Ford's (NYSE:F) latest cars and trucks are getting terrific reviews. Vehicles like the all-new Fusion and Escape are posting big sales gains, month after month. But Ford dropped way down the charts in this year's JD Power Initial Quality Study, while rival General Motors (NYSE:GM) stole the show. What's the deal?

It turns out that Ford's rankings in this study suffered for a couple of reasons – neither of which mean that a new Ford will leave you stranded by the side of the road. In this video, contributor John Rosevear looks at what these widely watched ratings do and don't count, and at why Ford's rankings might look a lot better – and GM's could slip – in years to come.

Fool contributor John Rosevear owns shares of Ford and General Motors. Follow him on Twitter at @jrosevear. The Motley Fool recommends Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.