Summer is here again -- according to the thermometer, if not yet the calendar -- and with it, J.D. Power and Associates' latest report on who's hot, and who's not, in the car world.
Twice a year, the McGraw-Hill
The party line
Reviewing the stats, we see that J.D. Power highlighted significant improvements that Ford
So that's the theme of J.D. Power's take on the news. But here at the Fool, we like to think independently. So having let the study's authors have their say, let's review the results from a Foolish perspective.
The Big Three
First off, kudos to J.D. Power for identifying Ford's turnaround. I'd also point out that Ford managed to lift all three of its key brands by beating (in a good way) the industry average of 118 "problems" per 100 vehicles produced. In each of the past two years, only Ford's Lincoln brand had managed this feat, but the 2007 model year saw Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury all with their heads above water, along with perpetual standout Jaguar. Meanwhile, Ford's Land Rover brand assumed its customary position of dead last in the survey.
Mirroring Ford's achievements, the surprise success story of the survey has to be Teutonic-American amalgamation DaimlerChrysler
Rounding out the Detroit Big Three, General Motors
The other Big Three
Over on the other side of the globe, though, GM's Rick Wagoner can still point to Nissan's
In a reversal of Nissan's trends, fellow countryman Honda
And for the second year in a row, the vaunted Toyota
Foolish subscribers to Motley Fool Stock Advisor will be pleased to learn that David Gardner's May 2004 pick, BMW (OTC BB: BAMXF.PK), isn't just continuing to pull ahead of the S&P 500 -- it's up 50% since being recommended, or 17% better than the index. It's back on the quality track as well. After falling sharply in the rankings last year, BMW ascended six rungs to take 21st place in J.D. Power's survey.
Finally, the least lauded but perhaps most significant news of all concerns the hero of J.D. Power's 2004 initial quality report, Hyundai (OTC BB: HYMLF.PK) -- or, rather, its supposedly rinky-dink Kia affiliate. For the first time ever, Kia joined big brother Hyundai in the top half of the rankings this year. Granted, at 12th and 13th places, respectively, Hyundai and Kia hold that honor by the skin of their teeth, but props are deserved, and props shall be given. All hail, Hyundai.
I don't know about you, but while J.D. Power and the rest of the Car & Driver set focus (pun intended) on Ford's turnaround and praise Daimler for its decision to cut Chrysler loose, this Fool is going to start looking into the best way to pick up some shares of Hyundai. Given the increasing numbers of its cars I see on the road these days, the continuing quality improvements that should put even more of them on the road, and the fact that the stock is trading for 24% off of its highs of early 2006, this stock is starting to look mighty interesting.
Psst! Don't tell Rich, but the globetrotting investors at Motley Fool Global Gains have the system for investing in foreign stocks all figured out already. Grab yourself one of our free trial offers for the service, and find out how it's done.
Fool contributor Rich Smith does not yet own shares of any company named above. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy requires him to tell you that, but it doesn't say he has to tell you he drives a battered old Chevy S-10. (Oops.)