J.D. Power Reports: Initial Quality Problems Increase as Automakers Struggle to Launch Vehicles with Technology That Consumers Find Easy to Use

jd power

Porsche Ranks Highest among Nameplates for a Second Consecutive Year;

General Motors Company Receives Six Model-Level Awards; Hyundai Motor Company Receives Five

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA--June 18, 2014: The number of problems experienced by new-vehicle owners has increased from the previous year, as automakers continued to be challenged when introducing sophisticated technologies in new vehicles, according to the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS) released today.

The study, now in its 28th year, examines problems experienced by vehicle owners during the first 90 days of ownership. Initial quality is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality.

The study finds that overall initial quality averages 116 PP100, a 3 percent increase in problems from 113 PP100 in 2013. This year's increase in problems follows a similar increase found in the J.D. Power U.S. 2014 Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS) released in February, which measures problems experienced after three years of ownership.

Some Consumers Struggle with New Technology The study identifies two primary causes of the increased problem levels in 2014. First, newly launched vehicles (those that are completely new to the market or have undergone major redesigns) continue to be more problematic than carryover vehicles (those that did not undergo any significant changes). On average, newly launched vehicles experience 128 PP100, compared with 113 PP100 for carryover vehicles. The increase in problems among all-new vehicles is found mainly in the areas of voice recognition, Bluetooth pairing and audio systems.

"Automakers are trying to give consumers the new features and technology they want without introducing additional quality problems into their vehicles," said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at

J.D. Power. "However, almost all automakers are struggling to do this flawlessly with some consumers indicating that the technology is hard to understand, difficult to use, or simply does not always work as designed."

Harsh Weather Conditions also Affect Quality Some regions experienced increases in problem types associated with harsh weather. Consumers in the South and West regions of the country report the same level of problems as in 2013 (114 PP100). In contrast, consumers in the Northeast and Midwest regions report 117 PP100 in 2014, compared with 112 PP100 in 2013. Most of this increase is found in the heating/ventilation/air conditioning, exterior and engine/transmission categories, three areas in which harsh weather conditions have an adverse effect on vehicles.

"Automakers test vehicles in extreme conditions to ensure they function properly," said Sargent. "However, it is impossible to completely negate the effects of severe weather. Heating and ventilation systems have more work to do, engines and transmissions aren't as smooth when cold, and exterior moldings and paint all take some punishment. Consumers generally understand this but still report problems when their vehicle does not wholly live up to their expectations."

Initial Quality Affects Brand Loyalty The study also finds that the fewer problems owners experience with their vehicle, the greater their loyalty to the brand. Combined data from previous years' IQS results and the Power Information Network® (PIN) from

J.D. Power show that 57 percent of owners who reported no problems stayed with the same brand when they purchased their next new vehicle. Brand loyalty slips to 53 percent among owners who reported just a single problem and to only 48 percent among owners who reported two or more problems.

"Even problems experienced in the first 90 days correlate strongly with ultimate repurchase behavior," said Sargent. "These early problems can set the tone for the entire ownership period and still have an effect years later when consumers replace their vehicle."

Highest-Ranked Nameplates and Models For a second consecutive year, Porsche ranks highest in initial quality among all nameplates, with a score of 74 PP100. Following Porsche in the rankings are Jaguar (87 PP100), Lexus (92 PP100) and Hyundai (94 PP100).

General Motors Company receives six segment awards—more than any other automaker for a second consecutive year—for the Buick Encore (tie); Chevrolet Malibu; Chevrolet Silverado HD; Chevrolet Suburban (tie); GMC Terrain; and GMC Yukon (tie). Hyundai Motor Company receives five awards for the Hyundai Accent; Hyundai Elantra; Hyundai Genesis; Kia Cadenza; and Kia Sportage (tie). Other corporations with multiple award recipients are Ford Motor Company (Ford Edge, Ford F-150 LD and Lincoln MKX); Nissan Motor Company (Infiniti QX50, Infiniti QX80 and Nissan JUKE [tie]); Volkswagen AG (Porsche 911, Porsche Boxster and Porsche Panamera); Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Challenger); and Mazda (Mazda MAZDA5 and Mazda MX-5 Miata). Other models receiving awards are the Honda Ridgeline and Lexus ES.

Plant Assembly Line Quality Awards Toyota Motor Corporation's Cambridge South, Ontario, Canada (TMMC) plant, which produces the Lexus RX, receives the Platinum Plant Quality Award for producing models that yield the fewest defects or malfunctions. Plant quality awards are based solely on defects and malfunctions and exclude design-related problems.

Two sister plants receive the Gold Plant Quality Award in the Asia Pacific region. Toyota Motor Corporation's Kyushu 1, Japan (TMK) plant produces the Lexus CT and RX. Across the road, the same company's Kyushu 2 plant produces the Lexus ES, IS and RX.

In the Europe and Africa region, Porsche AG receives the Gold Plant Quality Award for its Leipzig, Germany (P), plant, which produces the Porsche Cayenne and Panamera.

The 2014 U.S. Initial Quality Study is based on responses from more than 86,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2014 model-year vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study is based on a 233-question battery designed to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate the identification of problems and drive product improvement. The study was fielded between February and May 2014.

Find more detailed information on vehicle quality, as well as model photos and specs, at JDPower.com/quality.

2014 Nameplate IQS Ranking Problems per 100 Vehicles (PP100)





































Industry Average








Land Rover






















Top Three Models per Segment
Car Segments

Small Car
Highest Ranked: Hyundai Accent
Mazda MAZDA2
Kia Rio

Compact Car
Highest Ranked: Hyundai Elantra
Toyota Corolla
Honda Civic

Compact Premium Car
Highest Ranked: Lexus ES
Acura TL
Acura ILX (tie)
BMW 4 Series (tie)

Compact Sporty Car
Highest Ranked: Mazda MX-5 Miata
Volkswagen GTI
Scion tC

Compact Premium Sporty Car
Highest Ranked: Porsche Boxster
Porsche Cayman
Nissan Z

Midsize Car
Highest Ranked: Chevrolet Malibu
Hyundai Sonata
Toyota Camry

Midsize Sporty Car*
Highest Ranked: Dodge Challenger
Chevrolet Camaro

Midsize Premium Car
Highest Ranked: Hyundai Genesis
Lincoln MKS
BMW 6 Series (tie)
Lexus GS (tie)
Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class (tie)

Midsize Premium Sporty Car*
Highest Ranked: Porsche 911
Jaguar F-Type

Large Car
Highest Ranked: Kia Cadenza
Nissan Maxima
Toyota Avalon

Large Premium Car
Highest Ranked: Porsche Panamera
Lexus LS
Hyundai Equus

SUV, MPV, Van, Pickup Segments

Small SUV
Highest Ranked: Buick Encore (tie)
Kia Sportage (tie)
Nissan Juke (tie)

Compact SUV
Highest Ranked: GMC Terrain
Chevrolet Equinox
Toyota FJ Cruiser

Compact Premium SUV
Highest Ranked: Infiniti QX50
Audi Q5

Compact MPV
Highest Ranked: Mazda MAZDA5
Kia Soul
Ford C-Max

Midsize SUV
Highest Ranked: Ford Edge
Hyundai Santa Fe (tie)
Nissan Murano (tie)

Midsize Premium SUV
Highest Ranked: Lincoln MKX
Porsche Cayenne
Infiniti QX70

Midsize Pickup
Highest Ranked: Honda Ridgeline
Nissan Frontier (tie)
Toyota Tacoma (tie)

Highest Ranked: Chrysler Town & Country
Toyota Sienna
Dodge Grand Caravan

Large SUV
Highest Ranked: Chevrolet Suburban (tie)
GMC Yukon (tie)
Chevrolet Tahoe

Large Premium SUV*
Highest Ranked: Infiniti  QX80
Cadillac Escalade

Large Light Duty Pickup
Highest Ranked: Ford F-150 LD
Toyota Tundra
Ram 1500 LD

Large Heavy Duty Pickup*
Highest Ranked: Chevrolet Silverado HD
GMC Sierra HD

* No other model in this segment performs above segment average.

Note: For a segment award to be issued, there must be at least three models with 80 percent of market sales in any given award segment.  In the city car segment, these criteria were not met, so no award has been presented.

2014 Plant Assembly Line Quality Award Recipients
Based on Models Produced for U.S. Market

Problems per 100 Vehicles

(Defects/Malfunctions Only)

Model(s) Produced at Plant

Platinum Award

Toyota Motor Corporation: Cambridge South, Ontario, Canada (TMMC)


Lexus RX

North/South America*

Silver Award

General Motors Company: Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada (CAMI)


Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain

Bronze Award

BMW AG: Spartanburg 01, South Carolina



Asia Pacific

Gold Award

Toyota Motor Corporation: Kyushu 1, Japan (TMK) [tie]


Lexus CT, Lexus RX

Toyota Motor Corporation: Kyushu 2, Japan (TMK) [tie]


Lexus ES, Lexus IS, Lexus RX

Bronze Award

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.--M-Tochigi 2, Japan 


Infiniti QX50, Infiniti QX70

Europe and Africa

Gold Award

Porsche AG: Leipzig, Germany (P)


Porsche Cayenne, Porsche Panamera

Silver Award

Daimler AG: East London, South Africa


Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Bronze Award

Audi AG: Neckarsulm, Germany


Audi A4, Audi A5/S5/RS5, Audi A6/S6,

Audi A7/S7/RS7, Audi A8/S8, Audi R8

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