J.D. Power, a provider of consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics, published its 2018 US Initial Quality Study (IQS), showing that new-vehicle quality has improved for a fourth consecutive year – by 4% from 2017 – reaching its best level ever.
Initial quality is measured by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100) during the first 90 days of ownership, with a lower score reflecting higher quality.
In this year’s study, quality improves across six of the eight categories measured, with 21 of the 31 brands included in the study improving their quality from 2017. The industry average of 93 PP100 is 4 PP100 better than in 2017.
Porsche 911 posts best score of any model: The Porsche 911 has the lowest overall problem level (48 PP100) of any model this year.
All domestic corporations improve faster than the industry: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (7 PP100 improvement), Ford Motor Company (5 PP100 improvement) and General Motors (5 PP100 improvement) all outpace the industry average rate of improvement (4 PP100).
Infotainment problems are decreasing: Audio/Communication/Entertainment/Navigation (ACEN) remains the most problematic category for new-vehicle owners. However, this area has improved for the third consecutive year, led by fewer problems with built-in voice recognition systems.
J.D. Power pointed out that vehicles in the 2018 study are manufactured in 25 countries, including South Africa – 11 of which weren’t present in the study five years ago.
It noted that as automakers add more advanced driver assistance systems to their vehicles, more consumers are experiencing problems. The level is still low (3.5 PP100 on average), but has been increasing by about 20% a year for the past three years.
“As we look to the future, avoiding problems with safety and driver assistance technology is critical,” the report said. “In an era of increasingly automated vehicles, vehicle owners have to be comfortable using foundational technologies like lane keep assistance and collision avoidance. Otherwise, automakers will not easily overcome consumer resistance to fully automated (driverless) cars.”
Highest-Ranked Brands and Models:
- Genesis (not found in SA) ranks highest in overall initial quality with a score of 68 PP100. Kia ranks second and Hyundai ranks third. This is the first time that three Korean brands are at the top of the overall ranking, and it is the fourth consecutive year that Kia is the highest-ranking Mass Market brand. Porsche ranks fourth and Ford ranks fifth.
- Mazda is the most-improved brand, with owners reporting 25 PP100 fewer problems than in 2017. Other brands with strong improvements include Mitsubishi, Cadillac, Infiniti, Hyundai and Lexus.
The parent company receiving the most model-level awards for its various brands is Ford Motor Company (five awards), followed by Hyundai Motor Group (four), and BMW, General Motors and Nissan (three each).
- Ford Motor Company models that rank highest in their respective segments are Ford Expedition; Ford Mustang; Ford Super Duty; Lincoln Continental; and Lincoln MKC.
- Hyundai Motor Group models that rank highest in their segments are Genesis G90; Hyundai Tucson; Kia Rio; and Kia Sorento.
- General Motors models that rank highest in their segments are Buick Envision; Chevrolet Silverado; and Chevrolet Silverado HD.
- BMW models that rank highest in their segments are BMW 4 Series; BMW X1; and BMW X6.
- Nissan models that rank highest in their segments are Nissan Altima; Nissan Frontier; and Nissan Maxima.
Other models that rank highest in their respective segments are Acura ILX, Dodge Grand Caravan, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Toyota Corolla.
The 2018 US Initial Quality Study is based on responses from 75,712 purchasers and lessees of new 2018 model-year vehicles who were surveyed after 90 days of ownership.