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AUTO INDUSTRY Lordstown cars get better



Published: Fri, May 18, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Foreign vehicles top U.S. vehicles in quality.

STAFF/WIRE REPORTS

LORDSTOWN -- Cars produced last year at General Motors' Lordstown Assembly Plant improved slightly in quality, according to the latest study by J.D. Power and Associates.

The plant's products averaged 163 problems per 100 cars, which was three less than last year's average.

Although the number is above GM's average of 146 problems, the Lordstown plant is producing a model with an older design, said Tom Mock, a plant spokesman.

"We want to show continuous improvement, and that's what we did," he said.

Cavaliers, Sunfires: Chevrolet Cavaliers produced at the plant averaged 162 problems per 100, and Pontiac Sunfires produced there averaged 167 problems per 100.

J.D. Power, a California consulting company, didn't release quality numbers by model but said the Toyota Corolla had the fewest problems of any compact car. Next best were the Toyota Prius and Toyota Echo.

Top plant: The top assembly plant in North America was Toyota's plant in Cambridge, Ontario, which averaged 96 problems per 100 vehicles. The next best were Honda's plant in Marysville, Ohio, and Toyota's plant in Georgetown, Ky., both of which averaged 101 problems.

The best quality in the world came out of Toyota's plant in Kyushu, Japan, which averaged 74 problems.

Joe Ivers, a J.D. Powers spokesman, said the secret to Toyota's success in maintaining quality is its practice of "taking variation out of vehicle production," which leads to consistency.

Other makers: European automakers averaged 141 problems per 100 vehicles. Asian automakers averaged 140, and domestic automakers averaged 153.

Vehicles built by Ford had an average of 162 problems. GM had 146, and DaimlerChrysler averaged 154.

The study is based on survey responses from vehicle owners after 90 days of ownership.




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