It has become something of an industry gospel: automotive quality and reliability has long been on a steady, upward climb. But that conventional wisdom took a hit with the release of a new study showing an unexpected decline in vehicle dependability for the first time in more than 15 years.
The setback is largely the result of problems with engines and transmissions, according to J.D. Power’s 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study, particularly with the smaller 4-cylinder engines that have grown increasingly popular with motorists hoping to improve their mileage.
“Until this year, we have seen a continual improvement in vehicle dependability,” said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power. “However, some of the changes that automakers implemented for the 2011 model year have led to a noticeable increase in problems reported.” (more…)