Day: January 29, 2021

How James David Power Made Detroit, and Customers, Raise the Standard for Quality

J.D. Power
James David Power III at an auto plant quality-award presentation. J.D. Power

It’s a name millions of American car buyers have learned to trust and one the auto industry approaches with a mixture of respect and fear. 

Over the past half-century a company that started out at the kitchen table became the arbiter of automotive quality, reliability and customer satisfaction. This past weekend, the man who lent his name to J.D. Power and Associates passed away at 89.

Coast Guard veteran James David Power III got his start in the auto industry as a financial analyst at Ford and, later, as a market researcher for General Motors. But he soon left for California, “disillusioned,” he said in an interview, watching how “market research was twisted to the point it reflected what [the automakers] wanted to hear.  They would torture the data until it confessed.”

With wife Julie as partner, Power

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