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Nearly 2/3 Of Problems Owners Experience With New Vehicles Are Design-Related

The majority of problems owners experience with their new vehicle in the first 90 days of ownership are design-related rather than manufacturing defects. For example, a component may be working as designed, but owners deem it a problem because it may be difficult to understand or operate. These design problems are far less likely to be successfully resolved at the dealership than are defects, according to the J.D. Power 2013 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS).

Because design problems are not the result of a breakdown or malfunction, just 9 percent of these problems are taken to a dealership within the first 90 days of ownership. When owners take their vehicle to a dealership for a design-related issue, the problem is fixed only 13 percent of the time.

By contrast, 28 percent of owners who experience a defect or malfunction with their vehicle within the first 90 days of ownership take it to a dealership, and 42 percent of the time the dealership is able to fix the problem.

The overall initial quality for the industry averaged 113 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). The study found that many of the problems owners have with their vehicle relate to the driver interface, which includes voice recognition or hands-free technology, Bluetooth pairing for mobile phones, and the navigation system, among others.

Porsche ranked highest among nameplates included in the study, averaging 80 PP100. GMC ranked second with 90 PP100, and Lexus third with 94 PP100. Infiniti (95 PP100) and Chevrolet (97 PP100) round out the five highest-ranked positions.

The 2013 U.S. Initial Quality Study is based on responses from more than 83,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2013 model-year cars, trucks and multi-activity vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study is based on a 233-question battery designed to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate identification of problems and drive product improvement. The study was fielded between February and May 2013.

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