Who is J.D. Power, and what do his associates do?


I’m not sure how many times I’ve personally heard the words “J.D. Power and Associates,” but it’s definitely often enough that I’ve accepted it as a part of my reality that needs no further explanation. The phrase is a permanent fixture of late-night TV, when car commercials boom through your speakers at inexplicably loud volumes. You’ve heard it in ads for Chevys, Lexuses, and Fords.

J.D. Power is a marketing firm best known for its automotive research; it collects consumer responses for a variety of surveys (asking drivers about the reliability of their car’s transmission or the comfort of the passenger seat or performance of the navigation system) and then awards car models rankings based on those surveys. But how helpful those surveys are to car designers and car consumers is up for debate.

J.D. Power is ubiquitous in car advertising and marketing but do you know the history of the firm?