Mainstream brands top 2019 JD Power dependability study
Peugeot has taken the top spot in the JD Power 2019 UK Vehicle Dependability Study, with mainstream brands also dominating the overall top 10.
The survey, now in its fifth year, measures problems experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of vehicles in the UK after 12-36 months and finds that in-car technology is affecting drivers’ views of brands, particularly premium marques.
The 2019 study is based on feedback from a total of 11,530 owners of new vehicles registered from November 2015 through January 2018, and measures the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score indicating better performance.
The feedback covers 177 problem symptoms in eight categories: vehicle exterior; driving experience; features/controls/displays (FCD); audio/communication/entertainment/navigation (ACEN); seats; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); vehicle interior; and engine and transmission.
Peugeot ranked highest overall among all brands with a score of 77 PP100 – compared to an industry average of 119 PP100. Among the top 10 brands, nine brands were volume brands. Skoda (88 PP100) ranked second with Hyundai (90 PP100) in third.
Among premium brands, Volvo ranked the highest with 106 PP100 and Mercedes-Benz (136 PP100) came in second.
The findings indicate that increased use of technology is proving a headache for owners, with audio/communication/entertainment/navigation (ACEN) systems comprising half of the 10 most problematic issues that owners cite in their new vehicle. Owners of premium vehicles cite more ACEN problems than owners of volume vehicles, mostly because a higher percentage of premium vehicles have built-in navigation systems than volume vehicles.
JD Power added that the figures for newer safety technology features (e.g., blind spot monitoring, collision avoidance and lane departure warning systems) show how the rush for brand differentiation is creating more problems for carmakers. The average score for newer safety systems is 2.4 PP100 (1.8 PP100 for volume brands and 4.0 PP100 for premium brands), which is notably higher than 1.5 PP100 for other optional FCD systems (e.g. alarm system, keyless entry, cruise control).
Josh Halliburton, head of European operations at JD Power, said: “When we look at the PP100 scores of relatively new safety technologies, it’s clear that manufacturers still have work to do to perfect those systems – particularly premium brands that use them as a major selling point. It’s also going to be vital for vehicle makers to win customer trust in this technology if they are to convince potential buyers that fully automated vehicles in the future will be reliable. For example, such buyers are quite likely to question the safety of self-driving cars if brands still struggle with the accuracy of their navigation systems.”
The research also shows engine problems have the greatest negative effect on quality and reliability scores across the industry, as well as among premium brands. In particular, owners of premium vehicles are 12 percentage points less likely to repurchase the same brand when an engine problem occurs.
Interestingly, although problems with electric and hybrid vehicles are higher in total than with vehicles with internal combustion engines, the research finds electric and hybrid owners are more likely to repurchase or lease the same brand in the future.