Chevy No. 1 American Brand Despite Recalls

Jun 19, 2014 04:37 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

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Chevrolet came in at No. 1 for domestic automakers in the latest J.D. Power initial quality survey, leading American brands in spite of General Motors' disastrous year of recalls.

GM, which has been reeling from a 2.6 million-vehicle small car recall earlier this year and separate recalls also in the millions, had six models ranked highest in their segment, the Detroit Free Press reported.

This particular survey measures consumer satisfaction in the first 90 days after getting a new vehicle and is separate from other studies that measure long-term quality and reliability.

Despite the now-infamous recall that included Chevrolet Cobalts with faulty ignition switches, Chevy was No. 1 and GM had six models altogether that topped their respective segments.

"This tells us that their quality is pretty good," said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power, as quoted by the Free Press. "General Motors has the most award winners, and they have the most vehicles finishing among the top three in their segments."

GM took that honor for the second year in a row, according to USA TODAY.

Fiat, Jeep and Mitsubishi came in last with the most problems per 100 vehicles.

The J.D. Power initial quality survey is based on responses from 86,000 consumers who had just purchased new cars and filled out online surveys in May.

Comprising 32 brands, the study put Porsche, Jaguar and Lexus at first, second and third. Hyundai came in fourth ahead of Toyota.

According to Power data, initial quality rankings are important because owner loyalty can be substantially affected by just one problem in the first year after buying a car, falling from 57 percent to 53 percent.

"This is worth literally billions of dollars to the automakers," said Sargent. "Every percentage point lost of loyalty is hundreds of millions of dollars."

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