Even for those of us who have been in the automotive industry for some time, it’s hard to remember a time when J.D. Power and associates was not around.

When it all started

Although the company was founded in 1968, I can remember, as a young Acura salesman, the new division winning the initial quality award three years in a row – 1986, 1987 and 1988. For a Japanese company getting its foot in the door of the luxury car segment, it was quite an accomplishment. It also went a long way to legitimize Acura both as a brand as well as an alternative to BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the luxury car segment.

Since that time, the initial quality awards as well as the CSI and training programs have become institutions in the automotive industry. What follows is the press release commemorating this anniversary:

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 1 April 2008 — Global marketing information firm J.D. Power and Associates, a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies, celebrates its 40th anniversary today, marking four decades of fulfilling the mission set by founder J.D. “Dave” Power III of integrating the voice of the customer into business strategy to improve quality and customer satisfaction.

In 1968, Power established J.D. Power and Associates from his kitchen table, with a primary focus in the automotive industry. Since that time, the firm has successfully influenced the everyday lives of consumers and industries worldwide, and has expanded to include offices throughout North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Under the leadership of President Steve Goodall, J.D. Power and Associates has also established a strong and growing presence globally as well as in several important industries outside of the automotive realm, including: finance and insurance, healthcare, home building, telecommunications, travel and utilities.

“During the past 40 years, we’ve experienced tremendous growth and success by expanding the scope of our services to include industries beyond our beginnings in the automotive industry,” said Power. “As we move forward, we are excited about continuing this success and expanding our reach to influence and improve customer satisfaction for businesses and consumers throughout the world.”

J.D. Power and Associates currently has more than 800 employees in 14 offices around the world.

“Our growth and success over the past 40 years is due to the hard work and dedication of our associates, said Goodall.  “Recent additional investments in people and new technologies will enhance and accelerate the way in which we capture and assess the voice of the customer in the digital world.  These capabilities will provide our clients with added insights and relevance as we help them integrate the voice of the customer into their operations.”

Timeline: J.D. Power and Associates’ Milestones

•    April 1, 1968: Dave Power and his wife Julie start the firm from the kitchen table in their Calabasas, Calif., home.
•    Feb. 7, 1969: J.D. Power and Associates incorporates.
•    1969: J.D. Power and Associates enters the auto market with its first client Toyota Motor Company.
•    1969: Additional J.D. Power clients include: McCulloch Corporation, Ampex Consumer Products Group, U.S. Borax, Carnation, Toyota and MSI Data Systems.
•    1973: The Wall Street Journal reports Mazda’s Wankel engine problems, based on data from one of the first J.D. Power and Associates independently funded surveys. The firm gains national prominence for its voice of the customer data.
•    1976: The Dealer Attitude Study (DAS) launches. The DAS gave the firm credibility on retail and distributor issues and established a strong rapport with auto dealers. The DAS preceded the National Automobile Dealers Association’s own Dealer Attitude Study.
•    1980s: Publication debuts - Automotive Consumer Profile Newsletter, Power Newsletter and The Power Report.
•    1981: U.S. Automotive Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study launches. The new study is the cornerstone of the firm’s plan to expand to include independently funded syndicated studies within the auto industry.
•    1984: Subaru became the first automaker to advertise its J.D. Power rankings by running a commercial during Super Bowl XVIII.  Since then, more than 350,000 television commercials and more than 7 billion print ad impressions refer to J.D. Power awards annually.
•    1987: International Automotive Roundtable and SuperDealer Roundtables meet for the first time.
•    1987: U.S. Automotive Initial Quality Study (IQS) and U.S. Automotive Media Study debut.
•    1988: Joint venture in Japan is established and later becomes a wholly owned subsidiary responsible for business in Asia Pacific
•    1989: The first automotive syndicated study trophy award was issued by J.D. Power and Associates. Acura ranked highest in the 1989 U.S. Automotive Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study.
•    1989: The first regional office opens in Troy, Michigan led by Steve Goodall.
•    1990: Power Information Network (PIN) launches. PIN is a unique, nationwide data collection system based on the gathering and analysis of daily new-vehicle retail transaction data from automotive dealerships across the United States.
•    1992: Travel practice area is established.
•    1992: J.D. Power III receives a Distinguished Service Citation from the Automotive Hall of Fame.
•    1994: JDPA’s rapid international expansion, led by J.D. Power IV, begins in Toronto, Canada.
•    1995: The firm's first European location opens in the UK.
•    1995: Telecom practice area is established.
•    1996: Stephen C. Goodall named President.
•    1997: Homebuilder practice area is established.
•    1999: JD Power.com is launched: Power Circle Ratings bring syndicated study highlights directly to consumers without charge.
•    1999: An office in Singapore was opened to broaden J.D. Power Asia Pacific's activities in Asia.
•    2000: JDPA announces its joint venture in Australia.
•    2000: First syndicated study launches in China.
•    2001: Healthcare practice area is established.
•    2002: J.D. Power and Associates moves to current headquarters in Westlake Village Calif.
•    2004: Expansion continues in Europe with an office opening in Munich, Germany.
•    2005: Business in Asia continues to grow as JDPA opens offices in Shanghai, China.
•    2005: J.D. Power and Associates is acquired by The McGraw-Hill Companies on April 1.
•    2006: J.D. Power and Associates acquires Automotive Resources Asia, which specializes in Asia’s vehicle markets to continue to expand presences in Asia.
•    2006: Retail Banking practice area is established.
•    2006:  The first J.D. Power book, SATISFACTION: How Every Great Company Listens To the Voice of the Customer written by J.D. Power IV and Chris Denove is published.
•    2008: Pending acquisition of a marketing intelligence technology company specializing in social media and consumer-generated media research.