Lexus, Porsche Rank Highest in Dependability; Ram Dependability Improves Most

Long-term dependability improved for a majority of automotive brands included in our 2013 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), which assesses problems experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of three-year-old vehicles (those that were introduced for the 2010 model year). For a second consecutive year, Lexus received the lowest PP100 score—71 PP100—which . . . Continue Reading Lexus, Porsche Rank Highest in Dependability; Ram Dependability Improves Most

Gap Continues to Diminish Between Vehicle Initial Quality and Dependability


David Sargent

The dependability of vehicles in the U.S. market continues to improve, according to J.D. Power research as illustrated by the shrinking of the gap between initial quality of new models that are now three years old, according to our 2013 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), which is based on responses from more than 37,000 original owners of 2010 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership.

The industry average score gap between initial quality and dependability of models that are now three years old has narrowed to just 17 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). Overall dependability is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles, with a lower score reflecting higher quality.

In 2013, overall vehicle dependability averages 126 PP100—a 5% improvement from the 2012 average of 132 PP100—and is the lowest problem count since the inception of the study in 1989. Among brands measured in the study, 21 of the 31 included improve in dependability from 2012.

It’s also noteworthy this year in our VDS that the domestic and the Japanese brands achieve the largest year-over-year advances in dependability—each improve by 6% from 2012. Continue reading ›

Shoppers Consider More New Models as Reliability Concerns Fade

Jon Osborn

Vehicle initial quality and vehicle dependability have been improving across the industry during the past few years, according to our studies, which has led to new-vehicle shoppers considering a higher number of models before making their purchase decision, our 2013 Avoider Study finds. This study examines why consumers decide not to consider a certain model when shopping for a new vehicle.

On average, new-vehicle buyers actually shopped 3.3 models at the dealership in 2013, which is up from an average 2.9 just two years ago (in 2010). This average includes the purchaser’s selected model. In addition, 79% of shoppers cross-shopped the vehicle that they purchased compared with 74% in 2012 and 71% in 2009.

This year, only 17% of new-vehicle shoppers avoided a model based on its reputation of reliability, compared with 19% in 2012 and 21% just four years ago. Continue reading ›

Some Vehicle Problems are Unique to Chinese Market

Dr. Mei Songlin

Dr. Mei Songlin

Many of the key vehicle problems and problem symptoms identified in our 2012 China Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), which is based on evaluations of new-vehicle owner experience in China  after the first 25 to 36 months of ownership, are consistent with the top problems found in the 2012 China Initial Quality Study (IQS), which measures problems customers experience during the first two to six months of ownership. Continue reading ›

Japanese Models Receive Seven Segment Awards; Chinese Models Garner Three Awards in 2012 China Vehicle Dependability Study

Models from three Japanese manufacturers receive seven awards in the 11 award segments, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2012 China Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS). Three of the Japanese models are Toyota brand models. Three Chinese domestic brand models also are among the most dependable models in their respective segments. Among European brands, . . . Continue Reading Japanese Models Receive Seven Segment Awards; Chinese Models Garner Three Awards in 2012 China Vehicle Dependability Study

China’s Domestic Brands Mark Major Advance in Vehicle Dependability

Dr. Mei Songlin

Dr. Mei Songlin

For a second consecutive year, Chinese nameplates continue to close the gap with international brands in the long-term durability of their models, according to our recent 2012 China Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS). It’s also noteworthy that China’s domestic brands have made advances this year in both initial quality and in offering models that appeal to their new-vehicle owners.

Now in its third year, the 2013 VDS Study measures problems experienced during the past six months by original buyers of vehicles after they have owned their new models for 25 to 36 months. More than 14,100 new-vehicle owners from 37 cities across China were asked to evaluate their new vehicle in terms of 202 different problem symptoms in eight categories.*

This year, the gap in vehicle dependability between the country’s domestic brands and international brands has been reduced to 80 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), down from 139 PP100 in 2011. Among China’s domestic brands, vehicle dependability in 2012 improves to an average of 250 PP100, vs. 327 PP100 in 2011. International brands also improve their dependability scores, averaging 170 PP100 in 2012, which is 18 fewer PP100 than in 2011. Continue reading ›

Some Dynamics of How Dealer-Automaker Relationships Work in India

Mohit Arora

A strong relationship between automakers and their dealers is the core for success of any car brand in any market. A car model may receive rave reviews, have a good track record and advanced technology, but without an invested dealer to represent the brand well, the brand’s model will not flourish.

The joint venture between Tata and Fiat in India is one interesting example. While Tata Motors was experiencing strong growth in fiscal year 2011, Fiat was experiencing a double-digit decline in sales. In widely published interviews, Fiat officials said they felt that there was no real attempt at the dealerships to promote the Italian brand and therefore decided to end their venture of selling Fiat models at Tata dealerships.

While we don’t intend to assign blame of the breakup for the joint venture, and while it remains to be seen whether the dissolution of the partnership is a good long-term move for Fiat and Tata, the example does provide an important illustration about why automakers need to have strong alliances with their dealer networks. Continue reading ›

Hyundai Improves in India VDS; Garners Three Segment Model Awards

Hyundai is the only brand to improve among the 16 nameplates included in this year’s J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2012 India Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS). Fewer reported problems in three of nine vehicle categories*—HVAC; driving experience; and vehicle exterior—contribute to Hyundai’s 14-point improvement from 2011. In addition, three Hyundai models garner awards in their respective segments: the Santro; i20; and the Verna.

Hyundai’s performance in the 2012 study underscores sustained improvements it has made in consistently improving longer-term product quality over the past 3 years. Experiencing fewer problems than its key competitors over a longer term is likely to aid Hyundai in further strengthening its image of dependability and reliability among owners, which helps spread positive word-of-mouth advertising. Continue reading ›

India Vehicle Owners Report More Problems with Vehicles

Mohit Arora

Overall vehicle dependability with cars and light truck models that are between 2½ to 3 ½ years old declines this year mainly due to an increase in problems related to vehicle engines and the driving experience categories, according to our 2012 India Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS). Among the nine categories* measured, engine and driving experience categories account for more than 40% of the problems reported by vehicle owners.

At the industry level, overall vehicle dependability in India in 2012 averages 225 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), which is an increase of 30 PP100 from an average 195 PP100 in 2011. A lower PP100 score reflects higher quality and dependability in our study, which is based on evaluations from more than 7,800 original owners of new vehicles purchased in 25 cities in India between July 2008 and September 2009. Continue reading ›

Ownership Satisfaction in Germany Differs among Groups of Buyers


Marcus Behrendt

It’s been 3 years since the German government eliminated scrappage program (2009) incentives to help encourage consumers in the German auto market to purchase new vehicles. In relation to the scrappage discount, we find that overall satisfaction among owners who purchased vehicles under the program is much lower than among owners who did not buy a vehicle through the discount program, according to the 2012 Germany Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS), which J.D. Power conducts jointly with German auto magazine, AUTO TEST. *

In fact, satisfaction among the new-vehicle owners who accepted cash back for scrapping vehicles that were at least 9 years old is 30 index points lower than among those owners who did not receive a discount. It’s likely that the owners who traded in their older used vehicles may have had high expectations for their new vehicle and anticipated that the new vehicle would be perfect and that the dealership experience would be stellar. Also, consumers who took the discounts tend to be price sensitive and, according to J.D. Power research, that means they are likely to be very critical. Continue reading ›