ride and handling qualities are also more sophisticated.

Detroit's past quality problems have left a lingering bad taste for many car buyers though. It's one thing to repair quality. Repairing trust will take much longer and might not happen soon enough.

What's coming: There's no doubt that quality will continue to improve. Detroit automakers may finally have a chance to catch up as the entire industry finds a balance between even more complex automobiles and greater reliability.

NEXT: Lack of hybrids

Last updated December 08 2008: 6:50 PM ET
More Galleries
Five most expensive cars sold at Pebble Beach These classic cars went for seven figure sums at the world's premier classic car event. More
Seats that move! Rain! Movie-watching goes beyond 3D How can movie theaters compete when many prefer to watch streaming video from their own comfy couches? Some hope a new interactive technology will lure audiences with immersive effects. More
15 cool cars for sale at Pebble Beach While these events are best known for seven-figure classics, just about everything crosses the block at Pebble Beach. More

Special Offer