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Quality of Chinese cars improving, but lags rivals: survey

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese car brands are getting better, but still suffer more problems within the first two to six months of ownership than their international rivals, according to a widely-watched quality survey.

The number of problems in Chinese cars as reported by consumers in the poll fell to 212 this year from 232 in 2011, consulting firm J.D. Power and Associates said in the survey released on Wednesday.

But that was still well above the industry average of 146, while problems reported in global brands such as Buick, Toyota and BMW also dropped to 117 in 2012 from 131 last year.

No Chinese brands exceeded the industry average, according to the survey, now in its 13th year.

Chinese automakers, such as Chery Automobile and Warren Buffett-backed BYD Co Ltd <1211.HK> <002594.SZ>, mostly make small, cheap cars perceived as inferior in quality and reliability compared to foreign nameplates.

The fortunes of Chinese automakers have also sagged after Beijing ended incentives for small cars in the beginning of 2011.

In its poll, J.D. Power surveyed 20,639 owners of new vehicles purchased between October 2011 and June 2012.

(Reporting by Fang Yan and Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by Ryan Woo)

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