Vehicles are continuing to improve in initial quality
J.D. Power released its latest Initial Quality Study and found that new-vehicle quality is the highest it has ever been.
Grading is done by measuring the number of problems per 100 vehicles experienced within the first 90 days of ownership. J.D. Power’s study found that quality improved in seven of eight categories and 27 of 33 brands improved their quality from last year.
The boost, said Dave Sargent, J.D. Power’s vice president of global automotive, can be credited to car makers listening to their customers in order to produce better quality vehicles. “The industry has improved significantly in each of the past three years,” he added. “Today’s vehicles have more things that could go wrong but fewer things that actually do go wrong.”
The only category to worsen in this year’s study, J.D. Power said, was features, controls and displays, which may be an early warning bell for autonomous vehicles. The study found that features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, collision avoidance/alert systems and blind spot warning saw the largest increase in problems.
“These features comprise some of the building blocks of autonomous vehicles, and an increasing number of consumer-reported problems sounds warning bells for automakers and suppliers,” J.D. Power’s announcement said. “Consumers will need to be convinced that these systems are foolproof before they will give up driving control to autonomous vehicles.”
Meanwhile, audio/communication/entertainment/navigation saw the most problems, but is a category that has improved the most, the study found. And domestic brands have outperformed imports for the second year in a row and the third time since the start of the study in 1987.
Kia ranked the highest in overall initial quality, the second year in a row it has done so.