Shanghai, China – The quality of Chinese-built vehicles is catching up to international brands, according to a new report by J.D. Power and Associates. Overall new-vehicle initial quality in China improved by 14 per cent in 2009 when compared with 2008.

Now in its tenth year, the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2009 China Initial Quality Study examines problems experienced by new-vehicle owners within the first two to six months of ownership. Problems are examined in two distinct categories of design quality, and quality of production, measured by defects and malfunctions.

Overall performance is determined by problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower rate of problem incidence indicating higher quality. The overall initial quality averaged 178 problems per 100 vehicles in 2009, up from 207 PP100 in 2008.

The gap in initial quality between Chinese domestic and international brands has decreased by more than 240 per cent, from 396 PP1100 at the inception of the study in 2000, to 116 PP100 in 2009. Initial quality for domestic brands overall has improved by 60 PP100 from 2008, to an average of 258 PP100 in 2009. For international brands, overall quality has improved to an average of 142 PP100 in 2009.

“Chinese brands have steadily become more competitive in initial quality during the past decade, although there is still ample opportunity for improvement,” said Dr. Mei Songlin, general manager of research services at J.D. Power Asia Pacific. “Some domestic brands demonstrate particular strengths in certain vehicle segments in the China market, such as the compact and minivan categories, where they strike a good balance between price and quality.”

Models that ranked highest in their respective segments included those built by Chery, Toyota, Volkswagen, Audi, Honda, Buick, and Hafei.

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