2017 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study: Excellent Long-Term Quality Isn’t Exclusive to Luxury Brands
While it is generally true that in order to get the latest safety and technology features or cutting-edge design, car buyers need to shop the luxury brands, the same principle does not necessarily apply when it comes to vehicle dependability. According to the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS), long-term quality isn’t exclusive to luxury brands.
The Vehicle Dependability Study, now in its 28th year, examines problems experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of 3-year-old vehicles. The study determines overall dependability by examining the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality. The 2017 study examines cars, trucks, minivans, and SUVs from the 2014 model year and covers 177 specific problems grouped into eight major vehicle categories:
- Audio/Communication/Entertainment/Navigation (ACEN)
- The Driving Experience
- Features/Controls/Displays (FCD)
- Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning (HVAC)
The study finds that the 10 top-selling models from the 2014 model year average 134 PP100—significantly lower than the industry average of 156 PP100. Two perennial best-selling models—the Ford F-150 pickup truck and the Toyota Camry sedan—also lead their vehicle segments in the 2017 VDS.
“We find buyers are increasingly avoiding models with poor reputations for dependability, so manufacturers can’t afford to let quality slip, particularly on their best sellers” said Dave Sargent, vice president, global automotive at J.D. Power. “While many expensive and niche vehicles do have excellent quality, the fact is that most consumers are shopping in the high-volume mainstream segments. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a very dependable vehicle.”
Also of note, the study finds that long-term quality is a key factor in contributing to higher residual values for vehicles.
“In the current industry environment of record levels of leasing and long-term loans, higher residual values allow automakers to provide more competitive deals to buyers,” said Jonathan Banks, vice president of vehicle analysis and analytics at J.D. Power. “This creates the opportunity to achieve higher market share and/or elevated profit margins.”