The majority of problems owners experience with their new vehicle in the first 90 days of ownership are design-related rather than manufacturing defects. These design problems are far less likely to be successfully resolved at the dealership than are defects, according to the J.D. Power 2013 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS) released today.
The J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, which serves as the industry benchmark for new-vehicle quality, has been redesigned for 2013. The study has been enhanced to better measure the quality of today’s vehicles, particularly problems related to new technologies and features now being offered. In addition, the study, now in its 27th year, allows for more detailed feedback from new-vehicle owners.
Nearly two-thirds of the problems experienced in the first 90 days of ownership are related to the vehicle’s design, as opposed to components that malfunction. For example, the component may be working as designed, but owners deem it a problem because it may be difficult to understand or operate.
Because design problems are not the result of a breakdown or malfunction, just 9 percent of these problems are taken to a dealership within the first 90 days of ownership. When owners take their vehicle to a dealership for a design-related issue, the problem is fixed only 13 percent of the time. In contrast, 28 percent of owners who experience a defect or malfunction with their vehicle within the first 90 days of ownership take it to a dealership, and 42 percent of the time the dealership is able to fix the problem.
Overall initial quality for the industry averages 113 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). The study finds that many of the problems owners have with their vehicle relate to the driver interface, which includes voice recognition or hands-free technology, Bluetooth pairing for mobile phones, and the navigation system, among others.
Porsche ranks highest among nameplates included in the study, averaging 80 PP100. GMC ranks second with 90 PP100, and Lexus ranks third with 94 PP100. Infiniti (95 PP100) and Chevrolet (97 PP100) round out the five highest-ranked positions.
Among the 26 model-level segment awards, Chevrolet receives five, while Honda, Kia, Mazda and Porsche each receive two. Chevrolet models receiving an award are the Avalanche (tie), Camaro (tie), Impala,Silverado HD and Tahoe. Honda receives awards for the Civic and CR-V; Kia for the Soul and Sportage (tie); Mazda for the MAZDA2 and MX-5 Miata; and Porsche for the Boxster and 911.
The Lexus LS ranks highest in the Large Premium Car segment and achieves 59 PP100, the lowest average problem level among all models in the study.
Also receiving segment awards are Acura TL; Buick Encore (tie); Cadillac Escalade; Chrysler Town & Country; Ford Mustang (tie); GMC Sierra LD (tie); Hyundai Genesis Sedan; Infiniti FX; Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class; Nissan Murano; smart fortwo; and Toyota Camry.
The 2013 U.S. Initial Quality Study is based on responses from more than 83,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2013 model-year cars, trucks and multi-activity vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study is based on a 233-question battery designed to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate identification of problems and drive product improvement. The study was fielded between February and May 2013.