New-vehicle quality has improved six per cent, double the three per cent rate of improvement in 2015 and the largest increase since 2009, according to the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS).
The Initial Quality Study, now in its 30th 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.
Quality improves across all eight problem categories measured in the study, with 21 of the 33 brands included in the study improving their quality in 2016 and one remaining the same.
Following are some of the study’s key findings:
∙ U.S. Domestic Automakers Show Strong Improvement: For just the second time in the 30-year history of the study, U.S. domestic brands collectively have lower problem levels than all their import counterparts combined. All three U.S. domestic automakers post year-over-year quality improvements.
The “Detroit Three” achieve a combined average of 103 PP100, improving 10 per cent from 2015, which is double the improvement rate of the import brands at 106 PP100. The last time U.S. domestic brands outpaced imports was in 2010, when they held a 1 PP100 advantage (108 PP100 vs. 109 PP100, respectively).
∙ Non-Premium Brands Have Fewer Problems: For the first time since 2006, non-premium brands have fewer problems (104 PP100) than premium brands (108 PP100).
∙ High Quality = High Loyalty: Expected reliability remains the most important consideration when purchasing a new vehicle, cited by 49 per cent of owners. J.D. Power has studied consumer behavior from when they purchase or lease their new vehicle through when they are back in the market for their next vehicle in order to measure the impact initial quality has on brand loyalty.
Among owners who experience no problems with their vehicle in the first 90 days, 54 per cent stay with the same brand for their next vehicle. Loyalty drops to 50 per cent among owners who experience one problem with their vehicle and to 45 per cent among those who experience three or more problems.
Kia ranks highest in initial quality with a score of 83 PP100, the first time in 27 years that a non-premium brand has topped the rankings. It is also the second consecutive year that Kia, which ranked second in 2015, has led all non-premium makes in initial quality.
Chrysler and Jeep are the most improved brands, each reducing the number of problems by 28 PP100 from 2015.
General Motors receives seven model-level awards, followed by Toyota Motor Corporation with six and Hyundai Motor Company and Volkswagen AG, each with four.
∙ General Motors models that rank highest in their respective segments are the Buick Cascada; Chevrolet Equinox; Chevrolet Silverado HD; Chevrolet Silverado LD; Chevrolet Spark; Chevrolet Tahoe; and GMC Terrain.