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J.D. Power released the results of its latest Initial Quality Study at this month’s Automotive Press Association luncheon in Detroit. The survey had some very surprising results.
Six of the Top 10 Least Reliable Cars and Trucks on the road are Ford products. At least, that’s according to data provided by Consumer Reports, a non-profit organization that tests everything from toasters to homeowner’s insurance. This lopsided result has raised a lot of questions, like: Are Blue-Oval vehicles really that troublesome or is Consumer Reports’ survey methodology flawed?
Since its founding in 1936, Consumer Reports has become the go-to source for shoppers. From new refrigerators to bottles of wine, Blue-ray players to homeowner’s insurance, if it’s on the market it’s likely the non-profit organization has scientifically tested it. Of course the consumer watchdog is probably most famous for its vehicle reliability ratings.
Bottom 10 Vehicles with the Largest Declines Dependability
Quality is an ever-moving target; it’s something automakers have to constantly monitor. And like the Mongol hordes conquering vast swaths of Asia in the 13th century, problems can easily overwhelm an unsuspecting company’s defenses. Like arrows toppling a mighty war elephant, just a few small issues can devastate even the most reliable vehicle on the road. To keep these nomadic defects at bay, engineers and product planners must remain vigilant.
Along with Consumer Reports, J.D. Power is one of the major firms that tracks automotive quality. Its annual Vehicle Dependability Study is highly anticipated by OEMs and media alike. Think of it as a report card for automakers.
For nearly a quarter-century the study has kept a careful eye on quality by tracking problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). It measures things that have gone wrong with 3-year-old cars and trucks as reported by their original owners.
Like America’s Most Wanted, J.D. power has just released a list of 10 vehicles that have suffered the largest declines in quality. These vehicles have had the greatest year-over-year increase in PP100. Some of the cars and trucks on the list may really surprise you.
User satisfaction with factory-installed navigation systems is on the decline while the number of drivers turning to their smartphone for directions is rising.
General Motors wants your money, but it wants you to feel good about handing it over which is why the car giant combined its product quality and customer experience organizations under one leader: Alicia Boler-Davis.
A press release titled “F-150 wins Best Value Award” might seem pretty simple, but the eighth annual “Best Value in America” award isn’t quite as clear. Vinventric, the company bestowing the award, has the full story on its site. It seems that Ford did in fact win, but not to the extent the Ford press release might suggest.
In fact, Chevrolet won the award for “Best Value Truck Brand.” Meanwhile on the Ford press site, the release reads “F-150 beat out Chevrolet Silverado for the second year in a row.”
While Ford did actually win the half-ton segment, Chevrolet won overall and didn’t so much as bother to announce the victory on its site.
“Our awards take into account all costs involved with owning a vehicle, which enables consumers to understand automotive value and measure the impact that owning a specific vehicle will have on their financial situation,” stated David Wurster, President of Vincentric.
Among those costs, Vincentric considers depreciation, fees and taxes, financing, fuel, insurance, maintenance, opportunity cost and repairs.
Kia will hold off on expanding its production facilities and sales targets in favor of improving the quality of its vehicles, CEO Lee Sam-ung told Automotive News at a launch event for its new Rio hatchback.
“Quantitative growth is important, but qualitative growth is also important. We plan to focus on improving product quality and our brand,” said Sam-ung. Industry analysts worry that limited production capacity will be the biggest factor stunting Kia’s future growth. Sam-ung set a goal of 2.5 million vehicles sold in 2011, and wants to boost Rio sales from 110,000 in 2011 to 260,000 in 2012.
Sam-ung also said that Kia will get an all-electric compact car in 2015, one year after Hyundai launches their own model.
[Source: Automotive News]
Despite poor showings in various quality surveys, not to mention anecdotal evidence abound, Volkswagen is tackling its vehicle quality problems head on, and is openly discussing the steps it will take to remedy them.
The J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey, regarded as the gold standard among industry types, pegged VW at 29th out of 32 brands, a poor showing for a company eager to sell 800,000 vehicles per year in the United States by 2018.
Volkswagen said that its warranty costs were down by 10 percent last year, and are on track for the same figure this year – a figure that’s adjusted for a new free maintenance program and a shorter warranty term. VW will be looking to improve its score on the J.D. Power survey, which includes not just defects but consumer complaints about functioning parts of the vehicle – a criteria that some automakers have begun criticizing.
[Source: USA Today]
In a reversal of previous trends, domestic brands reported fewer aggregate quality problems than import brands for the first time in the history of J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Survey.
Domestic vehicles reported 108 problems per 100 vehicles, compared to 109 problems per 100 vehicles for imports – not a very wide margin, but an important step for domestic vehicles. Leading the domestics rise to the top was Ford, with 12 models leading their respective categories, while General Motors had 10 models leading their segments. Overall, Porsche was the big winner, with a mere 83 problems per 100 vehicles followed by Acura and Mercedes-Benz.
The big losers for 2010 were Toyota, which finished 21st with 117 problems per 100 vehicles and Land Rover, which finished dead last with 170 problems per 100 vehicles. Dodge cars reported 130 problems per 100 vehicles, a fairly poor showing, but its Ram trucks reported a respectable 110 problems per 100 vehicles, just below the industry average.
[Source: Auto Observer]