U.S. owners survey
Toyota gets most awards yet, Lexus and Porsche share top spot
THE latest JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study in the U.S., now in its 28th year, saw Toyota get 10 of the 18 segment awards — the highest number of awards yet to one group in the study.
The study covered 177 specific problems grouped into eight major vehicle categories and JD Power staff called 35 186 owners to ask about problems experienced in their three-year-old vehicles — 2014 models in this case
They determine overall dependability by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100). A lower score shows higher quality.
The 10 top-selling 2014 model year vehicles had 134 complaints per 100 people, which is significantly better than the industry average of 156 PP100.
Two perennial best sellers — the Ford F-150 and the Toyota Camry — again lead their segments with satisfied owners this year.
“We find buyers are increasingly avoiding models with poor reputations for dependability, so manufacturers can’t afford to let quality slip, particularly on their best sellers,” said Dave Sargent, vice president, global automotive at JD Power.
The group has found that in addition to impacting on purchase decisions and brand loyalty, better long-term quality is a key factor in contributing to higher resale values for vehicles.
JD Power estimates that Toyota — the highest-ranked nonpremium brand in the study — has a residual values benefit of more than $750 (R9 729) per vehicle, compared with the average brand. This translates into a benefit of more than $1,3 billion for the 2014 model year in the U.S. market.
With an average of just 110 PP100 cars, Lexus and Porsche tied for top spot on the list, well clear of Toyota (123), Buick (126) and Mercedes-Benz (131).
Hyundai (133 PP100) was the most improved nameplate in the study, improving by 25 PP100 from 2016. At sixth position (up from 19th in 2016), this was Hyundai’s best ranking yet.
Jaguar surprised with 144, only one spot behind Honda (143) on the list, while Land Rover (178) proved more reliable than Ford and Jeep.
A total of 22% of the owners had audio, communication, entertainment, navigation (ACEN) complaints, up from 20% last year. For a third consecutive year, the problems most reported by owners were Bluetooth pairing/ connectivity and built-in voice recognition misinterpreting the commands.
New to the top-10 list of problems reported in 2017 was battery failure. In fact, 44% more owners reported a battery failure this year than in 2016.
Batteries were the most frequently replaced component not related to normal wear and tear in three-year-old vehicles, at 6,1% — up 1,3 percentage points from 2016.
Four of the bottom five marques were part of the Fiat Chrysler Group. Fiat owners (298) suffer 89 more problems than Jeep (209) in second-last place. Ford (183) didn’t fare much better, falling well short of average (156).
Owners of the 2014 Porsche Panamera GTS (top) and owners of the Lexus RC 350 report few faults.