Study finds slight decline in vehicle dependability
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.