J.D. Power finds first drop in vehicle reliability in 15 years
2014 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study shows increase in problems due to more 4-cylinder engines.
While new cars are getting better fuel economy, they may also be less reliable because of it. That’s the takeaway from the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, which found a 6 percent increase in problems reported, the first such rise in more than 15 years.
According to J.D. Power, the reason falls on more efficient, smaller 4-cylinder engines.
“Automakers are continually looking for ways to improve fuel economy” David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power, said in a statement, “which is a primary purchase motivator for many consumers, particularly those buying smaller vehicles. However, while striving to reduce fuel consumption, automakers must be careful not to compromise quality.”
For the 2014 study, now in its 25th year, J.D. Power surveyed 41,000 original owners of 2011 model-year vehicles between October and December 2013. The research firm asked about problems experienced with a vehicle within the past 12 months. It then calculated dependability by examining the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles.
The study revealed an overall average dependability of 133 problems per 100 cars and a 6 percent increase in reported engine and transmission problems -- the first since 1998. This accounted for the majority of the average 7-point increase versus 2013. The 2014 study also found that problem levels increased by nearly 10 points in vehicles with 4-cylinder engines.
“These smaller engines, as well as large diesel engines, tend to be more problematic than 5- and 6-cylinder engines, for which owners report fewer problems, on average,” J.D. Power and Associates said in a statement.
Broken down by brand, Lexus outperformed its closest rival by an impressive margin, at 68 problems per 100 cars, with Mercedes-Benz coming in second at 104 and Cadillac third with 107. General Motors led the vehicle segment awards with eight winners in the study, more than any other automaker. Toyota had seven segment awards and Honda earned six. See below for the full list of winners.
According to J.D. Power, these numbers not only give automakers bragging rights but also translate to sales. Its research shows that 56 percent of owners who reported no problems purchased the same brand for their next new vehicle, whereas brand loyalty dropped to 42 percent when owners reported three or more problems.
Highest-ranked 2011 cars from the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study:
Subcompact: Honda Fit
Compact: Chevrolet Volt
Compact Premium: Lexus ES
Compact Sporty: MINI Cooper
Midsize: Toyota Camry
Midsize Sporty: Chevrolet Camaro
Midsize Premium: Lexus GS
Large: Buick Lucerne
Highest-ranked 2011 SUVs, vans and pickups from the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study:
Subcompact SUV: Honda Element
Compact SUV: Honda CR-V
Compact Premium SUV: Acura RDX
Compact MPV (Wagon): Scion xB
Midsize SUV: Honda Crosstour
Midsize Premium SUV: Lexus RX
Midsize Pickup: Honda Ridgeline
Minivan: Toyota Sienna
Large SUV: GMC Yukon
Large Premium SUV: Cadillac Escalade
Large Light-Duty Pickup: GMC Sierra 1500
Large Heavy-Duty Pickup: GMC Sierra 2500 and up
[Source: J.D. Power and Associates]
Does this survey take into consideration the temperament of the owner? I know lots of people who will complain about a supposed issue that I don't see as an issue. Do they screen the participants in the survey with some sort of quick psychological test?
Lastly, I guarantee you the majority of Lexus owner will not admit his/her car has an issue simply because of vanity.
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