U.S. own­ers sur­vey

Toy­ota gets most awards yet, Lexus and Porsche share top spot

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - ALWYN VILJOEN

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.

Most com­plaints

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.

Low­est-ranked mod­els

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).

PHOTO: FILE

Own­ers of the 2014 Porsche Panam­era GTS (top) and own­ers of the Lexus RC 350 re­port few faults.

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