JD Power IQSConsumers continue to struggle with the advanced user interfaces and technologies being fitted to new cars, according to the latest J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. Overall, the industry average for problems per 100 vehicles climbed three percent, to 116 issues reported in the first 90 days of ownership.

Vehicles from the General Motors' family were dominant, with Buick, Chevrolet and GMC capturing more individual IQS segment awards than any other manufacturer. Despite its well-publicized issues, six GM vehicles (Buick Encore, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevy Silverado HD, Chevy Suburban, GMC Terrain and GMC Yukon) were given IQS awards for their respective segments.

Hyundai was ranked the best overall mass-market brand, with just 94 issues in every 100 vehicles reported in the first 90 days. Parent Hyundai Motor Company, meanwhile, trailed GM with five vehicles winning their segments, including the Hyundai Accent, Elantra and Genesis, as well as the Kia Cadenza and Sportage.

On the premium end of the scale, Porsche was tops for the second year in a row, with just 74 issues per 100 vehicles. Not only was it the best premium brand, it had the best score of any marque surveyed. Weirdly, it was followed by Jaguar, which handily topped quality stalwart Lexus, with just 87 problems per 100 vehicles (don't worry, Jag's sister company, Land Rover, still finished well below the industry average).

While Land Rover was its usual disappointing self when it comes to the IQS, Fiat easily took the crown as the worst performer overall. Owners of the diminutive Italian cars reported 206 problems per 100 vehicles during the first 90 days of ownership. Yes, that works out to over two problems per vehicle within the first three months. In fact, Fiat Chrysler Automobile's brands did rather poorly in general ­– Jeep was the second worst brand, with 146 issues while Dodge had 124. Ram matched the industry average, while Chrysler was the only FCA brand to finish above the industry average.

You can take a look at the full release of results from J.D. Power, available below. You can also click the inset image for a graphical breakdown of this year's IQS.
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Initial Quality Problems Increase as Automakers Struggle to Launch Vehicles with Technology That Consumers Find Easy to Use

Porsche Ranks Highest among Nameplates for a Second Consecutive Year; General Motors Company Receives Six Model-Level Awards; Hyundai Motor Company Receives Five

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 18 June 2014 - The number of problems experienced by new-vehicle owners has increased from the previous year, as automakers continued to be challenged when introducing sophisticated technologies in new vehicles, according to the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS) released today.

The study, now in its 28th year, examines problems experienced by vehicle owners during the first 90 days of ownership. Initial quality is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality.

The study finds that overall initial quality averages 116 PP100, a 3 percent increase in problems from 113 PP100 in 2013. This year's increase in problems follows a similar increase found in the J.D. Power U.S. 2014 Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS) released in February, which measures problems experienced after three years of ownership.

Some Consumers Struggle with New Technology

The study identifies two primary causes of the increased problem levels in 2014. First, newly launched vehicles (those that are completely new to the market or have undergone major redesigns) continue to be more problematic than carryover vehicles (those that did not undergo any significant changes). On average, newly launched vehicles experience 128 PP100, compared with 113 PP100 for carryover vehicles. The increase in problems among all-new vehicles is found mainly in the areas of voice recognition, Bluetooth pairing and audio systems.

"Automakers are trying to give consumers the new features and technology they want without introducing additional quality problems into their vehicles," said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power. "However, almost all automakers are struggling to do this flawlessly with some consumers indicating that the technology is hard to understand, difficult to use, or simply does not always work as designed."

Harsh Weather Conditions also Affect Quality

Some regions experienced increases in problem types associated with harsh weather. Consumers in the South and West regions of the country report the same level of problems as in 2013 (114 PP100). In contrast, consumers in the Northeast and Midwest regions report 117 PP100 in 2014, compared with 112 PP100 in 2013. Most of this increase is found in the heating/ventilation/air conditioning, exterior and engine/transmission categories, three areas in which harsh weather conditions have an adverse effect on vehicles.

"Automakers test vehicles in extreme conditions to ensure they function properly," said Sargent. "However, it is impossible to completely negate the effects of severe weather. Heating and ventilation systems have more work to do, engines and transmissions aren't as smooth when cold, and exterior moldings and paint all take some punishment. Consumers generally understand this but still report problems when their vehicle does not wholly live up to their expectations."

Initial Quality Affects Brand Loyalty

The study also finds that the fewer problems owners experience with their vehicle, the greater their loyalty to the brand. Combined data from previous years' IQS results and the Power Information Network® (PIN) from J.D. Power show that 57 percent of owners who reported no problems stayed with the same brand when they purchased their next new vehicle. Brand loyalty slips to 53 percent among owners who reported just a single problem and to only 48 percent among owners who reported two or more problems.

"Even problems experienced in the first 90 days correlate strongly with ultimate repurchase behavior," said Sargent. "These early problems can set the tone for the entire ownership period and still have an effect years later when consumers replace their vehicle."

Highest-Ranked Nameplates and Models

For a second consecutive year, Porsche ranks highest in initial quality among all nameplates, with a score of 74 PP100. Following Porsche in the rankings are Jaguar (87 PP100), Lexus (92 PP100) and Hyundai (94 PP100).

General Motors Company receives six segment awards-more than any other automaker for a second consecutive year-for the Buick Encore (tie); Chevrolet Malibu; Chevrolet Silverado HD; Chevrolet Suburban (tie); GMC Terrain; and GMC Yukon (tie). Hyundai Motor Company receives five awards for the Hyundai Accent; Hyundai Elantra; Hyundai Genesis; Kia Cadenza; and Kia Sportage (tie). Other corporations with multiple award recipients are Ford Motor Company (Ford Edge, Ford F-150 LD and Lincoln MKX); Nissan Motor Company (Infiniti QX50, Infiniti QX80 and Nissan JUKE [tie]); Volkswagen AG (Porsche 911, Porsche Boxster and Porsche Panamera); Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Challenger); and Mazda (Mazda MAZDA5 and Mazda MX-5 Miata). Other models receiving awards are the Honda Ridgeline and Lexus ES.

Plant Assembly Line Quality Awards

Toyota Motor Corporation's Cambridge South, Ontario, Canada (TMMC) plant, which produces the Lexus RX, receives the Platinum Plant Quality Award for producing models that yield the fewest defects or malfunctions. Plant quality awards are based solely on defects and malfunctions and exclude design-related problems.

Two sister plants receive the Gold Plant Quality Award in the Asia Pacific region. Toyota Motor Corporation's Kyushu 1, Japan (TMK) plant produces the Lexus CT and RX. Across the road, the same company's Kyushu 2 plant produces the Lexus ES, IS and RX.

In the Europe and Africa region, Porsche AG receives the Gold Plant Quality Award for its Leipzig, Germany (P), plant, which produces the Porsche Cayenne and Panamera.

The 2014 U.S. Initial Quality Study is based on responses from more than 86,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2014 model-year vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study is based on a 233-question battery designed to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate the identification of problems and drive product improvement. The study was fielded between February and May 2014.

Find more detailed information on vehicle quality, as well as model photos and specs, at JDPower.com/quality.

- See more at: http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2014-us-initial-quality-study-iqs#sthash.m3VS2gIZ.dpuf


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 83 Comments
      • 6 Months Ago
      [blocked]
        superchan7
        • 6 Months Ago
        I'll bet you have been waiting for years for this survey result. And the world goes on buying Corollas because they really last forever.
          • 6 Months Ago
          @superchan7
          [blocked]
          mikoprivat
          • 6 Months Ago
          @superchan7
          why would anybody want a vomit to last forever...the sooner it dies, the better.
      Zaki
      • 6 Months Ago
      The only reasonable conclusion I can draw from this ranking is to NEVER EVER RELY ON JDPOWER to gauge the quality or reliability of a car. A blind, senile, baboon could have put that list together and I would not know the difference!
        Barry Hubris
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Zaki
        If the data were more specific - as others have said - like engine problem, etc. Then it could be useful.
      Barry Hubris
      • 6 Months Ago
      IQS = BS. People with low expectations will not report problems. While other people are confused by a radio and lists that as a quality problem. Or someone buys a Mini and then says the ride is loud or rough.
        carlotta
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Barry Hubris
        THat explains the Buick Encore. What a piece of ...... But their owners have low expectations.
      lasertekk
      • 6 Months Ago
      Owner: I don't like the size of my cup holder. JD Powers: That counts as a strike against Initial Quality Survey.
        Mondrell
        • 6 Months Ago
        @lasertekk
        I remember reading a few years that JD Power began counting brake dust as a ding in the IQS. Completely ridiculous. Having gone from OEM brakes that didn't dust or stop, to aftermarket OE replacements that weren't much better, to aftermarket performance brakes that dust but can repeatedly stop like I've dropped anchor, I know which ones I'd write up as a 'problem.'
      Jamie Elmhirst
      • 6 Months Ago
      I'm sorry, but any "quality" or "reliability" ranking that puts Subaru and Mazda near the bottom is totally out to lunch. Both demonstrably make some of the best built cars in the industry right now. With that said, I would be fascinated to take a deep dive into the numbers on these two manufacturers to see what folks are complaining about.
        omgcool
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Jamie Elmhirst
        While I agree that the rankings are fairly ridiculous, I can't say I've ever been pleased with Subaru's quality. They're great niche cars, but never have I been in one and thought positive of overall quality. Personally, I also feel people greatly overstate their reliability. Actually quite poor in my experiences. That said, I too would love to see what survey participants believe represents "quality." To me, it's the vehicle's resistance to ordinary-use wear and rattles/noises (primary weak-point in most Subarus IMO), the feel, ergonomics, and fit of the switchgear, and the overall feeling of refinement (how smoothly everything operates). I wouldn't include infotainment in a measure of quality unless it was glitchy or just a disaster functionally.
      dfkd
      • 6 Months Ago
      I'm sure Hyundai does well simply because people don't expect much in light of the affordable prices. Therefore they'll be more lenient against problems. Meanwhile, if my bland but not-cheap Subaru makes a single squeak... fire and brimstone.
        b.rn
        • 6 Months Ago
        @dfkd
        Agree with freddie. Hyundai is no less expensive than anyone else. They just have a reputation of being inexpensive.
        freddie
        • 6 Months Ago
        @dfkd
        Hyundai cars cost about the same as other cars in there segment so what are you talking about and if anybody buys a new car and theres an issue believe me it will be reported
      RocketRed
      • 6 Months Ago
      The real story of the data is what a poor basis "initial quality," as measured here, is for differentiating car brands. Throw out the outliers of Fiat and Porsche, the total range of problems per car is .59 problems. That is, you have a bit more than 1/2 a problem extra with the worst car versus the best car in the first 3 months, on average. You would expect more variation in the same model of car than across all models. Further, a lot of these "problems" are people who can't figure out the NAV or the dual zone AC. JD Power has to make big deal out of these studies, because that's what they sell, but the value of this information is slim to none to the buying public. And the idea that people use these things a bragging rights between brands is silly.
      SquareFour
      • 6 Months Ago
      I love these articles, they always bring out the fanboy bravado. I especially like all those who come rushing to the defense of a faceless corporation.
        rcavaretti
        • 6 Months Ago
        @SquareFour
        It's not so much fanboyism as it is a need for general honesy (yeah, I was a Boy Scout). I never look to ONE source as the know all. Additionally, if that one source differs from others, then someone either made a mistake or is being purposefully deceitful. Either way, that situation deserves scrutiny.
      atomicbri2005
      • 6 Months Ago
      This is one of the worst surveys. What a bunch of horse manure. What is laughable is what they consider to be defects. I take JD Power surveys with a grain of salt. A friend of mine in industry said one of the main defects FIAT had in the survey was the Bluetooth because people couldn't grasp the "pairing of the system" HAHA! READ THE MANUAL!!! To me a defect is like an ignition switch that cuts off by itself. Get real JD Power!
      Jun Jiusi Zheng
      • 6 Months Ago
      The only accurate criteria of quality is resale value
        omgcool
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Jun Jiusi Zheng
        I disagree entirely. Disproportionate fleet sales, overproduction, and excessive incentives are the #1 (2 & 3) factors negatively affecting resale values of vehicles. Take a very high-quality car, rent it out to every fleet interested, produce far too many units requiring steep rebates and incentives, and you've got a recipe for a depreciation disaster. "Quality" is further down the list. You've been watching too many Toyota advertisements, whose resale value is their best quality, and so they rightfully flaunt it.
      RLC
      • 6 Months Ago
      Let me fix this for everyone: "This survey is total BS! I've had my _________ for _____ years and I haven't had a single problem with it!" There. Problem solved.
      mic414
      • 6 Months Ago
      I always wondered how this survey is conducted and what does it really measure. The results look awkward and in no relationship with real customer preference. E.g. Subaru and Jeep have been doing rather well on the sales charts, yet they rank low in the IQS. And then you have all those cases where the upscale brands of a manufacturer scores much lower than the mainstream brand, see Honda-Acura, Chevvy-Cadillac.
        Mondrell
        • 6 Months Ago
        @mic414
        I would certainly like to know what kinds of 'problems' are being reported for specific brands given that many consumers are spending less time thoroughly evaluating a vehicle prior to purchase. I get that car-buying can be a tense experience, but it's still unfair for a manufacturer to take hits for 'problems' the consumer should've identified in a test drive.
          mic414
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Mondrell
          The other thing that I would be interested in is the potential correlation of a brand's value proposition and the resulting psychological profile of the brand's target audience. I give you an example. The main consideration for people who buy Toyota's will be reliability, quality, (resale) value. So if you ask such a customer about quality issues, it would be against their own conviction to complain about something in their new Toyota, because he chose Toyota for exactly that reasons, he thinks that Toyota is the best in quality, therefore he wouldn't contradict his own decision a few weeks go. On the other hand, someone buying a Fiat 500 very likely buys it its size, individuality and fun character. If you ask such a person about quality issues, they would be more open to say that "sure, I heard a squeak from the dashboard once, so what?" and there you go, you have a quality isue reported. At the same token, I'm pretty sure if you asked the same customers who loves their car most, the Fiat owner would come ahead by miles, despite the allegedly poor quality.
        Noah
        • 6 Months Ago
        @mic414
        Subaru and Jeep's sales jump might actually explain their drop in the IQS. When people new to the brand aren't happy with the placement of controls or the ride of a new brand they count it as a problem rather than a difference. Controls that were on the left are now on the right, the interphase is different and confusing, or I don't like the fuel door release as much, etc. Those aren't really problems
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