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US Study: Increased Tech Use Leads to Declining Vehicle Quality

The quality of new vehicles sold in the United States is experiencing a decline, according to automotive consultant J.D. Power. Factors such as the increasing use of technology and lower build quality of certain parts are contributing to these issues, resulting in models becoming more “problematic.” This information is crucial for consumers looking to make informed decisions about their vehicle purchases.

J.D. Power’s report, which collected data from 93,380 purchasers and lessees of 2023 model-year vehicles, highlights specific concerns regarding the build quality of parts like audio systems and cup holders. These quality issues are affecting the overall satisfaction of vehicle owners. As automakers rush to introduce innovative models amid supply constraints and labor shortages, they have been relying heavily on software and technology. However, this has inadvertently led to a decrease in the quality of some components.

Over the past two years, the report reveals a significant increase of 30 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). It is important to note that a lower PP100 score reflects higher vehicle quality. This decline in quality is a cause for concern within the automotive industry, as consumers are seeking reliable and well-built vehicles.

Interestingly, the report also sheds light on the quality ratings of Tesla Inc (TSLA.O). While Tesla is not officially ranked among other brands in the study due to not meeting ranking criteria, its quality ratings have shown a year-over-year increase of 31 PP100 to reach 257 PP100 in 2023. This information is valuable for those interested in Tesla vehicles and their overall quality performance.

Additionally, the report highlights a particular issue with electronic touch-point-designed door handles in new vehicles. The study reveals that seven out of the ten most problematic models in this regard are found in battery electric vehicles. This information is particularly relevant for consumers considering electric vehicles and the potential challenges they may face with door handle technology.

J.D. Power’s senior director of auto benchmarking, Frank Hanley, describes the wide range of quality problems observed in the automotive industry as a phenomenon unprecedented in the 37-year history of the Initial Quality Study. Hanley points out that while new vehicles offer exciting technological advancements, they may not always meet the expectations of owners. This insight can help consumers make informed decisions and manage their expectations when purchasing a new vehicle.

In terms of initial quality rankings, J.D. Power’s study reveals that Dodge achieved the highest overall score, indicating better initial quality performance, while Chrysler and Volvo were jointly ranked lowest. This information can assist consumers in considering the reputation of different automakers when making their purchasing decisions.

The comprehensive study conducted by J.D. Power spanned from February through May and encompassed 223 questions divided into nine vehicle categories. This extensive data collection ensures a comprehensive analysis of the quality landscape in the automotive industry.

As consumers navigate the market for new vehicles, understanding the current state of quality and potential challenges can help them make informed choices. By considering the insights provided by J.D. Power’s report, individuals can better assess the quality of vehicles they are considering and align their expectations accordingly.

Lillian Hocker
Lillian Hocker
Lillian Hocker is a seasoned technology journalist and analyst, specializing in the intersection of innovation, entrepreneurship, and digital culture. With over a decade of experience, Lillian has contributed insightful articles to leading tech publications. Her work dives deep into emerging technologies, startup ecosystems, and the impact of digital transformation on industries worldwide. Prior to her career in journalism, she worked as a software engineer at a Silicon Valley startup, giving her firsthand experience of the tech industry's rapid evolution.

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