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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Toyota Factory Rated Best for Quality

By Cheryl Jensen

Toyota's assembly plant in Higashi-Fuji, Japan, was awarded the Platinum Plant Quality Award by J.D. Power & Associates for making vehicles with the fewest defects and malfunctions. The plant, which builds the Lexus SC 430 and Toyota Corolla, averaged just 29 problems for every 100 vehicles built.

J.D. Power released its 2009 Initial Quality Study this week, and for the sake of not repeating ourselves, you can find details on the rankings and procedures here.

While the quality study ranks the 37 automakers from best to worst and ranks the top three vehicles in 10 car and eight truck categories, J.D. Power also awards Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze awards to assembly plants for quality. The plant awards are based on defects and malfunctions only, and the scores are expressed in terms of the number of problems per 100 vehicles.

In addition to the Toyota plant in Japan, two Asia-Pacific plants and three in Europe and Africa also received awards.

In North America, five plants received Gold, Silver or Bronze awards for quality: The Gold went to the Honda plant in East Liberty, Ohio, which had 41 problems per 100. The Silver went to a General Motors plant in Oshawa, Canada (42 problems per 100). And three plants (Ford, G.M. and Toyota) in Kentucky received Bronze Awards because each tied with 43 problems per 100.

The awards reinforce the notion that it is becoming harder to define an "American" car or truck these days (see our nifty interactive map). In fact, Reuters recently reported on a study by Grant Thornton, an advisory firm, which concluded that foreign automakers would build more vehicles on American soil than the Detroit Three by 2012.

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