One of the great benefits of raw capitalism is that consumers get to vote on product quality every day. This means that companies compete with each other to build and service products that win with customers. In the automobile industry, the gold standard for measuring who's up and who's down is the JD Power Vehicle Dependability Survey. And this year, for the first time, Tata Motors' (TTM) Jaguar and General Motors (GM) Buick knocked Toyota Motor Corp.'s (TM) Lexus out of the top spot.
For me, the most amazing thing about this report is that Jaguar has finally climbed out of the cellar of quality problems for which is was known for decades. Under Ford Motor (F), Jaguar stayed far from the top but India's Tata bought Jaguar in 2007 and its quality improvements have been dramatic. Jaguar's overall rise was due to "fewer reported problems with vehicle exterior, sound system and the overall driving experience," according to AP. But Jaguar is small fry in the US, selling 14,000 vehicles here in 2008, while Buick sold 128,000.