GM, Toyota stand out in JD Power dependability rankings – Detroit Free Press
General Motors and Toyota posted solid marks in the dependability of 3-year-old vehicles, but consumer frustrations with wireless connections, navigation and voice-recognition software persist across the industry, according to a J.D. Power and Associates study released today.
Lexus, Porsche, Buick and Toyota captured the top four spots in the annual vehicle dependability study which measures owners’ complaints per hundred vehicles and was released one day after a similar survey by Consumer Reports magazine. These vehicles all had fewer than 114 problems per hundred, with Lexus (95) and Porsche (97) setting the pace.
The study also recognizes the vehicle in each of nine car and 10 light-truck segments. From that perspective, GM had eight segment-leading models, while Toyota and its Lexus luxury brand had six.
But the overriding theme, again, was that consumer frustration with the flood of technology into their vehicles is not easing. The industry average of problems per 100 vehicles rose to 152 from 147 last year, and many were related to the controls, entertainment choices and voice-recognition glitches in the touch screen or hands-free smartphone use.
“The increase in technology-related problems has two sources,” said Renee Stephens, J.D. Power vice president of U.S. automotive. “Usability problems that customers reported during their first 90 days of ownership are still bothering them three years later, in ever-higher numbers.”
Stephens said frequent complaints centered on Bluetooth, the wireless connection between smartphones and vehicles, and voice-recognition software that is meant to translate voice commands into text or directions for navigation.
In the last year, however, GM, Hyundai and others have begun to offer to make their connectivity technology compatible with either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. These systems effectively replicate the non-video apps from one’s phone on the vehicle’s center-mounted screen.
Because this year’s survey focused on 3-year-old cars and trucks, there’s no way to measure whether that trend is solving the issues over which many drivers are confused.
“The technologies people were most satisfied with were collision-avoidance features such as lane-departure alerts or blind-spot monitoring,” Stephens said.
J.D. Power researchers gathered responses from 33,560 drivers of 2013 model-year vehicles interviewed between October and December 2015.
Domestic brands fared better in this study than in the Consumer Reports rankings released Tuesday. The J.D. Power data showed five domestic brands in the top 10 — Buick (3rd), GMC (5th), Chevrolet (6th), Ram (9th) and Lincoln (10th). Cadillac, which ranked fourth last year, slipped to 15th, at 145 problems per 100, slightly better than the industry average.
Only Buick (7th) ranked in the top 10 brands in the Consumer Reports assessment.
Stephens said a record number of vehicle recalls (more than 51 million in 2015) has shaken consumer confidence in their vehicles’ reliability. But Mark Rosekind, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has taken a much more aggressive stance on defining safety related problems that require recalls.
Other domestic brands did not fare well in the J.D. Power rankings, with Dodge last (32nd) and Ford next to last. Chrysler (165 problems per 100), Fiat (171) and Jeep (181) all fell below the industry average.
Here are the highest ranking vehicles in each of the passenger car segments:
City Car: Fiat 500
Small Car: Honda Fit
Compact Car: Buick Verano
Compact Sporty Car: Mini Cooper
Compact Premium Car: Lexus ES
Midsize Car: Chevrolet Malibu
Midsize Sporty Car: Chevrolet Camaro
Midsize Premium Car: Lexus GS
Large Car: Buick LaCrosse
Here are the highest ranking light-truck models by segment:
Small SUV: Buick Encore
Compact MPV: Toyota Prius v
Compact SUV: Chevrolet Equinox
Compact Premium SUV: Mercedes-Benz GLK
Midsize SUV: Nissan Murano
Midsize Premium SUV: Lexus GX
Minivan: Toyota Sienna
Large SUV: GMC Yukon
Large Light-Duty Pickup: Toyota Tundra
Large Heavy-Duty Pickup: Chevrolet Silverado HD