Take The 2011 JD Power "Initial Quality" Rorschach Test

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Clear your mind, look deep into the results of the 2011 JD Power Initial Quality Survey, and what will you find? Based on my limited understanding of the human mind, I’d guess “something that helps prop up your established perspective on the world of cars.” But hey, feel free to prove me wrong. Meanwhile, lest we take any of this too seriously, let’s remember the wise words of Michael Karesh, who noted on last year’s results that

J.D. Power continues to assert that a low number of problems during the first 90 days of ownership should allay any concerns a car buyer might have about a car’s quality. But of course car buyers are most concerned about how a car will hold up in the long run.

Initial quality sometimes correlates with long-term durability, but there’s only a partial connection between the two. Initial quality can result from solid engineering, which will also benefit long-term durability. But strong initial quality can also follow from thorough inspections at the plant or dealer. Such inspections can catch and fix problems that happen to occur before delivery, but aren’t likely to reduce problems down the road.

Karesh’s seminal IQS critique can be found her e.

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  • Obruni Obruni on Jun 24, 2011

    Dodge's last place results are pretty remarkable, considering how well the Grand Caravan, Challenger, and Durango performed. what models are dragging Dodge's results down? A list of the worst offenders in each category would be nice.

    • CJinSD CJinSD on Jun 24, 2011

      The Dodge Caliber, Charger, and Journey were all worse than average in overall quality. The Challenger was best of a very weak group, with the only listed competitors being Camaro, Mustang, Genesis, and Eclipse. So even though it got a 5-star rating overall for best in class, it had worse than average scores in overall quality mechanical, body and interior quality mechanical, and features and accessories quality mechanical. That probably reflects a high number of defects. Similarly, the Grand Caravan earned an average overall rating while having worse than average scores in three out of four mechanical quality categories. The Avenger apparently didn't sell in sufficient numbers to be listed, but the Chrysler 200 was worse than average overall in a tough group topped by the Accord, which score 'among the best' in all mechanical categories.

  • Bytheway Bytheway on Jun 24, 2011

    The whole JD power thing is a JOKE. MB is makes higher quality cars then Hyundai, Toyota, Infiniti? Yea, right

    • Steven02 Steven02 on Jun 24, 2011

      The IQS ratings aren't that good. One of the big complaints is going to be wind noise. MB probably has that down. Hyundai... not so much considering it goes light weight to help with fuel economy while noise will be loud.

  • Mjz Mjz on Jun 24, 2011

    Which model(s) dragged Dodge down to last place? Chrysler brand scores 110, Dodge 137. 300/Charger, 200/Avenger, Town & Country/Grand Caravan all nearly identical, built in the same plants, so scores should be close for those models. Challenger places first in segment, Durange ties for second. Grand Caravan places third highest in segment. So is the Journey and/or Caliber the culprit here?

  • CJinSD CJinSD on Jun 24, 2011

    What is up with Porsche continuing to be rated highly on the IQS? It always seemed improbable, but scratching the surface makes their ranking seem impossible. They only have two models that sell in sufficient numbers to even take part in the Initial Quality Study. Neither are sports cars. The Panamera ranked 'better than most' overall in a class towered over by the Lexus LS. The Cayenne scored like one would expect, about as badly as anything can be rated. It was worse than average over all, and worse than average in 3 out of 4 categories of mechanical quality, earning one average score for features and accessories. How in wild fiction does that add up to an overall IQS index with the quality makes? What does it mean for the Porsche sports cars? Nothing. There ought to be asterisks aplenty for a brand rated on 2 of 5 model lines, but I guess that would bring attention to the fact that only one of the two models tracked was better than Soviet surplus.