U.S. Automakers’ Quality Gap

While the recession obviously has made life tougher for U.S. automakers, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll makes it clear that the problems facing those companies run deeper. Asked to assess the quality of cars produced in several countries, 21 percent rated U.S.-made models as “very good” and 40 percent as “good.” Another 26 percent rated U.S. cars as “average,” while 9 percent called them “poor” and 2 percent “awful,” with the rest unsure. The “very good” vote was twice as high for cars made in Japan (43 percent) and nearly twice as high for those built in Germany (41 percent). And many fewer respondents rated cars from those countries as merely average or worse — 12 percent for Japan, 12 percent for Germany.