Technology among Top Problems for Vehicle Owners
MUNICH: 16 September 2015 — Mazda ranks highest in vehicle dependability among all nameplates in Germany, according to the J.D. Power 2015 Germany Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS) released today in association with AUTO TEST.
The study measures problems experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of vehicles in Germany after 12-36 months of ownership. The study examines 177 problem symptoms across eight categories: engine and transmission; vehicle exterior; driving experience; features/controls/displays; audio/communication/entertainment/navigation (ACEN); seats; heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC); and vehicle interior. Overall dependability is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality.
Mazda ranks highest with a score of 87 PP100. Mitsubishi ranks second with 90 PP100, followed by Škoda with 93 PP100; Dacia with 96 PP100; and Toyota with 98 PP100. The overall industry average is 129 PP100. Porsche, which ranks ninth (106 PP100), and Volvo, which ranks 11th (112 PP100), are the only premium brands to rank above industry average.
Three of the top five problems in the industry are related to technology in the ACEN category. The most frequently reported ACEN problem is the navigation system being inaccurate, followed by built-in Bluetooth mobile phone/device frequent pairing/connectivity issues and poor or no radio reception.
“As we’ve seen in studies in the UK, the United States and other markets, vehicle owners’ expectations of advanced technology capabilities are growing,” said Dr. Axel Sprenger, senior director of European automotive operations at J.D. Power. “When they have a problem with the technology—and the definition of dependability is increasingly influenced by usability—owners are disappointed.”
Škoda has two models (Fabia and Superb) that receive segment awards. BMW (X1), Mazda (MAZDA3) and Volkswagen (Up!) each receive one award.
- Volume brands fare better than premium for dependability; the overall average score among premium nameplates is 147 PP100, which is 26 PP100 more than the volume average of 121 PP100.
- Overall, the most frequently reported problems are in the exterior category (22.2 PP100), followed by interior (20.7 PP100) and features/controls/displays (18.9 PP100).
- In addition to reporting problems experienced with their 1- to 3-year-old vehicles, owners also rate the severity of each problem they experience. The scale for problem severity ranges from 1 (very minor problem) to 5 (very serious problem). Eight of the 10 most severe problems are in the engine/transmission category. These severe problems have a negative impact to intended loyalty. For example, among owners who experience a problem in which their “engine doesn’t start at all,” only 34 percent say they “definitely will” purchase the same brand of vehicle, compared with 49 percent among owners those who do not experience the problem.
- Among owners who experience most of these problems, less than 80 percent—depending on the problem—take their vehicle to their dealer to service the problem. For example, only 71 percent of owners who report that their engine “doesn’t start at all” take their vehicle to the dealer for service to address the problem. OEMs could work on improving the percent of people who visit dealerships to address these problems.
The 2015 Germany Vehicle Dependability Study is based on 14,605 respondents who purchased their vehicle between April 2012 and March 2014. The study was fielded April through June 2015. The Germany VDS, along with the J.D. Power 2015 Germany Customer Service Index (CSI) Study,SM replace the J.D. Power Germany Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction StudySM (VOSS), providing deeper and more detailed insights into vehicle dependability and after-sales solutions for automakers, suppliers and dealerships.
Additional study results are published exclusively in the October issue of AUTO TEST, which will be on sale beginning on September 30, 2015.
Media Relations Contacts
Mark Lendrich; J.D. Power; Munich, Germany Tel: +49 (0)89-288 03 66-11; firstname.lastname@example.org
Tobias Franzke; AUTO TEST; Tel: +49 (0)9122 63 13 100; email@example.com
John Tews; J.D. Power; Troy, Mich., USA; +1 248-680-6218; firstname.lastname@example.org
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AUTO TEST is a member of the international AUTO BILD group published by Axel Springer. Since 2003, AUTO TEST has been the leading special interest magazine for readers who are planning to buy a new car. More than 500 cars are tested each year, with more than 1.8 million kilometers driven to provide readers with detailed and objective model reviews to help them choose the best car for their money. Readers can also find tips on cutting running costs, used cars, service, finance and accessories.