Porsche tops new J.D. Power ratings, Kia/Hyundai gain
Porsche topped the J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS) for the third straight year, while Korean maker Hyundai/Kia topped its Japanese rivals. The annual study indexes problems encountered during the first 90 days of new vehicle ownership, rating automakers on a problems-per-100 vehicles basis (PP100). Porsche scored an 80 PP100 score followed by Kia, which logged in at 86 PPM vaulting it above all other non-premium nameplates for the first time in the history of the study. The remaining top five brands in terms of PP100 stats were Jaguar at 93, Hyundai at 95 and Infiniti at 97.
While Japanese automakers in general managed to trim their PP100 numbers by two, it was not sufficient to keep pace with the improving industry average that dipped to 112 from 116 in 2014. Only three other Japanese brands -- Lexus (104), Toyota (104) and Honda (111) earned above-average PP100 stats, with BMW (99), Chevrolet (101) and Lincoln (103) ahead of Lexus/Toyota; and Buick (105), Ford (107) and Ram (110) ahead of Honda. Trailing the 2015 IQS list were Jeep (141), Subaru (142), Chrysler (143), Smart (154) and Fiat (161).
Voice recognition problematic
As for key problems areas, they continue to revolve around entertainment and connectivity systems, with balky voice recognition cited as the prime culprit. Stephens noted that the number of owners with vehicles that include this feature has risen from 57 percent in 2013 to 67 percent in 2015 and that in the majority of models in the latest IQS study, voice recognition issues were responsible for at least 10 of the PP100 issues reported. "Smartphones have set high consumer expectations of how well technology should work, and automakers are struggling to match that success in their new vehicles," said Renee Stephens, J.D. Power vice president of U.S. Automotive. "However, we are seeing some OEMs make important improvements along the way. What's clear is that they can't afford to wait for the next generation of models to launch before making important updates to these systems."