Lexus tops J.D. Power’s vehicle dependability study for 5th straight year

DETROIT, MI – Lexus has been ranked the most dependable automotive brand for a fifth-straight year by J.D. Power’s annual Vehicle Dependability Study.

It continued a pretty good week for the Toyota Motor Co. luxury brand, which also fared well in an annual Consumer Reports brand report card, released Wednesday.

The same could be said for Buick, which was the only American marque to crack the top 10 of the Consumer Reports’ study, and now finds itself ranked third overall in J.D. Power’s dependability report, released Thursday and now in its 27th year.

General Motors also received eight segment awards, while Toyota Motor Corp. got six.

Award-winning models for GM included the Buick Encore, Buick LaCrosse, Buick Verano, Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Yukon.

After a poor showing in Wednesday’s Consumer Reports study, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles had all of its brands except Ram finish below industry average in J.D. Power’s study, with the Dodge label finishing dead last.

However, the Ram truck brand was ranked a respectable ninth overall. And in naming specific, top models for every segment, FCA’s Fiat 500 won the City Car category, and the Chrysler Town & Country finished second in the mini-van segment.

The full rankings are below.

Voice commands misinterpreted, mobile devices not connecting

A lot of vehicle technology no doubt sounds great on paper and may seem to work well in beta testing phases. But some of the audio, infotainment, and in-vehicle communication, or ACEN systems, that make it in to production vehicles can end up being user-unfriendly for many consumers, the study found.

The J.D. Power U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study says ACEN is now the most problematic area for most vehicles, and has caused industry-wide vehicle dependability to fall 3 percent.

“(Consumers are) certainly not yet ready to trust that autonomous technology will keep their vehicle out of the ditch.”

The overall industry average is 152 problems per 100 vehicles in 2016, versus 147 last year. Of all vehicle owners who reported ACEN problems, about 53 percent said their vehicle couldn’t find or recognize their mobile device for Bluetooth pairing.

For voice recognition, 67 percent of vehicle owners said the issue was the system not recognition or misinterpreting their commands.

The apparent dysfunction of some of this technology should also give consumers pause about the advent of autonomous driving.

“If you think about the technology problems from the study in the context of conversations around autonomous vehicles, the industry clearly has more work to do to secure the trust of consumers,” said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive at J.D. Power. “Right now, if consumers can’t rely on their vehicle to connect to their smartphone, or have faith that their navigation system will route them to their destination, they’re certainly not yet ready to trust that autonomous technology will keep their vehicle out of the ditch.”

The scores

But good old fashioned power-train problems persisted too, albeit at a slower pace, dropping to 24 Problems Per 100 vehicles in 2016 from 26 last year.

Design-related problems accounted for 39 percent of all dependability issues reported in the study, and were down about 2 percent from 2015.

J.D. Power conducted the study based on responses from 33,560 original owners of 2013 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. The study was conducted from October through December 2015.

Overall dependability is measured as problems experienced per 100 vehicles, or PP100. Lower scores reflect higher quality. The study spans 177 specific problem symptons in eight major vehicle categories.

Source: http://www.mlive.com/auto/index.ssf/2016/02/lexus_tops_jd_powers_vehicle_d.html

Feb 24th, 2016