Well, the news just isn't getting better this year for automakers - a year that continues to be plagued by a microchip shortage and inventory issues. J.D. Power says pandemic-related issues are to blame for a notable decline in initial vehicle quality. In J.D. Power's 2022 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS), researchers report the number of reported vehicle problems hit a record high in the history of the 36-year old study. They attribute this to disruptions caused by the pandemic— supply chain issues, record-high vehicle prices and personnel dislocations. Compared to 2021, the industry experienced an 11% increase in problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), which is 18 PP100 worse than last year, resulting in an industry average of 180 PP100. A lower score reflects higher vehicle quality.
General Motors is a notable exception in the study with an improvement in initial quality that lands it in the highest rank position among automotive corporations. Among brands, Buick made a huge jump in ranking this year -- from 12th to 1st place. Buick is the highest ranked brand in the study, followed by Dodge, Chevrolet, Genesis/Kia. Genesis ranks highest among premium brands. Maserati, Volvo and Chrysler are at the bottom of the list.
Genesis is highest ranked premium brand. The G80 is highest ranked in its segment.
J.D. Power's says just nine of 33 ranked brands improved in vehicle quality year over year.
“Given the many challenges automakers and their dealers had to face in the past year, it’s somewhat surprising that initial quality didn’t fall even more dramatically,” said David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power. "In general, initial quality has shown steady improvement throughout the history of this study, so the decline this year is disappointing—yet understandable. Automakers continue to launch vehicles that are more and more technologically complex in an era in which there have been many shortages of critical components to support them."
Brand Rankings / Problems Per 100 Vehicles (PP100) - Source: J.D. Power
- Buick: 139
- Dodge: 143
- Chevrolet: 147
- Genesis: 156
- Kia: 156
- Lexus: 157
- GMC: 162
- Cadillac: 163
- BMW: 165
- Ford: 167
- Lincoln: 167
- Nissan: 167
- MINI: 168
- Toyota: 172
- Mazda: 180
- Industry Average: 180
- Honda: 183
- Hyundai: 185
- Ram: 186
- Mercedes-Benz: 189
- Subaru: 191
- Acura: 192
- Land Rover: 193
- Jeep: 199
- Porsche: 200
- INFINITI: 204
- Jaguar: 210
- Alfa Romeo: 211
- Mitsubishi: 226
- Volkswagen: 230
- Audi: 239
- Maserati: 255
- Volvo: 256
- Chrysler 265
These brands are not eligible because they do not meet study award criteria.
- Tesla: 226
- Polestar: 328
This year's study, fielded from February to May 2022, is based on responses from 84,165 purchasers and lessees of new 2022 model-year vehicles surveyed early in the ownership period. They answered 223-questions organized into nine vehicle categories: infotainment; features, controls and displays; exterior; driving assistance; interior; powertrain; seats; driving experience; and climate. J.D. Power says the study is designed to provide manufacturers with information to help ID problems and make improvements.
“Supply chain disruption, especially the shortage of microchips, has caused automakers to seek alternative solutions to get new vehicles into purchasers’ and lessees’ hands,” Amodeo said. “In some cases, new vehicles are being shipped without some features installed. Communication with them about the changes in feature availability, as well as when such features will be reinstated, is critical to their satisfaction.”
Here are the key findings of the 2022 study, outlined in J.D. Power's press release:
- Deterioration goes beyond launch vehicles: Both all-new and continuing models increase in problems this year, though all-new models worsen the most (23 PP100). The initial quality gap between all-new and continuing models widens this year to 25 PP100 from 20 PP100 in 2021. The 2022 study finds four times as many new models performing worse than their segment averages compared with those that perform better than their segment averages.
- Mass market vehicles experience fewer problems than premium vehicles: Mass market brands average 175 PP100, which is 21 PP100 fewer than for premium brands (196 PP100). Premium brand buyers typically purchase more technology in their vehicles, and the added complexity of that tech increases the likelihood of problems. Given the challenging task of launching new vehicles in the current environment, mass market carryover vehicles are most likely to achieve high-ranking initial quality. “Owners of premium-brand vehicles experience more problems than mass market vehicle owners, continuing a trend that started in 2016,” Amodeo said. “But some brands, notably Genesis and Lexus, have largely been able to avoid that issue.”
- Infotainment systems remain the most problematic area: The infotainment category continues to be the most problematic, with an average of 45.0 PP100—which is 19.5 PP100 more problems than the next-highest category. Six of the top 10 problem areas in the study are infotainment-related, including: Android Auto/Apple CarPlay connectivity (5.8 PP100); built-in voice recognition (4.0 PP100); difficulties with touchscreens/display screens (3.5 PP100); built-in Bluetooth systems (3.4 PP100); not enough power plugs/USB ports (2.9 PP100); and inconsistent audio volume (2.7 PP100).
- Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) more problematic: Owners of BEVs and PHEVs cite more problems with their vehicles than do owners of vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE). ICE vehicles average 175 PP100, PHEVs average 239 PP100 and BEVs—excluding Tesla models—average 240 PP100. (Tesla models average 226 PP100 and are shown separate from the BEV average because the predominance of Tesla vehicles could obscure the performance of the legacy automakers that have recently introduced BEVs.)
- Driving assistance issues grow: Problems with advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) declined in 2021 but have increased in 2022. The most problematic ADAS system is lane departure warning/lane-keeping assistance with 4.1 PP100.
- Tesla Motors officially included for the first time: Tesla Motors is included in the industry calculation for the first time, with a score of 226 PP100. However, because Tesla Motors does not allow J.D. Power access to owner information in the states where that permission is required by law, Tesla vehicles remain ineligible for awards.
Highest-Ranking Brands and Models
Buick is the highest-ranking brand in overall initial quality with a score of 139 PP100. Dodge (143 PP100) ranks second and Chevrolet (147 PP100) ranks third.
Among premium brands, Genesis (156 PP100) ranks highest, and ranks fourth overall. Lexus (157 PP100) ranks second and Cadillac (163 PP100) ranks third.
Lexus is 2nd Ranked Premium Brand
The parent corporation receiving the most model-level awards is General Motors Company (nine awards), followed by BMW AG (five); Hyundai Motor Group(three); Ford Motor Company (two); and Toyota Motor Corporation (two). Among brands, Chevrolet receives the most segment awards (six), followed by BMW (four).
- General Motors models that rank highest in their respective segments are Buick Encore GX, Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac XT6, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Silverado HD and Chevrolet Tahoe. The Chevrolet Corvette is the highest-ranking model overall with 101 PP100.
- BMW models that rank highest in their respective segments are BMW 2 Series, BMW 7 Series, BMW X1 and BMW X3.
- Hyundai models that rank highest in their respective segments are Genesis G80, Hyundai Accent and Kia Forte.
- Toyota models that rank highest in their respective segments are Lexus IS and Toyota 4Runner.
- Ford models that rank highest in their respective segments are Ford Ranger and Lincoln Nautilus.
Plant Quality Awards
J.D. Power also hands out several plant quality awards as part of the study. These awards are based solely on defects and malfunctions, not design-related problems. General Motors' plant in San Luis-Potosi, Mexico, which produces the Chevrolet Equinox and the GMC Terrain, is the recipient of the Platinum Plant Quality Award.
In a tie for the Gold Plant Quality Award for Asia/Pacific, the award went to both Toyota Motor Corporation’s Takaoka 1 (Japan) plant, which produces the Toyota Corolla, and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.’s Tochigi 1 (Japan) plant, which produces the INFINITI Q50 and Q60.
BMW AG’s Regensburg (Germany) plant, which produces the BMW X1 and X2, is the Gold Plant Quality Award winner for Europe and Africa.