J.D. Power and Associates, a global marketing information services company, gave high rankings to the Odyssey minivan, the Pilot SUV and Ridgeline pickup truck, all manufactured exclusively at Honda’s 4,000-employee plant in Lincoln. The rankings were compiled in J.D. Power’s 2012 Initial Quality Study, released Wednesday.
The study ranked the Odyssey second among minivans, the Ridgeline second among midsized trucks and the Pilot third in the crossover category. The Nissan Quest took the top spot among minivans and the Nissan Frontier received the highest ranking among midsized trucks. The Buick Enclave and the Honda Crosstour took the first and second rankings in the crossover category.
The J.D. Power and Associates’ Initial Quality Study is a tool consumers can use evaluate the quality and design of new vehicles. Since 1987, J.D. Power and Associates has surveyed owners to measure the initial quality of new vehicles after the first 90 days of ownership.
Overall, the Japanese-based automaker was the highest-ranking mass-market, non-premium brand for the second consecutive year and fifth among all industry nameplates. Also, the new 2012 Honda CR-V earned the highest score in the compact crossover SUV category.
Mark Morrison, spokesman for Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, said facility officials were proud of the rankings.
“At Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, we strive daily to deliver high-quality products — both vehicles and engines,” Morrison said. “We are pleased that this year’s key quality survey reflects improved results from the efforts of our team of 4,000 associates.”
However, the Lincoln plant cannot become complacent with its rankings, Morrison said.
“We believe we are going in the right direction when it comes to quality and we are pleased with the industry rankings of the Odyssey, Pilot and Ridgeline,” Morrison said. “But, we also know that as we improve, so does our competition, so that is why we are committed to improve our quality every day.”
Dennis Virag, auto industry analyst with the Automotive Consulting Group, said Honda’s high quality rankings were hardly a surprise.
“It’s par for the course for them,” Virag said. “They are always high up on the quality scale.”
The rankings are more good news for the manufacturer, which has seen its vehicle sales soar in the past few months — a stark contrast to the dismal sales it experienced last year. Honda’s sales dipped across the board last year due to an interruption in supply lines from a tsunami and earthquake that struck Japan in April 2011. While there were no layoffs, Honda decreased workloads for several months last year at its North American plants, including the Lincoln facility.
Honda’s sales have bounced back this year including those in May, which experienced a 47.6 percent increase in auto sales compared to the same month last year.
“They have fully recovered in terms of their production side,” Virag said. “I think they’re on target to meet their goals this year.”
Star staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star