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The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
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Inside the 'Real'
J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Ratings


Washington DC March 1, 2016; The AIADA newsletter reported that while few would argue that today's cars and trucks are designed and built better and last longer than ever, why is it that the industry's overall reliability ratings, particularly those just released by the venerable consumer research firm J.D. Power, are on the decline? The consumer research company says they fell by an average industry-wide 3 percent in its just released 2016 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study of three-year-old vehicles.

And yet the same study shows that the number of major mechanical powertrain problems reported by their owners declined by around 8 percent in the past year. According to Forbes, today's notion of an unreliable car has stretched to encompass what some of us might consider minor inconveniences, particularly balky voice control systems and difficulty with Bluetooth mobile phone pairing and connectivity.

Issues with electronics now account for 20 percent of all consumer-reported car problems in J.D. Power's survey. "The increase in technology-related problems has two sources," says Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive at J.D. Power. "Usability problems that customers reported during their first 90 days of ownership are still bothering them three years later in ever-higher numbers.

At the same time, the penetration of these "helpful" features has increased year over year." For more on what Forbes says is behind J.D. Power's vehicle dependability ratings, click here.