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Lexus Drops Below Industry Average in JD Power Initial Quality Study

In a stunning upset, Lexus drops below the industry average on an important quality report.

In a stunning cap to a multi-year slide, Lexus has now dropped to below the industry average for defects in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. Last year, Lexus was tied for seventh place. This year Lexus is in 15th place and fell below the average for all brands. There are two reasons for Lexus dropping to below the average.

First, the industry as a whole is getting better. Quality is improving for most brands and some have moved up dramatically in their ranking. Ram trucks is the best example. Ram went from 20th to fifth overall in just the past year. The best score last year was an 83 and the best score this year is an 82, both by Kia, who retains the number one spot.

Second, both Lexus and Toyota went backward a bit in quality this year. Last year, Lexus had a score of 96 defects per 100 cars. This year its score is 98. Toyota scored a 93 last year and this year a 95. This year's average score was 97.

The news was not all bad for Toyota and Lexus. Toyota's Camry was the top-ranked individual model in the largest car class this year. In addition, Lexus' RX and ES factory earned the top award for best quality from a manufacturing location.

It is important to note that this one study looks at the number of issue owners have in the first 90 days of ownership. It is not a comprehensive quality report. For details, please see the full report.