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J.D. Power 2011 Initial Quality Study Shows Technology Challenges

June 24, 2011

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA – J.D. Power’s 2011 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS) showed a small decrease in the overall number of problems per vehicle, down from 109 problems per 100 vehicles in 2010 to 107 problems per 100 vehicles in 2011. The caveat for this assessment, however, is that the initial quality for launch models dropped somewhat, from an average of 111 problems per 100 vehicles in 2010 to 122 problems per 100 vehicles in 2011. Carryover models had fewer problems (only 103 problems per 100 vehicles in 2011 compared with 108 problems per 100 vehicles in 2010).

According to J.D. Power’s IQS, the major reasons for the increase in problems with launch models are due to advanced engine/transmission technology and new technology in the areas of audio/entertainment/navigation.

J.D. Power said high fuel prices and stricter government regulations are pushing the automakers to design engine and transmission software that helps make these technologies as efficient as possible, but this can lead to the engine or transmission “hesitating” when accelerating or changing gears.

When it comes to the automakers introducing ever more advanced multimedia technologies into vehicles, some vehicle owners report these systems aren’t intuitive enough or don’t function properly.

For this year’s IQS, seven all-new or redesigned models rank among the top three in their award segments, compared with 17 models in 2010. Also, one launch model received a segment award this year compared with five launch models in 2010. One-quarter of redesigned models perform better in 2011 than the outgoing versions of their models did in 2010.

J.D. Power’s 2011 IQS is based on responses from more than 73,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2011-MY year vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The group fielded the study between February and May 2011.

Highlights from the study include the following: Lexus leads with 73 PP100 on average. Honda is next, which improved to second rank position in 2011 from sixth in 2010. Acura, Mercedes-Benz, and Mazda are next. Mazda improved to the fifth rank position in 2011, from 18th in 2010. Land Rover showed an improvement by reducing problems by a total of 47 problems per 100 vehicles from 2010.

Honda earned seven segment awards. Vehicle recipients include the Accord, Accord Crosstour and Civic, which tied, the Element, Fit and Insight (also in a tie), and Ridgeline. Lexus received awards for the ES, GS, GX and LS models. Chevrolet, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz each received two awards. Chevrolet received awards for the HHR and the Tahoe; Ford for the F-150 and the Taurus; and Mercedes-Benz for the GLK-Class and the E-Class cabriolet/coupe. J.D. Power also gave segment awards to the Cadillac Escalade; Chrysler Town & Country; Dodge Challenger; and Mazda MX-5 Miata.

For the all-new and redesigned models, the Hyundai Equus and Dodge Durango ranked second in their segments.

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