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


  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

    £16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living