US quality survey: winners & losersComment on this story
Detroit - The race to fill vehicles with the latest technology is hurting quality.
Buyers reported more problems in their new vehicles this year than last year, according to rankings released by JD Power on Wednesday. It was the second straight increase since 2012, when the average number of problems in new cars and pick-ups hit an all-time low.
Car companies are feeling pressure to add new technology and update vehicles quickly so they don't get stale. But car buyers are frustrated with Bluetooth systems that won't connect to their phones, voice recognition systems that don't understand them and navigation systems that aren't getting them where they need to go.
“Anytime you make a significant change to a vehicle you have the opportunity to introduce more problems,” said David Sargent, vice president for global automotive at JD Power.
Porsche, Jaguar, Lexus and Hyundai and Toyota were the best-performing brands in this year's survey. The worst performers were Fiat, Jeep, Mitsubishi, Scion and Mazda.
Sargent said younger buyers are more likely to complain about problems than older drivers, who are more tolerant of mechanical issues.
“Younger drivers didn't grow up in an era where cars had things that fell off,” Sargent said. On the flip side, he said, younger drivers are less frustrated by the technology in their cars.
This year's rankings were compounded by the harsh winter in the Northeast and Midwest. In those areas, there were more complaints than usual about heating systems, engine and transmission problems and exterior trim and paint problems, Sargent said.
Buyers reported an average of 116 problems per 100 vehicles in the first 90 days of ownership, up three percent from last year.
JD Power surveyed 86 000 owners between February and March of this year. One major brand, Tesla, isn't included because JD Power didn't have enough data from owners. -AP
WINNERS: TOP TEN BRANDS
1. Porsche - 74 (problems per 100 vehicles)
2. Jaguar - 87
3. Lexus - 92
4. Hyundai - 94
5. Toyota - 95
6. Chevrolet - 106
7. Kia - 106
8. BMW - 108
9. Honda - 108
10. Lincoln - 109
LOSERS: TEN WORST BRANDS
Infiniti - 128 (PP100)
Volkswagen - 128
Acura - 131
Mini - 133
Subaru - 138
Mazda - 139
Scion - 140
Mitsubishi - 145
Jeep - 146
Fiat - 206
Best: Hyundai Accent
Runners up: Mazda 2, Kia Rio
Best: Hyundai Elantra
Runners up: Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic
COMPACT PREMIUM CAR
Best: Lexus ES
Runners up: Acura TL, Acura ILX, BMW 4 Series
COMPACT SPORTY CAR
Best: Mazda MX-5
Runners up: VW Golf GTI, Scion tC
COMPACT PREMIUM SPORTY CAR
Best: Porsche Boxster
Runners up: Porsche Cayman, Nissan 370Z
Best: Chevrolet Malibu
Runners up: Hyundai Sonata, Toyota Camry
MIDSIZE SPORTY CAR
Best: Dodge Challenger
Runners up: Chevrolet Camaro
MIDSIZE PREMIUM CAR
Best: Hyundai Genesis
Runners up: Lincoln MKS, BMW 6, Lexus GS, Merc CLS
Best: Kia Cadenza
Runners up: Nissan Maxima, Toyota Avalon
LARGE PREMIUM CAR
Best: Porsche Panamera
Runners up: Lexus LS, Hyundai Equus