The Initial Quality Study (IQS) released by J.D Power and Associates each year measures vehicle quality at 90 days of ownership. Problems experienced by vehicle owners are separated into two categories: quality of design and quality of production (defects and malfunctions).
“Over the past 20 years, the automotive industry has improved in quality at a rate of 6% per year on average—a 20-year improvement rate of more than 120%,” the report states, adding that every seven to eight years, problem counts have been reduced by 50%.
Since J.D. Power ratings are based on consumer feedback, quality ratings reflect personal experience of consumers, which other new-vehicle buyers take into consideration when buying their next vehicle. Nearly one in four new-vehicle buyers have said that personal experience and advice from others who have owned the considered vehicles influences buying decisions.
In fact, recent AutoPacific new-vehicle buyer data shows that vehicle quality, dependability and reliability were the most important characteristics that swayed new-vehicle purchases. With this in mind, vehicle ratings, such as those released by J.D. Power, could indicate what consumers will drive in the future.
This year, Ford Motor Company received five top-model segment awards, more than any other automaker. In fact, 14 Ford Motor Company models placed in the top three of their respective segments. Ford’s Lincoln nameplate received two segment awards and improved from a ranking of 12th in 2006 to 3rd this year.
According to J.D. Power, “vehicle redesigns and product launches create quality challenges for manufacturers as they continue to develop and introduce new and advanced automotive technologies. On average, a vehicle redesign increases problem counts by 10 problems per 100 (PP100) vehicles.” This year’s study is based on responses from more than 97,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2007 model-year cars and trucks.
The following are some of the highlights of the 2007 IQS:
- Mercedes-Benz captured three segment awards. The E-Class, SL-Class and S-Class received honors. The S-Class tied with the Audi A8 for having the fewest quality problems in the industry, with 72 problems per 100 vehicles—an improvement of 63 PP100 for the S-Class. Mercedes-Benz improved its nameplate rank by 20 positions, the greatest increase for any nameplate in the study.
- Toyota also received awards for three segments with the 4Runner, Sequoia and Tacoma.
- Porsche tops the overall nameplate rankings for the second year in a row with 91 PP100.
- Honda has the fewest problems per 100 among non-premium brands and improved in the rankings from 6th to 4th. The automaker earned awards for the Civic and CR-V.
- Kia improved from 24th to 12th in the rankings, earning an award for the Rio/Rio5.
- Other nameplates recognized for quality were the Chevrolet Express and Silverado Classic HD; Lexus RX350/RX400h; Pontiac Grand Prix; and Porsche Boxster.
- The most improved nameplates are Land Rover, Saab and Mercedes-Benz.
Awards were also given for assembly plant quality. The study reveals that for the first time since 1999, a North American assembly plant, Ford’s Wixom assembly plant in Michigan, received the Platinum Plant Quality Award for producing vehicles yielding the fewest defects. The following are highlights for the Assembly Plant Awards:
Image Courtesy J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Initial Quality Study
Source: “J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Ford Motor Company Captures Most Awards in 2007 Initial Quality Study,” J.D. Power and Associates. Retrieved June 7, 2007 from www.jdpower.com.