J.D. Power and Associates has released its annual Initial Quality Study, and this year, Porsche and General Motors took the spotlight. The study, which asks new car owners to report problems experienced during the first 90 days of ownership, found that overall, the industry averages 113 problems per 100 vehicles.

Porsche managed a score of just 80 problems per 100 vehicles, while GMC took the second spot on the podium with 90. Lexus filled out the top three with 94 problems per 100 vehicles, followed by Infiniti at 95 and Chevrolet at 97. The study also looks at specific models, and found the Lexus LS to enjoy the best initial quality at 59 problems per 100 vehicles.

Interestingly enough, the report found that around two-thirds of most owner problems experienced in the first 90 days are attributable to vehicle design instead of mechanical failure. Specifically – echoing a refrain we've been hearing for the last few years – owners are having a hard time figuring out how to use the technology present in their new vehicles. Head over to the J.D. Power site for more information, or scroll down below for the company's related press release.
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2013 Initial Quality Study
J.D. Power Reports: Nearly Two-Thirds of Problems Owners Experience With Their New Vehicle Are Design-Related; Few Can be Fixed

General Motors Receives Eight Model-Level Awards, including Five for Chevrolet; Porsche Ranks Highest Among Nameplates

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 19 June 2013 - 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 StudySM (IQS) released today at an Automotive Press Association luncheon at the Detroit Athletic Club.

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.

"Automakers are investing billions of dollars into designing and building vehicles and adding technologies that consumers desire and demand, but the risk is that the vehicle design, or the technology within the vehicle, in some cases may not meet customer needs," said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power. "Keep in mind that automakers are trying to design vehicles that appeal to a broad array of consumers, and what works for the majority may not work for all. The successful companies will be those automakers that find a way to give customers the technology they want while at the same time making it sufficiently intuitive so all customers find it easy to use."

Overall initial quality for the industry averages 113 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100).1 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.

According to Sargent, some of these problems may be mitigated at the time of purchase by the salesperson explaining how to use the technology, and others may be remedied with software changes. However, features that are difficult for owners to operate, hard to understand, or inconveniently located in the vehicle likely will remain a problem for the life of the vehicle.

"Owners desire, and in some cases are demanding, more content in their new vehicles, especially technology-related features, and automakers are trying to provide it," said Sargent. "The majority of owners don't experience problems, but those who do are frustrated. That's understandable, especially when owners often keep their new vehicle for five years or more. In contrast, when consumers have a problem with their smartphone, they are likely to replace the phone much sooner."

2013 IQS Ranking Highlights
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.

Plant Assembly Line Quality Awards
Toyota Motor Corporation's Lafayette B Plant (SIA) in Indiana, which produces the Toyota Camry, receives the Platinum Plant Assembly Line Quality Award for producing models that yield the fewest defects or malfunctions. Plant awards are based solely on average levels of defects and malfunctions and exclude design-related problems.

Among plants in the Asia Pacific region, the Toyota Motor Corporation Yoshiwara, Japan, (TABC) plant, which produces the Lexus LX and Toyota Land Cruiser, receives a Gold Plant Assembly Line Quality Award.

In the Europe and Africa region, Audi AG receives a Gold Plant Assembly Line Quality Award for its Neckarsulm, Germany, plant, which produces the Audi A4, A5, A6, A7 and A8.

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.

The study is used by manufacturers worldwide to improve quality and by consumers to help them make more informed purchasing decisions. Throughout the years, initial quality has been shown to be a leading indicator of long-term durability, which directly impacts customer loyalty and purchase decisions.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 91 Comments
      Matt
      • 2 Years Ago
      Probably because Porsche buyers are spending the first 90 days DRIVING THEIR SPORTS CAR and not fiddling around with Bluetooth, navi, XM, automatic cruise control, backup cameras, etc etc. Whereas the hairdresser that just bought a Fiat 500 probably cares more about how the car connects to her iPhone than how it drives.
        Matt
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Matt
        Also, you can read those rankings in almost perfect descending order from "cars old people buy" to "cars young people buy". Old people remember how sh!tty cars used to be, so think all new cars are great. Young people flip out it the car fails to pair Bluetooth sometimes.
      Eta Carinae
      • 2 Years Ago
      it is like some people dont understand what "initial" is defined as..........there is a reason it is 90 days for it is the the BEGINNING of normal wear and tear on a car.....and @hello, Brian you make no sense....how are you going to congratulate porshe and then continue to say that the test is flawed ?? i know smarter people exsist on this site...somewhere
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Alfonso T. Alvarez
        • 2 Years Ago
        Ha, ha, ha, ha - you are so reliable in your GM bashing - it is like waiting for the sun to rise! We all know that your continuous and ludicrous comments about GM are pathetic! Why don't you understand that NO ONE really has even a miniscule of interest in your worthless gibberish?
      gop.hates.america
      • 2 Years Ago
      Let's review what Mitt Romney said in 2008 "Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With bailout, the automakers will stay the course — the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check " Yeah, this idiot wanted to become our president. I'm glad we sent him back to the same $hit hole he crawled out of.
        merlot066
        • 2 Years Ago
        @gop.hates.america
        And Ford hasn't made an amazing turnaround because they're not on the top of one JD Powers study? I would say Ford announcing their best profit in 20 years is a sign of the turnaround they have made. Also, Mitt Romney is worth approximately 250 Million dollars, he neither came from nor went back to a "$hit hole"
        muspod
        • 2 Years Ago
        @gop.hates.america
        You have some issues..Really bringing up Romney?! Instead we have the WORST president this country has EVER seen. What has he done for ANYTHING? Useless....
          gop.hates.america
          • 2 Years Ago
          @muspod
          "WORST president this country has EVER seen" yeah, Ronald Reagan was a Ahole. I'm glad he is dead. His retarded TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS is slowly killing the middle class in this country. May he rot in hell
        no1bondfan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @gop.hates.america
        gha - please man, we're talking about cars here. I came to Autoblog to avoid reading about politics. This one was a real stretch to fit into this conversation, whether one agrees with it or not.
      Fat man
      • 2 Years Ago
      you know what.....if GM posted up record yearly margins, paid back all its debt, revamped every line up to truly compete with everything, and lead the automotive industry....it still wouldnt be enough for some of the "hill have eyes" scum that AB is teeming with........sad that some people cant have a true judgment on something, but fill these blogs with $hit out of their mouths....GM is doing good things and it will continue and so will the haters soo...here to the haters ! :) #laser #BD #sea urchin #etc.
        icon149
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Fat man
        embrace the haters, invest in GM... laugh all the way to the bank. haters and negative sentiment make a good opportunity to invest in a company like GM, as the haters slowly realize they are wrong the stock price will just keep going up.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Fat man
        [blocked]
          gop.hates.america
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sea Urchin You give us back the $10 Trillion and 10,000 lives your clown wasted for his ego, and I'll give you back the GM bailout money. Deal?
          Henry
          • 2 Years Ago
          You are a tool and nothing but a tool. Where is the President going first? Each time Africa is mentioned, many of you racist trolls put garbage out without even thinking for one moment. You really need to go read up on Presidential trips before making a fool of yourself.
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          gop.hates.america
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sea Urchin I know conservatives are retarded, so let me do the math for you. You pay me $10 Trillion. Out of that, I pay you back $29 Billion You probably failed your elementary school math class.
      OptimusPrimeRib
      • 2 Years Ago
      Blah blah blah...gubment motors...blah blah blah...tax payer money welfare bailout....blah blah blah....Benghazi....blah blah blah....Obama....blah blah blah....repeat.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        • 2 Years Ago
        [blocked]
        • 2 Years Ago
        [blocked]
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          Alfonso T. Alvarez
          • 2 Years Ago
          Doesn't matter - no one gives a hoot about anything you post about anything anyway! Your sorry butt is a laughingstock on the interwebs - but you surely are aware of that, right??
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          cpmanx
          • 2 Years Ago
          Dear WJK, I believe you mean: "No, I am a much better writer--one who is credible and is not stroking automakers for cash advances. You'll just have to wait and read my review for yourself, or not. I couldn't care less what you do." Sincerely, Your Editor
      Toronto St. Pats
      • 2 Years Ago
      90 days = initial quality. That's 3 months. That's not a study of reliability. Reliability is measured of the course of several years. This is a stupid and pointless study. Any car lasts 3 months virtually problem free. Heck most are fine after 3 years. It's like asking hey are those doors still attached to your car after 3 months? Yep they sure are. Wow that's quality.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Toronto St. Pats
        [blocked]
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Toronto St. Pats
        [blocked]
        Julius
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Toronto St. Pats
        It's not pointless... it's pointing out how people feel about a car out-of-the-box, as it were.
      stonehunte
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yeah, let's see how much Porsche maintenance and problems has cost you five years down the road.
        Flat6
        • 2 Years Ago
        @stonehunte
        I'm pretty sure anyone buying a new Porsche will do just fine paying for the maintenance. I doubt they are expecting $19.95 oil changes.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Flat6
          [blocked]
          stonehunte
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Flat6
          My point is the the luxury European brands are not very reliable and tend to cost three times as much to fix as their American or Japanese counterparts. If they want to charge a premium for their cars, they should be more reliable than cheaper competitors. As to WJK's comment, he is probably and arrogant little internet tough guy who thinks that high luxury car maintence costs are a badge of the wealthy. In reality he probably drives a beat up honda civic with a fart can.
      adam1keith1980
      • 2 Years Ago
      "the Lexus LS to enjoy the best initial quality" The S-class might be more glamorous, but the LS is still the best in quality.
        piggybox
        • 2 Years Ago
        @adam1keith1980
        To quote from JD Power: "Within the Large Premium Car segment, the Lexus LS ranks higher than the Audi A8 and Porsche Panamera and receives the initial quality award. Additionally, the LS is the highest-performing model in the entire 2013 Initial Quality Study.“ S-class isn't even close
          sparrk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @piggybox
          The S-Class is the top seller in that segment, many who buy that car can't even read what's on the buttons and they will complain. Lexus sells the least cars in that segment, mostly to old people. Old people don't use technology, they just put the car in D and drive, they don't complain about features, because they don't use them anyway.
          Hello, Brian
          • 2 Years Ago
          @piggybox
          If this were an actual quality award based on things not functioning or breaking, then I would agree. Unfortunately, the results of this survry are based on 2/3 of people in it returning to the dealer for guidance about things they cannot figure out.
      fulredy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Porsche yes; GMC no.
      rem
      • 2 Years Ago
      Since you have to dig through a bit to find the standard bar-graph - I'll mention that the WORST brand in initial quality is.... SCION If you weren't convinced that these surveys were useless before, now it should be obvious.
        randee.dermer
        • 2 Years Ago
        @rem
        So, if a survey does not meet your preconceived notions of what makes are quality and which are not, then they are "useless." Clearly, you are not one to understand scientific testing methods and, therefore, should refrain from commenting on them. What I read is that Scion needs some work. It's not that difficult to believe even if you do subscribe to the highly unscientific Consumer Reports.
          rem
          • 2 Years Ago
          @randee.dermer
          No, basically Lexus and Toyota were ranked toward the top and Scion has consistently done reasonably well in the past - they have managed to go from 117 in 2012 to 151 in 2013 with the ONLY production change being the addition of the FRS. You are clearly the one who doesn't understand that this is NOT a scientific evaluation it is the result of a consumer survey - this is exactly the same kind of **** that makes me disregard anything from consumer reports (funny that you seem to think that consumer reports is LESS scientific than JD power's IQ survey - since they basically use the same methodology to rank cars).
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