Fuel economy, infotainment pushes US car quality down

The quality of new cars launched in the US in 2011 has declined considerably, according to a leading consumer study.

J.D. Power and Associates' annual Initial Quality Study, which measures problems with vehicles during the first 90 days of ownership, reported 107 problems for every 100 vehicles in 2011.

That's slightly down on 109 problems per 100 vehicles in 2010, but if new cars (those which are all-new or significantly redesigned) are isolated, the number of problems rises dramatically to 122, up from 111 in 2010.

It is the first time since 2007 that the quality of new vehicles hasn't improved, according to J.D. Power's historical studies.

Although the firm said that the decline is vehicle quality is evident in a number of areas, two primary causes emerged which are directly related to the trends which currently dominate the US - and international - automotive market.

Firstly, high fuel prices and the drive for efficiency has led automakers to try to squeeze as low a fuel burn as possible from the vehicles, tweaking engines and software in the pursuit of a low mile-per-gallon.

This has led to several incidents where the engine or transmission appears to be hesitating when accelerating or changing gear, which consumers have reported as a problem.

Secondly, the rapid introduction of multimedia technology and telematics has confused some users, with the report saying that some owners "report that their system is not intuitive and/or does not always function properly."

The finding will be concerning to brands, which have scrambled to add sophisticated systems to their vehicles (Ford announced this week a dramatic expansion of its SYNC AppLink system to ten new vehicles).

Overall problem rates for audio/entertainment/navigation systems in 2011 are 18 percent higher than in 2010 and 28 percent higher than in 2009, said J.D. Power.

The firm with the lowest number of problems per 100 vehicles was Lexus (73), while the highest was Dodge (137).

2011 Nameplate IQS Ranking
Problems per 100 vehicles

1. Lexus (73)
2. Honda (86)
3. Acura (89)
4. Mercedes-Benz (94)
5. Mazda (100)
6. Porsche (100)
7. Toyota (101)
8. Infiniti (102)
9. Cadillac (103)
10. GMC (104)

Industry average - 107

http://www.jdpower.com/

PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Partitioners / Carpenter / Multi Skilled Tradesmen / Decorator

    £28000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Various opportunities are avail...

    Recruitment Genius: Trade Marketing Manager

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company leads the market i...

    Recruitment Genius: Financial Accountant - Part Time

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity is available for a par...

    Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineers

    £26000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineer...

    Day In a Page

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
    10 best high-end laptops

    10 best high-end laptops

    From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
    Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
    Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

    Garden Bridge

    St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

    An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
    Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

    Joint Enterprise

    The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
    Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

    Freud and Eros

    Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum