The study examined the initial vehicles quality at three to five months of ownership and used problems-per-100-vehicles - aka PP100 - as a measure of initial quality, with a lower score reflecting better quality.
Santro had improved its ranking by 19 per cent and performed consistently across all the problem categories, J D Power said. It ranked ahead of other small cars like Maruti Zen, Fiat Uno, Daewoo Matiz and Telco's Indica.
Maruti Esteem improved its IQS performance by 40 per cent, ranking ahead of the Hyundai Accent and Opel Corsa and the newly-introduced Ford Ikon.
The Mitsubishi Lancer - rolled out by Hindustan Motors in alliance with Mitsubishi Motor of Japan established a new benchmark with 84 PP100, the first model in India to break the PP100 barrier. The Toyota Qualis has been adjudged the best MUV ahead of Tata Safari, Tata Sumo and Mahindra Armada.
The survey included responses from new car owners of more than 20 different models which represented 11 different makes. The quality improvements were driven by the strong performance of the six new models included in the 2000 IQS as well as improvements by the majority of the existing models.
"The 2000 India IQS results show that manufacturers are delivering better-quality vehicles than they have in the past," said Chris Bonsi, director, J D Power Asia Pacific.