Automakers Flub Launch of High Tech Vehicles, IQS Shows

The latest quality data revealed today at the Automotive Press Association meeting in Detroit shows that the number of problems experienced by new-vehicle owners has increased from the previous year, as automakers continue to have severe problems with complicated technologies now being deployed in new vehicles.

The U.S. Initial Quality Study, aka IQS,  from J.D. Power, is determined based on the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles – PP100 in industry slang – with a lower score meaning higher quality. The study finds that overall initial quality averages 116 PP100, a 3% increase in problems from 113 PP100 in 2013. This year’s increase in problems follows a similar growing trend  with electronics and infotainment systems as revealed in other surveys.

The new study claims there are two primary causes of the increased problem levels in 2014. First, newly launched vehicles (those that are completely new to the market or have undergone major redesigns) continue to be more problematic than carryover vehicles (those that did not undergo any significant changes). On average, newly launched vehicles experience 128 PP100, compared with 113 PP100 for carryover vehicles. The increase in problems among all-new vehicles is found mainly in the areas of voice recognition, Bluetooth pairing and audio systems. In short, the industry knows what consumers want but is unable to deliver it.

Beleaguered General Motors took six segment awards—more than any other automaker for a second consecutive year—for the Buick Encore (tie); Chevrolet Malibu; Chevrolet Silverado HD; Chevrolet Suburban (tie); GMC Terrain; and GMC Yukon (tie).

Hyundai Motor Company received five awards for the Hyundai Accent; Hyundai Elantra; Hyundai Genesis; Kia Cadenza; and Kia Sportage (tie).

Other corporations with multiple award recipients are Ford Motor Company (Ford Edge, Ford F-150 LD and Lincoln MKX); Nissan Motor Company (Infiniti QX50, Infiniti QX80 and Nissan JUKE [tie]); Volkswagen AG (Porsche 911, Porsche Boxster and Porsche Panamera); Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Challenger); and Mazda (Mazda MAZDA5 and Mazda MX-5 Miata). Other models receiving awards are the Honda Ridgeline and Lexus ES.

The 2014 U.S. Initial Quality Study is based on responses from more than 86,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2014 model-year vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study is based on a 233-questionaire and was fielded between February and May 2014.

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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