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June 18, 2010 | Jerry Hirsch
U.S. automakers, which have long battled perceptions of poor craftsmanship in their cars, edged out imports in a key benchmark of quality for the first time in nearly a quarter century. Led by improvements at Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co., the domestic industry topped J.D. Power & Associates' latest initial quality study — something that has never happened before in the survey's 24 years. The Toyota brand, a perennial star in the survey, plunged below average as it has struggled with massive recalls.
June 9, 2010 | By Jane Engle, Los Angeles Times
Fees are rising, service can be lousy and … airline passengers are happier? Yes, according to a customer satisfaction survey released Tuesday. Research company J.D. Power & Associates asked more than 12,300 passengers who flew between April 2009 and April this year to rate North American airlines on costs and fees, flight crew, in-flight services, aircraft, boarding/deplaning/baggage, check-in and reservations. Compared with last year's survey, "performance improved across the board," said Stuart Greif, vice president and general manager of the global travel and hospitality practice at J.D. Power, based in Westlake Village.
May 3, 2010 | By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times
Like them or not, banks can be hard to leave. Who wants to transfer accounts, get used to new branch locations or master a different online banking system? But consumers increasingly are willing to unglue themselves from what bankers call "sticky" relationships, according to a retail bank survey released by J.D. Power and Associates Inc. last week. It found a growing belief that banks are driven only by short-term profit goals, and that they often overlook basic services such as keeping branches clean and explaining fees to customers.
March 26, 2010 | By Mark Z. Barabak
Some years ago, a group of angry conservatives staged a march through this posh Phoenix suburb, venting their frustration with Sen. John McCain. He wished them well and, through a spokeswoman, suggested they all wear sunscreen. These days, however, McCain is not so glib about the rancor on his right. Two years after winning the GOP presidential nomination, McCain is facing his toughest reelection fight in nearly two decades -- a primary challenge that highlights his uneasy relationship with fellow Republicans and the perils of his White House pursuit.
March 18, 2010 | By Jerry Hirsch, Tribune staff reporter
Two new reports are pointing to a rapidly changing auto world where American and South Korean brands are equaling the quality of the top manufacturers and making large gains in market share. The data show that Ford Motor Co. is beginning to solidify its position as the top auto seller nationally and it, along with the Buick division of General Motors Co., are edging out luxury brands such as Lexus and Mercedes-Benz in the latest quality rankings. Ford's Lincoln brand trailed only Porsche in the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Vehicle Dependability Study to be released Thursday.
February 27, 2010 | By Hugo Martín
Although the nation's major airlines continue to boast improved on-time arrival rates and less lost luggage, air travelers are still unhappy with America's airports. And Los Angeles International Airport is rated among the worst. San Francisco International Airport doesn't rate much better. Slow baggage delivery, long security lines, uncomfortable terminal seats and a lengthy, frustrating check-in process are the main complaints from air travelers about U.S. airports, according to a new survey by consumer research company J.D. Power & Associates Inc. Overall, the passengers gave the nation's airports a rating of 690 on a 1,000-point scale.
February 25, 2010 | By Jerry Hirsch
The service departments of auto dealers are headed for tough times. That's the conclusion of a report issued Wednesday by consumer research company J.D. Power & Associates, which also released its annual rankings of consumer satisfaction with dealer service departments. Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus brand received the highest marks for dealer service among the luxury nameplates. Buick scored highest among non-luxury brands, after factoring out the Hummer and Saturn lines General Motors Co. is shutting down.
February 2, 2010
A real case of deja vu Re "Conservatives criticize activist after his arrest," Jan. 28 I find it troubling that three of the four Republican activists arrested for illegally entering the office of a U.S. senator in New Orleans ran conservative newspapers at their respective colleges. None of these young men was a lone wolf with a grudge. None was an anonymous Average Joe plotting a crime. These presumably were the cream of the young Republicans, the best their party has to offer for the future.
February 2, 2010
Salinger's public face The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington has installed a portrait of "The Catcher in the Rye" author J.D. Salinger, who died Wednesday at age 91. The museum hung a portrait by Robert Vickery on Monday in a first-floor gallery designated for remembrance of people who have died recently. The portrait depicts Salinger against a metaphorical amber wave of grain. The image appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1961. -- associated press Dell's firm buys Magnum trove Billionaire Michael Dell's investment firm, MSD Capital LP, has acquired about 185,000 vintage photographic prints from the Magnum Photos agency in what is thought to be among the largest photo transactions in history.
January 29, 2010 | By David L. Ulin
"Don't ever tell anybody anything," J.D. Salinger wrote in the closing lines of "The Catcher in the Rye. " "If you do, you start missing everybody. " For more than two decades now, I've thought about that ending as a piece of code. Not that Salinger, who died Wednesday at age 91 in Cornish, N.H., was an oracle, despite what his most dedicated followers -- those who hung around his driveway, hoping for a glimpse of the reclusive author, or parsed his sentences on a million websites -- might believe.
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