Vehicle Quality Continues To Improve, J.D. Power Finds


New-vehicle quality continues to improve, with Genesis, Kia and Hyundai taking top-spots in the recent J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Initial Quality Study.

The study measures vehicle quality by the by the number of problems experienced per 100 (PP100) vehicles during the first 90 days of ownership, with a lower score reflecting higher quality.

In this year’s study, quality improves across six of the eight categories measured, with 21 of the 31 brands included in the study improving their quality from 2017. The industry average of 93 PP100 is 4 PP100 better than in 2017.

“There’s no question that most automakers are doing a great job of listening to consumers and are producing vehicle quality of the highest caliber,” said Dave Sargent, vice-president of global automotive at J.D. Power. “That said, some vehicle owners are still finding problems. As vehicles become more complex and automated, it is critical that consumers have complete confidence in automakers’ ability to deliver fault-free vehicles.”

Some of the key findings in the study found that of the eight categories measured, vehicle exterior improved the most, now at 15.2 PP100, compared with 16.6 PP100 in 2017. Improvements include less wind noise and fewer paint imperfections. Significant year-over-year improvements also occur in the seats and vehicle interior categories. Also, domestic vehicle makers showed marked improvements in vehicle quality this year, and vehicle infotainment problems continue to decrease.

However, the study did find that problems persist with diver assistance systems.

“As we look to the future, avoiding problems with safety and driver assistance technology is critical,” said Sargent. “In an era of increasingly automated vehicles, vehicle owners have to be comfortable using foundational technologies like lane keep assistance and collision avoidance. Otherwise, automakers will not easily overcome consumer resistance to fully automated (driverless) cars.”

The top-performing vehicle brands this year were the Genesis that ranked highest in overall initial quality with a score of 68 PP100. Kia followed with a 72 PP100 and Hyundai with a 74 PP100 took third place.