Study finds slight de­cline in ve­hi­cle depend­abil­ity

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - MOTORING - By XU XIAO xux­iao@chi­

Over­all ve­hi­cle depend­abil­ity in China de­clined slightly in 2013, ac­cord­ing to a study by in­dus­try an­a­lyst JD Power.

Now in its fourth year, the 2013 depend­abil­ity study mea­sured prob­lems ex­pe­ri­enced dur­ing the past six months by the orig­i­nal buy­ers of ve­hi­cles af­ter 25 to 36 months of own­er­ship.

It sur­veyed 202 po­ten­tial prob­lems across eight cat­e­gories.

Mei Songlin, vice- pres­i­dent of JD Power China, said both do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional brands should be on alert about the ris­ing num­ber of prob­lems, even if in­crease is small.

“Now it is time for the Chi­nese au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try to shift its fo­cus to long-term depend­abil­ity,” he said.

“Con­sis­tent ef­forts in im­prov­ing ve­hi­cle dura­bil­ity will likely pay off in terms of cus­tomer per­cep­tions in due time and cre­ate mar­ket dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion,” he ex­plained.

He added that long-term depend­abil­ity has be­come a prom­i­nent chal­lenge for the in­dus­try, par­tic­u­larly af­ter the na­tion’s auto war­ranty pol­icy took ef­fect on Oct 1 this year.

The most fre­quently re­ported prob­lems in 2013 in­clude bro­ken or im­prop­erly work­ing wind­shield wipers or wash­ers, noisy brakes, loss of en­gine power when air con­di­tion­ing is turned on and ex­ces­sive wind noise.

Those find­ings are con­sis­tent with re­sults of ve­hi­cle depend­abil­ity stud­ies in the pre­vi­ous two years.

Many depend­abil­ity is­sues are also sim­i­lar to those re­ported in the JD Power study on ini­tial qual­ity that mea­sures prob­lems dur­ing the first two to six months of

prob­lems were mea­sured own­er­ship. The depend­abil­ity study found that the most com­monly re­placed com­po­nents were head­lights, horns and in­te­rior lights.

“Re­duc­ing the rate of com­po­nent re­place­ment is crit­i­cal for au­tomak­ers, be­cause the in­crease of com­po­nent re­place­ment will likely re­sult in more cus­tomer com­plaints and harm brand loy­alty,” said Tony Zhou, di­rec­tor of au­to­mo­tive re­search at JD Power China.

Ac­cord­ing to the study, among own­ers who did not ex­pe­ri­ence any ve­hi­cle prob­lems, 31 per­cent said they “def­i­nitely would” rec­om­mend the ve­hi­cle to fam­ily mem­bers and friends.

Only 19 per­cent of those who had one or more prob­lems said they would do so.

The 2013 depend­abil­ity study used feed­back from 17,883 own­ers of ve­hi­cles pur­chased be­tween June 2010 and Au­gust 2011.

The study cov­ered 161 mod­els from 59 dif­fer­ent brands.

It was fielded be­tween June and Septem­ber in 27 Chi­nese cities.

Among all the brands sam­pled, Lexus ranked the first in over­all depend­abil­ity.

Cadil­lac was rated the sec­ond, fol­lowed by Volvo, BMW and Hyundai.

Two lo­cal Chi­nese brands

Con­sis­tent ef­forts in im­prov­ing ve­hi­cle dura­bil­ity will likely pay off in terms of cus­tomer per­cep­tions in due time and cre­ate mar­ket dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion.” VICE-PRES­I­DENT JD POWER CHINA

— Bao­jun and MG — per­formed above the in­dus­try av­er­age, with Bao­jun rank­ing 12th and MG 15th.

Mod­els by Ja­panese brands ranked the high­est in four of the 10 seg­ments clas­si­fied in the study.

Lo­cal Chi­nese brands led in three seg­ments, while the Sino- US joint ven­ture Shang­hai GM cham­pi­oned in two seg­ments.

BMW took the lead in one seg­ment.

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