5 Jul 22

US Study: The more advance your car is, the more problems

Initial vehicle quality has significantly declined in the United States owing to disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic such as supply chain issues related to the lack of semiconductors and raw materials around the world which has led to record-high vehicle prices.

Reported vehicle problems reached a 36-year record high in 2022 with the industry experiencing an 11% increase in problems year-over-year, according to the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS).

Owners of premium-brand vehicles experienced more problems than mass market vehicle owners, a trend which started in 2016, the report said.

“Given the many challenges automakers and their dealers had to face in the past year, it’s somewhat surprising that initial quality didn’t fall even more dramatically,” says J.D. Power’s Director of Global Automotive David Amodeo, explaining that “initial quality has generally shown steady improvement throughout the history of this study”. 

Automakers continue to launch vehicles that are more and more technologically complex in an era in which there have been many shortages of critical components to support them. And supply chain disruption, especially the shortage of microchips, has caused automakers to seek alternative solutions to get new vehicles into purchasers’ and lessees’ hands.

“In some cases, new vehicles are being shipped without some features installed. Communication with them about the changes in feature availability, as well as when such features will be reinstated, is critical to their satisfaction,” Mr. Amodeo said in the report. 

General Motors shined with Buick, Dodge, and Chevrolet reporting the least problems. They were followed by Korean OEMs Genesis and Kia. As for the premium brands, Genesis reported the least problems, followed by Lexus and Cadillac. 

Basically, we can say that the more advance your vehicle is, the more problems you will have as mass market vehicles certainly experienced fewer problems than premium vehicles.

Besides Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) reporting more problems than average, some of the more problematic features in vehicles included infotainment systems and advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS).

The J.D. Power 2022 U.S. IQS was based on responses from 84,165 purchasers and lessees of new 2022 model-year vehicles who were surveyed early in the ownership period. It was composed of 223 questions divided into nine categories: infotainment features; controls and displays; exterior; interior;'driving assistance; powertrain; seats; driving experience; and climate. See more here.

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Photo: Vehicle infotainment system (copyright: Shutterstock)

Authored by: Daniel Bland