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/

  • Get to the point
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: Sales Manager

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss