Heavens! Car Quality Slips, Survey Says

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
heavens car quality slips survey says

Cars are getting better and better. But wait! For the first time since 2007, the quality of new cars and trucks sold in the US slipped! OMG! Let’s hunt down the villains … (Quality of your brand after the jump.)

J.D.Power released its U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS). Says JDP:

“Overall, the industry average for initial quality is 109 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) in 2010, increasing slightly from 108 PP100 in 2009. However, initial quality for domestic brands as a whole has improved by 4 PP100 in 2010 to an average of 108 PP100-slightly better than the initial quality of import brands, which averages 109 PP100 in 2010.”

Understood? No?

Last year it was 108 complaints per 100 cars. This year it’s 109.

So who’s the oinker that ruined the stats? Could only be one company: “Dragged down by Toyota Motor Corp., the quality of new cars and trucks sold in the United States slipped slightly this year,” writes Automotive News [sub].

A check of the JDP press release doesn’t bear that out, at least not at first glance. It states that “Toyota’s problem count increases by 16 PP100, moving it from sixth rank position in 2009 to 21st in 2010.” Ouch. That should create trouble in Tokyo.

“Clearly, Toyota has endured a difficult year,” said David Sargent, vice president of global vehicle research at J.D. Power and Associates. “Recent consumer concerns regarding Toyota’s quality are reflected in the nameplate’s performance in the 2010 study. That said, Toyota’s success was built on a well-deserved reputation for quality, and there is little doubt that they will do everything possible to regain that reputation.”

Detroit’s carmakers have to that Ford for catching up with their import rivals. Ford is on behind Porsche, Acura, Mercedes and Lexus. Lincoln is on place 8. The rest of the Detroit gang is still below industry average.

2010 J.D. Power IQS Nameplate Ranking

RankNameplateProblems per 100 vehicles1Porsche832Acura863Mercedes-Benz874Lexus885Ford936Honda957Hyundai1028Lincoln1069Infiniti10710Volvo109Industry Average10911Ram11012Audi11113Cadillac11114Chevrolet11115Nissan11116BMW11317Mercury11318Buick11419Mazda11420Scion11421Toyota11722Subaru12123Chrysler12224Suzuki12225GMC12626Kia12627Jeep12928Dodge13029Jaguar13030Mini13331Volkswagen13532Mitsubishi14633Land Rover170

It will be a rude awakening in Wolfsburg tomorrow, when Martin Winterkorn will call a meeting of all chiefs and ask them how in the world it could happen that VW is near the bottom of the verdammte list, schon wieder!

I know what the answer will be, I was in those meetings: “Look, Herr Doktor, we know it looks bad. But if you analyze the numbers, we are less than 24 percent below industry average, and if you apply a margin of error of 5 percent, we could be better than Jaguar. Nicht wahr?” It’s not going to work. It never did.

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  • Gottleib Gottleib on Jun 18, 2010

    New car purchases: 67 VW, 71 240Z, 76 Buick,78 VW Rabbit, 83 Camry, 90 Saab, 00 VW Passat, 04 Honda. The only one that had any warranty work in the first year was the Honda, replacement of power steering pump. All my other car purchases were used cars out of warranty. Guess I beat the odds as presented by JD Power and Associates.

  • George70steven George70steven on Nov 24, 2010

    If you are looking for what vehicle will turn out to cost you the least amount of headaches/money down the road, the IQS is irrelevant. It’s also a very marketable statistic assuming it’s better than average–and it just happens to be a method that every significant manufacturer worldwide uses. car insurance quote

  • Gemcitytm Why does it seem every EV seems to have ridiculous amounts of power? Yes, I know they're heavier than ICE models but who on earth needs 708 HP? How about a nice, compact EV with, say, 250 HP and 350-400 mile range? Is that impossible with today's tech? (I currently drive a 148 HP Mazda 3 ICE and it has all the get-up-and-go I need.)
  • CEastwood I could have bought one of these if I had the cash in 76 for $1000 white , red interior , 3 speed stick with whitewalls/ wire hubcaps - it was mint and gone a day after I saw it . But the real catch that got away was an all original 69 green Camaro RS convertible 327 4 speed with 46K on the clock for 1800 that I saw a few months earlier . Young and poor was not a fun place to be !
  • KOKing I'm in an emissions check only state, and I'd trade that away for a safety check all day.
  • Bd2 The hybrid powertrain in the Sportage and Tucson are the ones to get.H/K should discontinue the base NA 2.5L powertrain and just build more of the hybrid.In the future, maybe offer a 2nd, more powerful hybrid (the hybrid 2.5) which will first arrive with the next Telluride/Palisade.Kia also needs to redo the front fascia for the Sportage's refresh.
  • The Oracle I say let the clunkers stay on the roads.