The latest annual Ipsos Vehicle Quality Survey reveals what issues South Africans are likely to face with their cars based both on type and segment.
According to Ipsos, the quality of the cars and light commercials sold in South Africa has improved to such a degree in recent years that it has revamped its scoring system for the survey.
Ipsos obtained data based on telephonic interviews conducted in 2015 with more than 8,000 owners of 17 different brands.
These participating brands represent more than 77% of new vehicles sold in South Africa via the Dealership channel in 2015.
“We changed our approach and the methodology used in this annual survey in 2015 because we, as a syndicate, were finding that a high proportion of inherent vehicle design issues and shortcomings were not being reported and that the frequency of these complaints had increased over the past few years,” said Patrick Busschau, the Ipsos Automotive Business Unit director.
“This is actually a credit to the industry because the issues that bother customers nowadays are more likely related to their individual expectations around the product experience as opposed to straight and simple defects which are rated on a scale of the number of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100).”
Ipsos said that the quality of vehicles being produced today is very high with very few significant problems. “Admittedly there are many more product recalls by the manufacturers these days, but most of these are precautionary and provide the dealer and manufacturer with the opportunity to show their commitment to customer satisfaction by handling the recall well,” Busschau said.
Ipsos said it has changed its measurement to allow for the design issues to be incorporated into the measurement index figure. “However, there is a weighting applied where actual quality defects have a slightly higher impact on the customer experience and so a proportionately greater impact on the scoring,” it said.
“We believe that measuring perceived vehicle quality needs to be done in a holistic manner in order to keep pace with the evolving requirements and desires of customers,” said Busschau.
This means that the latest round of scores, for 2015, can no longer be compared with previous years. For instance, the average PP100 score is now 64, whereas it was 37 in 2014 and 39 in 2013.
Adding in the design issues aspect of the measurement the average combined vehicle quality score moves up to 81.
The researchers at Ipsos then drilled down into these scores to analyse the results in order to come up with the most common problem areas per segment, of which there are 16 covering cars and light commercials.
According to Ipsos, the main problems in each of the segments relate to the exterior of the vehicle, from windows, boot lids, bonnets, vibrations, wheels and tyres to locking and paint.
Engines are generally the second most common source of complaints, with noise, performance and consumption the problem areas.
Some of the segments highlighted air-conditioning and heaters, as well as infotainment, driving and braking as the source of problems.
The third most common complaints were largely around driving and braking, as well as infotainment, engine (noise and performance), and transmission, it said.