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Auto Quality Problems on the Rise, According to Latest J.D. Power IQS

High-tech problems worsen – but weather also created headaches.

by on Jun.18, 2014

Cars like the Porsche Panamera helped position the German maker as the top brand in the 2014 IQS.

While they’re not necessarily connected, the sudden surge in recalls this year comes at the same time the overall quality of new cars, trucks and crossovers has shown an unexpected decline, according to the latest, widely followed J.D. Power Initial Quality Study.

Automakers seem to be having a lot of trouble getting all-new vehicles into production without launch problems, noted the 2014 IQS. Some of the biggest headaches are the result of the latest high-tech gadgetry that has becoming a must on today’s new vehicles. But the report also suggests that the harsh weather that has plagued much of the country over the last year has contributed to some of the problems, especially when it comes to engine and climate control systems.

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“Automakers are trying to give consumers the new features and technology they want without introducing additional quality problems into their vehicles,” said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power. “However, almost all automakers are struggling to do this flawlessly with some consumers indicating that the technology is hard to understand, difficult to use, or simply does not always work as designed.”


Porsche Top Brand in New Ideal Vehicle Awards

Ford leads with seven product wins.

by on Aug.16, 2011

Porsche's iconic 911 snags the top rating in the latest Ideal Vehicle Awards.

Porsche topped the chart as the most desirable brand in the latest Ideal Vehicle Awards from AutoPacific, Inc., but Ford claimed victory of its own by capturing more individual segment wins than any other manufacturer.

The annual IVA is an effort by the California consultancy to go beyond traditional automotive quality surveys – which traditionally focus on what are known, in the industry, as “Things-Gone-Wrong,” or TGWs.  These days, there’s a relatively modest gap when it comes to such problems between even the best and worst makers.  So the Ideal Vehicle Awards balance quality problems with the sort of features that surprise and delight customers – such as comfort, ride and handling, fuel economy and performance.

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“This research recognizes the vehicles that owners want to change the least. In other words, the vehicles that already match their owner’s demands,” explained AutoPacific President George Peterson.

Porsche, which typically does well when it comes to classic Things-Gone-Wrong surveys, also topped the Ideal Vehicle chart – for the fourth time since 2008.  But in a significant illustration of how initial quality isn’t always the final word for customers, Chrysler was tops among mainstream brands.  The maker has shown improvement in recent quality surveys – such as the widely-quoted J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey — but still lags the industry average.


Detroit Taking Quality Lead, Reports JD Power

"This year may mark a key turning point."

by on Jun.17, 2010

The solid performance of new models like the 2010 Mustang and Focus helped Ford earn the rank of top mainstream brand in the 2010 J.D. Power IQS.

For the first time in its history, the influential J.D. Power Initial Quality Study shows that domestic auto brands have, overall, pushed past their import rivals.

Detroit makers, on the whole, showed substantial improvement in the 2010 IQS, which measured out-of-the-factory quality for the latest crop of cars, trucks and crossovers.  Ford, in particular, dominates the latest study, and nudges aside such stalwarts as Honda and Toyota to rank as the highest-quality mainstream brand.

The results reflect the impact of recent events, including Toyota’s safety-related recalls.  But the findings also come in sharp contrast to public perception in the wake of last year’s bankruptcies by two of Detroit’s Big Three, Power officials note.

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“This year may mark a key turning point for U.S. brands as they continue to fight the battle against lingering negative perceptions of their quality,” suggests David Sargent, Power’s vice president of global vehicle research.


Porsche Recalling All Panameras

Faulty seatbelt tensioner to blame.

by on Apr.29, 2010

Knocked off its pedestal? The 2010 Porsche Panamera is recalled for faulty seatbelt tensioners.

Porsche is recalling all 11,300 of the Panamera sports cars it has so far sold due a potentially faulty seatbelt tensioner.

The problem with the maker’s first-ever four-door comes as an embarrassing stutter in the launch of the long-awaited Panamera – and an even more troubling setback for a brand that had been steadily climbing to the top of the automotive quality charts, in recent years.

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Porsche’s announcement coincided with the latest in the ongoing series of recalls by Toyota, which announced it will have to make repairs to an electronic control system on 50,000 of its 2003-model Sequoia SUVs.


Imports Retain Lead – but Detroit’s Big Three Closing Quality Gap Fast

Lexus and parent Toyota again top new J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey.

by on Jun.22, 2009

Detroit's Big Three makers made huge strides in quality, according to the latest J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey, but the single highest-quality product was the Lexus LX sport-utility vehicle.

Detroit's Big Three makers made huge strides in quality, according to the latest J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey, but the single highest-quality product was the Lexus LX sport-utility vehicle.

Despite distracting financial problems, Detroit’s Big Three automakers showed a substantial improvement in off-the-assembly-line quality, according to the latest Initial Quality Survey by automotive gurus J.D. Power and Associates.

Chrysler, Ford and General Motors’ various brands scored a collective 10% improvement on the closely-watched 2009 IQS, though the industry, as a whole, experienced significant improvements.  That means that while the so-called quality gap is closing, imports once again retain the lead.

Among the 37 brands included in the yearly quality report, long-dominant Lexus again took the number one spot with an average of just 84 problems reported per 100 vehicles, (or 84 PP100).  Porsche, which had led the list for the last two years, slipped into the number two spot, while Cadillac jumped from 10th to 3rd.  Significantly, the Korean maker, Hyundai, surged to the 4th position, a major gain for a manufacturer long relegated to the bottom end of the quality charts.

The industry average, for 2009, came to 108 problems – down from 118, last year – which works out to just slightly more than one per vehicle, though Mini, the lowest-ranked maker, suffered from 165 PP100.

“It’s fair to say that new vehicle quality is better than it’s ever been,” said David Sargent, JDPA’s vice president of automotive research, “in terms of the absence of problems.”

Subscribe to TheDetroitBureau.comNotably, four Detroit brands – Cadillac, Ford, Chevrolet and Mercury – ranked above the industry average.  And Power officials reported that on the whole, the Big Three “outpaced (the) industry-wide improvement” in quality.

“Even in the face of unprecedented challenges, the Detroit automakers are keeping their focus on designing and building high-quality vehicles, which is a precondition for long-term success,” noted Sargent.