While Nissan has never enjoyed the same stellar reputation for quality as its Japanese compatriots at Toyota and Honda, it has lately found itself in danger of acquiring the opposite rep. Nissan's performance on influential J.D. Power quality and dependability studies has been below average lately, as many of its rivals have improved. Nissan will be launching a new quality plan in November, but Automotive News has the scoop today.

The most immediate change in Nissan's quality approach is a shoot-the-messenger measure requiring dealers to present car buyers with a two-page quick-reference guide that's part of 2012 owner manuals. The manual insert will seek to address some of the common threads that have cropped up in J.D. Power survey results. Nissan will also be addressing some of the most frequent customer complaints, like poor shift quality from its new seven-speed automatic transmissions used in Infiniti products. Nissan tells AN that it is already upgrading the software in the transmissions.

While that's a start, Nissan has a long way to go to hit its stated goal of having both Nissan and Infiniti brands in J.D. Power's top three in their respective categories by 2016. Nissan ranked just 24th in the Initial Quality Survey released in June, and managed only 25th in the Vehicle Dependability Survey, according to AN.

Other issues that have bothered Nissan customers include difficulties with HVAC controls, confusing rear wiper controls, and using hands-free phone systems. Kazumasa Katoh, Senior Vice President of Global Quality, said that these kinds of customer complaints are the result of Nissan customers' embrace of new technology, which can be complicated.

We've heard this line rather often, ever since Mercedes-Benz saw its J.D. Power scores plummet almost a decade ago. Yet automakers seem to continue to struggle in designing in-car systems that are simple and intuitive. Earlier this year, Ford's MyFord Touch system led Consumer Reports to pull its coveted Recommended rating from the 2011 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 85 Comments
      Fredgineer
      • 3 Years Ago
      Here's a thought.. How about we do away with all this MyTouch and Idrive and all this computerized technological nonsense that really isn't needed in the car. All it serves to do is add weight to a vehicle, add more complicated electronic components to the car, distract the driver and generally be problematic. People may howl about having GPS, here's a thought, you've probably got a smartphone, so then you're likely to have GPS on the phone. Do we really need facebook, or twitter integration into our vehicles? Really?
        Phandara1971
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Fredgineer
        +1 Best comment in this thread so far! I personally like my vehicles to be, well, vehicles, not rolling entertainment centers.
      Hazdaz
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is what those quality surveys are good for... basically shaming/scaring companies into improving their quality, even if it isn't necessarily that bad. If Nissan's quality has fallen, that's bad, but them admitting there is a problem, and taking steps to improve the quality of their cars is a very good first step.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      People may just looooovveee Carlos Ghosn, but Nissans were of bulletproof quality before he took the helm in '99. Quality and reliability issues have haunted this company since. I'd really like to own a new Nissan, but i am holding on to my '94 Maxima and '96 200SX for dear life.
      AngeloD
      • 3 Years Ago
      The trouble with Nissan is that they make a calculation in many cases that it is cheaper to fix a problem under warranty instead of at the factory. For one example: the Frontier has had problems for years with the transmission cooling lines being run inside the radiator. The are many reported cases where the lines crack, allowing coolant and trans fluid to mix, destroying the transmission. Yet, the same design is still present on the new 2012 Frontiers. And Nissan fights the owners on getting the truck fixed under warranty. It's as if Nissan senior management doesn't realize the internet exists, and that potential buyers are scared off after learning about these issues online.
      J
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nissan historically sold you an engine with a car, the performance of the vehicle usually detracted from the fact that your headliner started sagging after a few years or the t-top seals of my beloved Z32 300ZX leaking even in the slightest drizzle. Yet I still have the fondest memories of the car... Nissan has been able to ride the coat tails of other Japanese manufacturers for years, though their quality was never on par. Time will tell if Nissan will be able to deliver quality on the same level as their powertrains.
      Mark
      • 3 Years Ago
      My 99 Sentra was the best car I ever owned as far as quality. It never saw a day in the shop other than routine maintenance. So, I bought a 2004 Nissan. The dealer and I have become close friends, I even have the service mgrs personal cell number(that's a bad thing). The VQ V6 was rebuilt under 25k miles for timing chain nylon guide failure, 5 spd auto issues (clunking/slipping), creaky doors, constant stopped up AC drain & sunroof drain lines, paint on hood has chipped badly, CD player replaced, Bose speakers replaced, arm rest bolts backed out, won't hold an alignment, only front seat surfaces are leather, others are vinyl....never again...
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mark
        That sucked.. I had a 99 Maxima.. before Ghosn revised and cheapened the car. I recommended my sister a 2001 Maxima and she bought it because of how much i raved about the bulletproofness of my car.. In one model revision, the Maxima went from one of the most reliable cars you can buy in the USA, to.. 'well, at least you didn't buy a daewoo'
      • 3 Years Ago
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      SpikedLemon
      • 3 Years Ago
      I loved my Nissan Frontier w/ VQ40 6spd manual. It was bulletproof for me; I loved that truck: my buddy now has it and it's still running strong. Now: if they can package the VQ into a small hatchback: I'd be sold again.
      jj72
      • 3 Years Ago
      Finally.....I had a Sentra SER Spec V and it was a piece of crap. When I went to trade it in, I ended getting more from Mazda than Nissan. Got a Mazda3 and loved it! My brother in law and sisters G37 has had a few electrical and technology gliches (ipod connection went out twice within the first 6 months)......service was been sub par at the dealerships. He picked up a Hyundai Accent as a second car and is amazed at the quality and service at the dealership. They sent him vouchers for two free oil changes for being a good customer. He only had the accent for 8 months. They won't even consider another Infiniti! Its the little things and quality that get people to come back. Nissan and Infiniti better be listening
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @jj72
        That's a damn shame about the SE-R. I drooled over that car for a long time until i read about the engine problems. I have a 96 SE-R with 230k miles and it has been flawless other than needing replacement of fairly standard maintenance stuff. Nissan can design a bitchin' powertrain, and occasionally really good looking and appealing cars.. but they always drop the ball at the finish line of dependability.
      RCBR
      • 3 Years Ago
      My family's 08 G35 and 11 M37 (though only a few months old) feel superb in the quality department. With over 53,000 miles, the G has had no problems whatsoever. And problems with HVAC controls? My gosh, any educated person can figure them out..ya know, meaning anybody in Infiniti's main demographic should be able to work it.
      Justin Campanale
      • 3 Years Ago
      All the relaibility surveys are total crap anyway.
      • 3 Years Ago
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        Justin Campanale
        • 3 Years Ago
        Oh look, Toyotasucks is bashing a Japanese made ca! That's something new! (sarcasm)
          David
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Justin Campanale
          Dude what is your problem here? Are you on a fuqing crusade to tell people why you think Toyota suck? Why don't you actually contribute by giving a sensible comment.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Justin Campanale
          [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Justin Campanale
          [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Justin Campanale
          [blocked]
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