Canadian vehicle assembly plants have been shut out for the second straight year in a closely watched survey of auto industry quality, potentially eroding one of this country's competitive advantages in trying to lure new automotive investment.
U.S. assembly plants captured the top three spots in the annual J.D. Power and Associates initial quality survey, while a Toyota Motor Corp. factory in Japan won the platinum award for the plant producing vehicles with the fewest defects.
A General Motors Corp. pickup truck plant in Fort Wayne, Ind., topped the North American rankings, while Toyota plants in Georgetown, Ky., grabbed the silver and bronze awards.
Prior to this year, plants in Ontario – where all passenger vehicle manufacturing in Canada is performed – captured 29 awards, compared with 31 for U.S. plants. There are eight assembly plants in Canada and more than 40 in the United States.
Some vehicles assembled in Canada ranked among the highest-quality vehicles in their segments, including the GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox assembled in Ingersoll, Ont., the Toyota Corolla, which is made in plants in Canada and the United States and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV Dodge Challengers made in Brampton, Ont., and Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans made in Windsor, Ont.
The overall quality of new vehicles is higher than it has ever been and improved 8 per cent from the 2016 survey, J.D. Power said Wednesday in releasing the results.
The annual survey measures the number of problems reported by consumers during the first 90 days of ownership. Auto makers are ranked by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles
The overall quality leader was Kia Motors with 72 problems per 100 vehicles. The industry average was 97 problems for every 100 vehicles.
Auto makers are responding to driver feedback, Dave Sargent, vice-president of the automotive practice at J.D. Power said in a statement.
"The industry has improved in each of the past three years," Mr. Sargent noted. "Today's vehicles have more things that could go wrong, but fewer things that actually do go wrong."
Technology issues still dominate consumer complaints, the consulting firm said, but also represented a category where new vehicle owners reported fewer problems than in previous years.