Initial Quality in China Sets New Benchmark; Domestics Improve Significantly

Dr. Mei Songlin

China’s domestic brands are improving their initial vehicle quality and are narrowing the gap with international brands, which is reducing the overall problem rate in China to a record low, according to the 2013 China Initial Quality Study (IQS). At the industry level, overall initial quality averages just 119 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) in 2013, which represents the lowest number of problems since the study was introduced in 2000.

The 2013 China IQS, which examines problems experienced by new-vehicle owners within the first two to six months of ownership, evaluates two general types of problems: design-related problems, and defects and malfunctions. Some 21,181 owners of new vehicles purchased between October 2012 and June 2013 in 46 major cities were surveyed for the study. The overall initial quality score for 2013 is determined by calculating PP100, where a lower problem incidence rate indicates higher quality. Continue reading ›

Initial Quality in Japan Rises with Improvements in Fuel Efficiency

japan map-72Overall initial quality of new vehicles in Japan  improves slightly from 2012, partly due to improvements in engine and transmission performance, including fuel efficiency, according to our 2013 Japan Initial Quality Study (IQS), which is based on responses from 11,210 new-vehicle owners after the first two to nine months of ownership.

Overall initial quality averages 100 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) in 2013, which is slightly better than 101 PP100 in 2012. Although the incidence of defect/malfunction problems increased in seven of the nine factors measured ( 2.4 PP100 increase), the number of design-related problems—such as windows fogging, transmission, excessive fuel consumption—declined by 4.7 PP100 from 2012. Continue reading ›

New Models, Redesigns Perform Better on 2013 APEAL Study

Newly launched and redesigned models receive higher scores for appealing to their owners than do carryover models, according to our 2013 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study. In fact, among the 23 segment award recipients, eight are new or redesigned.

Nearly two-thirds of these newly introduced or redesigned models perform above their . . . Continue Reading New Models, Redesigns Perform Better on 2013 APEAL Study

Chevrolet Dominates in Model Segment-Level IQS Rankings

General Motors models receive the most segment awards for initial quality in the J.D. Power 2013 Initial Quality Study (IQS). The Detroit-based automaker’s Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC nameplates altogether produce 8 of the 26 model-level segment award winners. The next brands with the most problem-free models at the segment level are manufactured by . . . Continue Reading Chevrolet Dominates in Model Segment-Level IQS Rankings

Porsche Earns Highest IQS Ranking; GMC and Chevrolet Make Top Five

Porsche, the luxury brand that is part of Germany’s Volkswagen Group, ranks highest in initial quality among all nameplates included in the J.D. Power 2013 Initial Quality Study. This year, the German premium sporty brand averages 80 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100).

Following Porsche in the initial quality rankings this year is GMC, the . . . Continue Reading Porsche Earns Highest IQS Ranking; GMC and Chevrolet Make Top Five

First-Time Buyers of Compact Cars in Thailand are More Critical of Vehicle Quality

Gerrit Kuyntjes

New-vehicle initial quality in Thailand has slipped slightly this year due to a higher incidence of problems with compact cars, which have become more prevalent in the vehicle mix due to a government eco-car incentive program* and a first-time buyer program,** according to our 2012 Thailand Initial Quality Study (IQS).

Overall initial quality this year averages 116 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), compared with 113 PP100 in 2011. In the IQS, performance is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher vehicle quality. Our 2012 Thailand IQS is based on evaluations from 4,674 new-vehicle buyers during the first two to six months of ownership, and examines more than 200 problem symptoms in eight categories.***

Thailand New-Car Buyer Demographics are Changing Requirements

One reason for this year’s dip in initial quality may be due to changes in the vehicle segment mix and the increased number of first-time buyers. In the 1980s, the Thai government (Ministry of Industry and Board of Investment) created industry policy to encourage OEMs to build pickup trucks with diesel engines in Thailand, according to Tim Dunne, J.D. Power senior global automotive analyst.

He points out that pickups are easier to engineer and manufacture than cars, and diesel engines are more durable and fuel efficient than gasoline engines. Pickup trucks also received favorable tax treatment from the government (lower taxes on pickups compared with passenger cars), which made them much more affordable to Thai consumers. Thailand is the second largest producer of pickups in the world (after the United States), and the largest exporter of pickup trucks in the world, according to our research. Continue reading ›

Domestic Brands Make Inroads in China New-Vehicle APEAL Study

Dr. Mei Songlin

Although international luxury brands—including Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz—still achieve the highest scores in pleasing their new-vehicle owners, China’s domestic brands achieve a historic high in overall vehicle appeal, according to our 2012 China Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, which examines how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive during the first two to six months of ownership.

After making major advances in initial quality this year, China’s domestic brands continue to make strides to narrow the gap with all international brands and earn an average APEAL score of 781 points (on a 1,000-point scale) with significant improvements in two major areas: audio/entertainment/navigation and seats.

It’s noteworthy that the average score for all international brands drops to 839 points from 847 in 2011, due to lower satisfaction in the vehicle exterior and storage and space categories. This drop in the average APEAL score of international brands negatively impacted the overall industry APEAL average score, which slipped 3 points to 822 points from a record high of 825 points in 2011. Continue reading ›

Lexus Earns Highest Initial Quality Score in 2012 China IQS

International luxury brands rank highest in initial quality in China, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2012 China Initial Quality StudySM (IQS). Lexus has the fewest problems per 100 vehicles (PP100)—averaging just 54 PP100, which is 92 fewer problems than the industry average of 146 PP100. Rounding out the top five brands in initial quality are three premium German brands—Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi—and one mass-market brand: Dongfeng Honda.

This year there is global diversity in the model-level rankings. For instance, a Korean automaker and U.S. automaker each earn two model awards in the 10 vehicle segments. Among the 215 models evaluated in the study, Beijing Hyundai and General Motors each earn two model awards this year, while three Japanese brands—Toyota, Honda and Suzuki—each garner one model-level award. German brand BMW also receives one award as does China’s domestic brand Wuling. Continue reading ›

China’s Domestic Automakers Take a Hit, But Not All the News is Bad

Jacob George

After years of significant sales growth and business expansion, China’s domestic automakers have been on the receiving end of bad news in recent months. Some recent examples of stumbling blocks for China’s national automakers include:

• Year-to-date, the combined market share of China’s domestic automakers—which typically accounts for about one-third of annual passenger-vehicle sales—is down nearly 4%, in an overall market that is up 9%.

• In July, an influential automotive industry association predicted that more than half of China’s 48 domestic automotive brands (a majority have only been established in the last dozen years) would be discontinued in the next 3-5 years, principally due to foreign competition.

• In August, two of China’s leading domestic brands were forced to announce vehicle recalls in Australia (due to the affected vehicles containing the banned substance, asbestos). This recall prompted sober admissions of wrongdoing from the offending companies.

Certainly, these setbacks have been disappointing for a young industry racing to catch up with the world’s leading automakers. However, based on progress being made in other facets of the industry, there is still a major reason for optimism among China’s domestic brands. One area in which much progress has been made is initial vehicle quality. Continue reading ›

A Wide Array of Brands Produce Models that Delight Their Owners

David Amodeo

A baker’s dozen of nameplates produce models that earn the highest scores in their segments in each of the award categories in our 2012 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.

Chevrolet receives three of the 22 segment awards—the most of any nameplate in the 2012 APEAL Study—and also the most APEAL awards for the General Motors flagship brand since 1997. Chevrolet models that receive segment awards include two small models and one large pickup: the Avalanche, Sonic and Volt.

Seven more nameplates included in the study each receive two segment awards for models with the highest index scores in their categories. In alphabetical order, the nameplates with top-ranked models in two segments are: Audi, Dodge, Ford, Kia, Mini, Nissan, and Porsche. Also receiving highest-ranking model awards at the segment level for one model each are: BMW, Infiniti, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen. Continue reading ›