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Today's Cars And Trucks Really Are Made Better

J.D. Power & Associates
CNBC.com
J.D. Power & Associates

If there's one thing I hear from readers more than any other, it's asking if the quality of new cars and trucks is really improving. It's as if people have heard vehicles are better made, but they don't quite believe it.

Well the latest J.D. Power survey of initial quality shows the new models are hitting the street with fewer problems. In fact, the rate of problems per 100 vehicles has dropped in the last year from 125 in 2007 to 118 this year. With more than 80,000 owners answering what works, and more importantly, what doesn't after 90 days of ownership, the Initial Quality Survey has become a benchmark for automakers.

This year Porsche is number 1 with an average of 67 problems per 100 made. It's followed by Infiniti (jumping from 9th to 2nd), Lexus, Mercedes and Toyota . The Porsche victory is not surprising given it historically does well in quality surveys. Infiniti's jump is impressive and will help that brand continue on the resurgence it's enjoyed in the last couple of years.

What about the domestic automakers?

There's good news for GM and Ford which both had three nameplates win awards. GM's Chevy Silverado and Malibu along with its Pontiac Grand Prix all won recognition in their segments. Ford's F-Series, Lincoln Navigator, Mazda MX-5 Miata earned J.D. Power segment awards. As did Dodge's Durango and Dakota.

One of the biggest complaints is with electronics and the communications systems being built into new models. While this technology has improved, it still has a ways to go before it's foolproof. Still, the results speak volumes. The quality of what we're seeing in showrooms is getting better.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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