Press Release

Vehicle Dependability in Japan Improves from 2019, J.D. Power Finds

Daihatsu Ranks Highest among All Brands 

TOKYO: 21 Oct. 2020 — Overall vehicle dependability in Japan has improved year over year, as the number of defects and malfunction problems have decreased, according to the J.D. Power 2020 Japan Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS), released today.


“Overall vehicle dependability has improved this year compared to last year,” said Koichi Urayama, senior director of the automotive division at J.D. Power Japan. “However, since 2015 when the VDS was inaugurated in Japan, design-related problems have been more frequently reported in the ACEN category. These problems include user-friendliness and ease of use, indicating improvements need to be made in these areas. Additionally, in order to increase loyalty, manufacturers need to continue their efforts toward improving and maintaining quality to develop long-lasting customer satisfaction.”

The study, now in its sixth year, measures problems experienced by original owners of vehicles after 37 to 54 months of ownership. The study examines 177 problem symptoms across eight categories: vehicle exterior; driving experience; features/controls/displays (FCD); audio/communication/entertainment/navigation (ACEN); seats; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); vehicle interior; and engine/ transmission. Overall dependability is determined by the number of problems reported per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality.


Following are some of the key findings of the 2020 study:

  • Vehicle dependability improves by 10 PP100: The overall industry average for vehicle dependability in 2020 decreases year over year by 10 PP100 to 62 PP100. The largest improvement is in the engine/transmission category (-2.4 PP100), specifically for automatic engine shut down/restart/re-engagement problems (-0.6 PP100) and automatic transmission–hesitation/shifts at wrong times (-0.4 PP100). Vehicle dependability also notably improves in the vehicle exterior (-1.9 PP100) and the vehicle interior (-1.8 PP100) categories.
  • Among the 14 brands included in the rankings, dependability improves by at least 10 points for seven brands: The number of reported problems has decreased for 12 of 14 brands compared to 2019, indicating that quality has improved. Vehicle dependability has improved by 10 points or more for seven brands, including Mazda (-24 PP100); Daihatsu (-19 PP100); and BMW (-14 PP100), three brands that have achieved larger problem decreases than the other brands.
  • Brand loyalty hinges on dependability: This study also rates satisfaction with overall vehicle quality on a 10-point scale for vehicles owned for 37 to 54 months. Nearly one-third (30%) of owners indicate with a rating of 9 or 10 points that they “definitely will” purchase the same brand again. In the 2020 Japan Initial Quality Study published in August, 26% of owners say the same after two to nine months of ownership. This suggests that, if brands can satisfy their customers in terms of initial quality, they can expect to maintain high dependability ratings and brand loyalty even after a longer period of ownership.


Study Rankings

Daihatsu ranks highest among all brands for the first time. Lexus ranks highest among luxury brands for a third consecutive year.

Highest-Ranked Models

Mini-Car segment: Daihatsu Move Canbus

Compact segment: Toyota Passo

Midsize segment: Subaru Levorg and Toyota Corolla, in a tie

Minivan segment: Toyota Estima


The 2020 Japan Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from 19,488 purchasers of new vehicles in the first 37 to 54 months of ownership. The study was fielded online in June-July 2020.


J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics. These capabilities enable J.D. Power to help its clients drive customer satisfaction, growth and profitability. Established in 1968, J.D. Power is headquartered in Troy, Mich.


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