A fascinating bit of news about the U.S. auto industry was reported last week. It says something about the companies' viability - and about what is needed to keep them in business.
For many years, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler were targets of complaints about the quality of their products. Cars and, less frequently, light trucks made in Japan or Germany were said to be more reliable.
One measure of quality is the regular reports by J.D. Power and Associates. They are based on information from vehicle owners.
J.D. Power and Associates released a new quality study this week. At the very top of its list were Jaguar and Buick. The GM product did better than Japanese cars including Lexus, Infiniti and Acura.
That is the first time since Lexus was added to the J.D. Power study that it has been knocked out of the top spot by an American car.
In addition, both Ford and Chrysler won top quality awards in specific categories of the J.D. Power study.
That is excellent news - and it involves all GM, Ford and Chrysler vehicles. That is because many of them share components with the specific models recognized in the new quality report.
The new quality ratings indicate that U.S. automakers are producing better products. The news should tell something to government officials who want more authority to tell GM, Ford and Chrysler how to operate. The quality gains came as a result of pressure from the marketplace - which remains, by far, the best way of separating companies that should prosper from those that should go out of business.