These Are the 26 Highest-Quality Cars, Trucks, SUVs of 2020, According to J.D. Power

First Up 06/25/20

These Are the 26 Highest-Quality Cars, Trucks, SUVs of 2020, According to J.D. Power

USA Today reports that the 2020 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, an annual benchmark that is considered highly influential in vehicle purchases, found that only three luxury brands topped the industry average for problems per vehicle: Hyundai Motor Group's Genesis, Toyota's Lexus, and General Motors' Cadillac. The rest – including Tesla, which had the worst score of any brand – are all below average. What's more, the quality of mainstream brands has improved greatly in recent years. In this year's survey, four mainstream brands took the top slots in the survey: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Dodge, Hyundai Motor Group's Kia, GM's Chevrolet and FCA's Ram. The highest-ranked model in this year's survey was the Chevrolet Sonic, a subcompact car. Hyundai Motor Group, whose brands include Genesis, Hyundai and Kia, had the most vehicles top their segments for highest quality with seven. GM had six, BMW had three, Ford Motor had three, and Nissan had three. Read more here. 

VW Expects Auto Market Recovery to Last Into 2022

Europe will likely return to "almost" pre-coronavirus sales levels in 2022, while China will bounce back more quickly and the U.S. market’s recovery is difficult to predict, said Christian Dahlheim, Volkswagen Group's head of sales. According to Automotive News, VW expects a V-shape recovery from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic lasting into 2022. "The question is how steep is that V," Dahlheim told an online conference on Tuesday hosted by the U.K. auto association SMMT. Dahlheim did not expand on why the U.S. recovery is difficult to forecast. Analysts have previously said momentum could be halted by a resurgence of coronavirus infections. "There is a threat of demand being impacted by another wave of the pandemic," Cox Automotive economist Jonathan Smoke told Automotive News earlier this month. “The U.S. is probably the same picture as Europe, but it is probably the most difficult to predict," Dahlheim said. Read more here. 

As Sales Rise, Automakers Ramp Up Production

Just two months ago, the auto industry was bracing for disaster. But the industry is starting to breathe a little easier, reports The New York Times. Factories are churning out trucks and sport utility vehicles, with many of the plants nearly back to production levels that prevailed before the pandemic took hold. While some factory workers have tested positive for the coronavirus, automakers have reported no major outbreaks. Perhaps most important, vehicle sales have perked up more than many industry executives had expected. A rebound in the auto industry would probably help the economy. It is the nation’s largest manufacturing sector and employs roughly 1.5 million people in manufacturing, sales and service. That said, auto sales will be down sharply this year, more than in any year since at least 2009. Read more here. 

PSA CEO Says Merger with Fiat Chrysler on Track

PSA Group CEO Carlos Tavares said he was confident the merger of the automaker and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would go ahead as planned and yield synergies of at least 3.7 billion euros ($4.2 billion), reports Automotive News. "The timetable of the merger with FCA is being strictly respected," Tavares said at PSA's annual shareholders meeting Thursday. He added he was confident the deal would be finalized during the first quarter of 2021 "at the latest." Commenting on expected synergies from the deal, he said 3.7 billion euros was a "floor." Last week, European Union antitrust regulators opened a four-month investigation into the proposed $50 billion merger, saying it may harm competition in small vans in 14 EU countries and Britain. The two carmakers had declined to offer concessions to allay the EU competition enforcer's concerns during its preliminary review of the deal. The deal has already received the green light in the United States, China, Japan, and Russia. Read more here.

Study Reveals No Tangible Difference in Safety for Convertibles

With summer now in full bloom, at least according to the calendar, ragtop owners can get out on the roads to enjoy the wind in their hair, and according to a new study, they can drive knowing their car is as safe as anyone else’s. According to a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, convertibles pose no greater threat to the safety of their occupants than their hardtop siblings, reports The Detroit Bureau. Crash rates and driver death rates were lower for convertibles than for nonconvertible versions of the same cars. However, the differences in driver death rates weren’t statistically significant. “These findings don’t suggest that convertibles offer better protection for their occupants than other cars, but they do indicate there’s no statistical basis for concerns that the lack of a permanent roof makes them more dangerous,” said Eric Teoh, IIHS director of statistical services, who wrote the paper. Read more here. 

Beltway Talk Podcast: Charlie Chesbrough's Sales Round Up

In today’s Beltway Talk, Cox Automotive’s Charlie Chesbrough gives listeners an overview of 2020’s second quarter auto sales. He touches on a number of subjects, including segment winners and losers for the year to date, what brands are best equipped to weather the recovery ahead, and how inventory constraints could impact sales for the remaining of 2020. For dealers wondering if the worst is behind us, and what lies ahead, this is a must-listen episode. Listen in and subscribe here.

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