For the first time in more than a decade, the biggest U.S. automakers had a majority of category winners in a survey of vehicle quality, taking or tying in 12 of 21 segments.
General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC models had a majority of category winners, San Diego-based Strategic Vision said in a statement. The three automakers all gained market share in the first quarter for the first time in 20 years. The Michigan-based companies exceeded sales forecasts last month and led the industry to its best April since 2007.
“There’s no questioning domestic carmakers want to lead,” Alexander Edwards, president of San Diego-based Strategic Vision, which conducted the survey, said in today’s statement. “It’s now forcing all manufacturers to build the most superior, innovative and holistically quality vehicles possible to gain the hearts and minds of customer.”
Ford’s Fusion sedan and GM’s Chevrolet Volt tied in the medium-car segment. Ford’s F-250 and F-350 topped the list for heavy-duty pickup. GM’s Buick Enclave, GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Traverse, Avalanche and Corvette coupe led categories. Chrysler Group’s Dodge Dart, Town & Country minivan, 200 convertible sedan and Durango sport-utility vehicle also topped their categories. Chrysler is majority owned by Fiat SpA.
Volkswagen AG’s Audi and Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus topped the brand rankings. The results were based on data from 17,568 buyers who purchased 2013 models from September to November 2012.
Overseas automakers “are a force to be reckoned with and Toyota has regrouped with Total Quality winners Lexus LS, Tacoma and FJ Cruiser,” Edwards said in the statement, referring to Toyota models that led categories in the survey. “However, domestics are running in the tight race also.”
Ford sales in April surged 18 percent and GM and Chrysler deliveries both increased 11 percent. That beat the average estimates by analysts of a 17 percent rise for Ford and 10 percent for Detroit-based GM and Chrysler.
The sales gains have been widespread for the U.S. automakers. Ford had a record April in Fusion family-car sales, which rose 24 percent. GM’s new Cadillac ATS sports sedan drove a 34 percent increase for the luxury brand. Chrysler’s redesigned Ram 1500 pickup jumped 49 percent.
GM fell 1.3 percent to $31 at the close in New York, while Ford decreased 0.7 percent to $14.01. For the year, GM has risen 7.5 percent, while Ford has gained 8.2 percent, compared with a 15 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.