Lexus tops J.D. Power Quality Study, Infotainment Systems Decline Overall

Lexus is taking top honors for the second year running in J.D. Power and Associates’ “Initial Quality Study,” though second place is shared between Jaguar and Porsche for a marginally-worse score.

Recognized for its quality test ratings, J.D. Power and Associates conducts the annual study and asks consumers to report problems they experience during the first 90 days of ownership that “caused a complete breakdown or malfunction, or where controls or features may work as designed, but are difficult to use or understand.”

Initial car quality rose 5 percent over last year while 14 brands recieved segment awards. Additionally, 65 percent of the models ranked in both last and this year made improvements.

“While in past years a handful of brands tended to collect numerous segment awards, 14 different brands receive segment awards in 2012–this is only the second time in the history of the study that so many different brands achieved award status,” said J.D. Power global automotive vice president David Sargent. “This is a positive indication of how widespread high quality is among automakers, with most brands producing a number of models with exceptional quality levels.”

Despite overall quality rising, the study also found a strong downward trend in audio, entertainment and navigation systems. It seems the dramatic increase in premium technology features for mainstream cars is responsible for a 24 percent quality dip since 2006.

“Until recently, this type of sophisticated technology was found primarily on high-end models,” Sargent said. “However, over the past few years it has rapidly found its way into the automotive mainstream. For example, in 2012, more than 80 percent of owners indicate that their new vehicle has some form of hands-free technology.”

For full details on how every brand did, see the chart below.