US quality survey: winners & losers

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IOL mot jun19 Porsche Panamera

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The Porsche Panamera proved to be the least problematic car in the survey.

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

CATEGORY WINNERS

SMALL CAR

Best: Hyundai Accent

Runners up: Mazda 2, Kia Rio

COMPACT CAR

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

MIDSIZE CAR

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

LARGE CAR

Best: Kia Cadenza

Runners up: Nissan Maxima, Toyota Avalon

LARGE PREMIUM CAR

Best: Porsche Panamera

Runners up: Lexus LS, Hyundai Equus


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