Automobile

J.D. Power vehicle quality sinks to new low

New-vehicle quality improved at just nine of 33 brands surveyed: Buick, Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Acura, Land Rover and Audi.

David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power, said the decline in quality could have been even steeper, given the parts shortages and other disruptions automakers have coped with over the past year.

“In general, initial quality has shown steady improvement throughout the history of this study, so the decline this year is disappointing — yet understandable,” he said in a statement. “Automakers continue to launch vehicles that are more and more technologically complex in an era in which there have been many shortages of critical components to support them.”

Many automakers have delivered vehicles to dealerships without certain features installed because of shortages of various parts, especially microchips.

“Communication with [customers] about the changes in feature availability, as well as when such features will be reinstated, is critical to their satisfaction,” Amodeo said.

Mitsubishi’s quality took the biggest hit compared with last year. The brand had 226 problems per 100 vehicles, up 82 from last year. Ram, which ranked No. 1 last year, had 186 problems per 100 vehicles, an increase of 58. Jeep, Volvo, Jaguar, Porsche and Hyundai also saw the number of problems per 100 vehicles rise by at least 36 over last year.

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