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J.D. Power US IQS Report Out: Vehicle Quality Hits Record Low

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The J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS) was released yesterday. In the wake of COVID-induced supply chain snafus, components shortage and shipping snarls, vehicle problems touched an all-time high in the 36-year history of the benchmark study. Vehicle quality declined 11% this year. The director of global automotive at J.D. Power, David Amodeo, noted that this marked the worst deterioration ever.

J.D. Power relies on customer reporting and its study is considered an industry benchmark for quality. It surveys the owners of the vehicles and then ranks the cars in terms of the number of problems reported per 100 vehicles (PP100). The lower the score, the higher the quality. The latest results were based on responses from 84,165 buyers and lessees of new 2022 model-year vehicles during their first 90 days of ownership.

Let’s run through the key findings from the study.

General Motors Emerges Winner

U.S. auto giant General Motors (GM - Free Report) was placed as the top overall automaker in the study and won 9 awards. From 12th position last year, Buick became the highest-ranking brand in 2022, with an initial score of 139 PP100. Chevrolet clinched the third spot with a score of 147 PP100.In fact, the Chevrolet brand received the maximum number of awards.

GM models, which clinched the first position in their respective segments, include Buick Encore GX, Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac XT6, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Silverado HD, Chevrolet Tahoe and Chevrolet Corvette. In fact, Chevrolet Corvette was the highest-ranking model overall, scoring 101 PP100.

Other Automakers in Top 5

Among the automakers, BMW AG (BAMXF - Free Report) , Hyundai Motor, Ford (F - Free Report) and Toyota (TM - Free Report) clinched the second, third, fourth and fifth spots, respectively.

BMW won five awards for its top-ranked models BMW 2 Series, BMW 7 Series, BMW X1 and BMW X3.

Hyundai secured the third slot with three high-ranked models—Genesis G80, Hyundai Accent and Kia Forte. Genesis also ranked the highest among premium brands. Overall, it ranked fourth after Buick, Dodge and Chevrolet.

Ford came fourth with two top-ranked models, namely Ford Ranger and Lincoln Nautilus.

Toyota secured two awards for Lexus IS and Toyota 4Runner.

Tesla Scores Disappoint

This was the first time EV king Tesla (TSLA - Free Report) was included in the list for industry calculation. It scored 226 PP100, comparing unfavorably with the industry average of 180 PP100. The company remained ineligible for awards as, unlike other manufacturers, Tesla doesn’t grant J.D. Power the permission to survey its owners in 15 states where it is required.

TSLA currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Mass Market Brands Fare Better Than Premium Ones

Mass-market brands average score of 175 PP100 compared favorably with premium brands’ 196 PP100.  Premium brands are equipped with more advanced technology and the added complexity escalates the likelihood of problems. Even amid a severe dearth of microchip and other components, automakers continued to launch more and more technologically complex vehicles. Owners of premium-brand vehicles continued witnessing more issues than mass-market vehicle owners — a trend that started in 2016.

Infotainment Remains the Trouble Spot

Per the survey, issues related to infotainment were the major causes of problems, with an average of 45 PP100—which is 19.5 PP100 more problems than the next-highest category. Top complaints included touch screens, built-in voice recognition and navigation systems, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay connectivity, as well as Bluetooth issues.

Battery-Powered and ADAS-Enabled Cars More Problematic

BEVs and PHEV owners noted more problems than the users of ICE vehicles. ICE vehicles averaged 175 PP100, better than BEV (excluding Tesla models) and PHEV’s average of 240 PP100 and 239 PP100, respectively.

While issues with advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) declined last year, it has risen again in 2022. The most challenging ADAS system is lane departure warning/lane-keeping assistance with 4.1 PP100.