Power Seats with Manual Lumbar Support Hampers Seat Satisfaction


Mike VanNieuwkuyk

Although a small percentage (less than 5%) of new vehicles are equipped with power seats that have manually adjustable lumbar support, new-vehicle owners with those seats experience more problems with the lumbar support adjustment than do owners of vehicles equipped with all-power seat controls, according to our 2013 Seat Quality and Satisfaction Study.

Problem incidence of power seats with a manual lumbar support averages 1.9 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) vs. just 0.4 PP100 for owners with all-power seat controls. Satisfaction among owners of vehicles equipped with power seats that have manual lumbar adjustments also is slightly lower on average—8.2 (on a 10-point scale)—compared with 8.4 for owners of fully powered seats.

Even those new-vehicle owners with all manual seat controls experience a lower average number of lumbar adjustment problems (1.1 PP100) compared with owners with power seats and manually adjustable lumbar support. However, overall satisfaction for owners with seats with all-manual seat controls is lowest (7.9 on a 10-point scale). 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

Premium Brands Earn Higher APEAL Scores; Land Rover Range Rover Ranks Highest

David Amodeo

David Amodeo

A new feature of our redesigned 2013 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study is the division and ranking of APEAL performance into two major categories: Premium and Non-Premium Brands.

At the industry level, the APEAL score averages 795 points on a 1,000-point scale. With our change in segment designations, the Premium segment average is 844 points and the Non-Premium segment average is 786.

As it has for the past nine years, Porsche leads all brands in the nameplate rankings and earns a score of 884 points, which also means it ranks highest in the Premium category. Rounding out the top five premium brands are, respectively: Audi (857); BMW (854); and Land Rover (853), followed by Lexus and Mercedes-Benz in a tie (847). The highest-ranking domestic premium brand in the study is Cadillac at No. 7.

In the Non-Premium segment, for the first time, Chrysler Group’s Ram nameplate is the most appealing brand with a score of 817. Ram is followed by Volkswagen (809); MINI (801); Buick (800) and Kia (797) in the Non-Premium category. All of these mass-market brands receive scores that are above the industry average of 795 points. Continue reading ›

New Duty will Likely Not Impact Chinese Consumers Who Want Luxury Imports

Tim Dunne

I appreciated recent comments from one of our readers, Tim S. from Wisconsin, about a post “New China Duty Only Impacts Makers of Vehicles with Larger Engines” on the minimal impact of a new duty that has been imposed by the Chinese government on cars imported from the U.S.

I want to address some of the reader’s questions and concerns.

First, what percentage of vehicles with larger engines are produced in China by General Motors and Ford? Between GM and Ford, approximately 99% of the vehicles they produced in China in 2011 were fitted with sub-2.5-liter engines.

As for GM and Ford vehicles that are exported to China from the U.S., I would guess (the data is not readily available) that nearly the opposite is true, and that nearly all are fitted with engines greater than 2.5 liters. But let’s put things into perspective: In 2011, GM and Ford built and sold nearly 1.6 million vehicles in China, but their combined exports to China from the U.S. were only some 35,000 vehicles (or a ratio of 50-to-1 of locally built vs. imported vehicles.) Continue reading ›

Honda Receives Most Model-Level Initial Quality Awards in 2011

Jon Sundberg

Honda captures a total of seven model-level initial quality awards—the most of any brand this year, and the most for the Japanese automaker in any given year—according to results of the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS). Lexus, which receives four model-level awards, is also the brand with the highest-performing model in the industry—the LS. Chevrolet, Ford and Mercedes-Benz receive two awards each, while Cadillac, Chrysler, Dodge and Mazda each receive one award. Continue reading ›

Initial Quality of Carryover Models Better than Ever

Overall initial quality of new cars and light trucks in the United States has improved from 2010, averaging just 107 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) vs. 109 PP100 in 2010 (a lower PP100 score equates to higher quality). However, there is a 10% decline in the initial quality of launch models—those that are all-new or have had a major redesign—compared with 2010, based on results from our 2011 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS). Our IQS is based on responses from more than 73,000 purchasers or lessees of new 2011 model-year vehicles and asks about problems experienced during the first 90 days of ownership.

David Sargent

Data from the study indicates that the average PP100 score for launch models in 2011 jumps to 122 PP100, up from 111 PP100 in 2010 (initial quality of launch models had improved every year from 2007 to 2010). Conversely, carryover models—those not receiving significant updates for the 2011 model year—have better initial quality than ever before.

Of 42 all-new or redesigned light-vehicle models that are rank-eligible in the 2011 IQS, only seven rank among the top three in their respective award segment. The seven include the following: Acura TSX (Total), Chevrolet Camaro (Total), Dodge Durango, Honda Odyssey, Hyundai Equus, Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe/Convertible (Total), and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan/Wagon (Total). In 2010, 17 all-new or redesigned models ranked among the top three of their respective award segment. Only one launch model, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe/Convertible (Total), receives a segment award (vs. five launch models in 2010). Continue reading ›