Toyota Motor Corporation Models Receive Seven Awards; General Motors Models Receive Four while Dependability of All-New and Redesigned Models Surpasses Carryover Models
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — The long-term dependability of three-year-old models has improved year-over-year, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2013 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) released today.
The study, now in its 24th year, measures problems experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of three-year-old vehicles (those that were introduced for the 2010 model year). Overall dependability is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality.
In 2013, the dependability of models that were new or substantially redesigned for the 2010 model year averages 116 PP100, compared with 133 PP100 for models that were unchanged from the 2009 model-year—also referred to as carryover models. This is the first year that there are fewer reported problems for all-new or redesigned models than for carryover models since the study was redesigned in 2009. Models that were refreshed in 2010—those with generally minor changes to the interior or exterior—average 111 PP100 in the 2013 VDS.
“There is a perception that all-new models, or models that undergo a major redesign, are more problematic than carryover models,” said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates. “Data from the 2013 VDS suggests that this is not the case. The rapid improvement in fundamental vehicle dependability each year is more than offsetting any initial glitches that all-new or redesigned models may have.”
Overall Dependability Improves
In 2013, overall vehicle dependability averages 126 PP100—a five percent improvement from the 2012 average of 132 PP100—and is the lowest problem count since the inception of the study in 1989. Among brands measured in the study, 21 of the 31 improve in dependability from 2012. Domestic nameplates have improved in 2013 at a slightly greater rate than have imports, narrowing the dependability gap to 10 PP100 from 13 PP100 in 2012 and 18 PP100 in 2011. Overall, domestic nameplates average 133 PP100, while import nameplates average 123 PP100.
“The continuous improvement in long-term dependability means consumers should have more confidence in three-year-old vehicles, whether they are keeping their current vehicle or shopping for a used car, truck, crossover or SUV,” said Sargent. “This means there are a lot of dependable off-lease vehicles in the used-vehicle market. It also means that owners who keep their vehicle beyond the manufacturer’s warranty period are able to have greater peace of mind that vehicles are becoming increasingly more dependable. That said, it is virtually certain that new vehicles being sold today will be even more reliable in three years.”
Dependability Equals Higher Loyalty
The study finds that the fewer problems owners experience with their vehicle, the greater their loyalty to the brand. Combining previous-year VDS results with actual vehicle trade-in data from the J.D. Power and Associates Power Information Network (PIN), J.D. Power finds that 54 percent of owners who do not experience any problems with their vehicle stay with the same brand when they purchase their next new vehicle. Brand loyalty slips to just 41 percent, on average, when owners experience three or more problems with their vehicle.
While owners of premium models are more loyal than owners of non-premium models, on average, the loyalty of premium model owners is more impacted by an increase in the number of problems experienced. For example, 55 percent of owners of premium models remain loyal to the brand when they report zero problems with their vehicle, compared with 53 percent of owners of non-premium models who report zero problems. Loyalty begins to decline as soon as the owner experiences any problems with their vehicle. When experiencing three or more problems with their vehicle, loyalty among owners of premium models declines to 39 percent and 41 percent among owners of non-premium models.
“It’s one thing to ask consumers if they intend to buy another vehicle from the same brand, but it is much more impactful to know what happens when they actually buy their next vehicle,” said Sargent. “By combining our consumer research with trade-in data, we see a clear correlation between dependability and loyalty.”
Highest-Ranked Nameplates and Models
Lexus ranks highest in vehicle dependability among all nameplates for a second consecutive year. Among models, the Lexus RX has the fewest reported problems in the industry at just 57 PP100. This is the first time in the history of the VDS that a crossover or SUV has achieved this distinction. Rounding out the five highest-ranked nameplates are Porsche, Lincoln, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz. Chrysler Group LLC’s Ram brand posts the greatest year-over-year improvement from 2012—by 52 PP100.
Toyota Motor Corporation continues to perform well in long-term dependability and earns seven segment awards—more than any other automaker in 2013—for the Lexus ES 350; Lexus RX; Scion xB; Scion xD; Toyota Prius; Toyota Sienna; and Toyota RAV4.
General Motors receives four segment awards for the Buick Lucerne; Chevrolet Camaro; Chevrolet Tahoe; and GMC Sierra HD. American Honda Motor Corp., Inc., receives two model-level awards for the Acura RDX and Honda Crosstour. The Audi A6, Ford Ranger, Hyundai Sonata, Mazda MX-5 Miata, and Nissan Z also receive segment awards.
J.D. Power and Associates offers the following tips for consumers regarding vehicle dependability:
- The perception that all-new or redesigned models can’t be as dependable as those that have been on the market for a year or more is not accurate. Just because a model is new to the market or has been recently redesigned doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be as reliable. In fact, dependability of all-new and redesigned models is at a record high, according to 2013 VDS data.
- Dependability of three-year-old models is at an all-time high. If you can’t afford a new vehicle, or simply don’t want one, you should feel confident when buying a certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle. Whether buying a CPO vehicle or not, be sure to check quality, appeal and dependability ratings of models you are considering on jdpower.com.
- Improvements in vehicle dependability have been made by both domestic and import brands, and the gap between the two is narrowing. Perceptions of dependability should not be based purely on vehicle origin—consumers should research a variety of sources in order to make a decision consistent with the current reality of the market.
The Vehicle Dependability Study is used extensively by vehicle manufacturers worldwide to help design and build higher-quality models, which typically translates to higher resale values and higher customer loyalty. It also helps consumers make more informed choices for both new- and used-vehicle purchases.
The 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from more than 37,000 original owners of 2010 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. The study was fielded between October and December 2012.
Find more detailed information on vehicle dependability, as well as model photos and specifications, by reading articles and reviewing brand and segment dependability ratings at http://www.jdpower.com/dependability.htm.
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