Technology Advancements Create Opening for New-Vehicle Quality Problems in Japan, J.D. Power Finds
Daihatsu Ranks Highest Overall in Initial Quality
TOKYO: 7 Sept. 2022 — As technology advances with new-vehicle infotainment systems, it has created an opening for additional issues for the vehicle owner, according to the J.D. Power 2022 Japan Initial Quality StudySM (IQS), released today.
The study, now in its 12th year, examines problems experienced by owners of new vehicles in the first two to 13 months of ownership. Initial quality is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality. This is the second Japan IQS since last year when J.D. Power completely redesigned the study to redefine initial quality from the user perspective.
The infotainment category has the widest gap in problems per 100 vehicles among the 14 ranked brands (66.7 PP100), the fewest is 17.6 PP100 and the most is 84.3 PP100. Problems in infotainment remains problematic: The infotainment category continues to be problematic (24.8 PP100), particularly for built-in navigation system—difficult to understand/use; touchscreen/display screen—difficult to use/operate/understand; and built-in voice recognition—frequently doesn't recognize commands or is difficult to understand/use.
“Among the nine categories by which new-vehicle quality is evaluated, the most frequently cited problem is in infotainment, an important factor in new-vehicle initial quality,” said Yuji Sasaki, director of research division at J.D. Power. “Additionally, new problems related to annoying lane departure warnings or lane keeping assistance alerts and responses to the mandatory automatic headlights-on are being cited. It is imperative for manufacturers to change their current perspectives regarding vehicle quality and approaches to improvement and work on quality control that emphasizes ease of understanding/usability for users.”
Following are key findings of the 2022 study:
- Daihatsu receives the most model-level awards: In 2022, initial quality averages 138 PP100, almost unchanged from 2021 (137 PP100). Among the 14 brands included in the rankings, Daihatsu (116 PP100) has the fewest problems. Daihatsu also has four models ranking highest in their respective segments among the eight segments. In the luxury segment, Lexus (169 PP100) has the fewest problems.
- Lane departure warning/lane keeping assistance is the most frequently cited problem area: Among the 221 problem areas, the most problematic area continues to be lane departure warning/lane keeping assistance—alerts are annoying or bothersome from last year. The quality of this problem area has slightly improved in 2022 to 5.6 PP100 from 6.3 PP100 in 2021, however, many owners still indicate problems with these features. The study shows this is also one of the most problematic areas in the U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (4.1 PP100), however, it is still more frequently reported in Japan. This suggests that it is necessary to improve these features in view of road and traffic conditions specific to Japan.
- Mandatory automatic headlights-on causes more problems for some vehicle models: The responses to automatic headlights-on by manufacturers result in more problems in initial quality. Exterior light controls—difficult to understand/use or are poorly located has been more frequently cited in 2022 (1.6 PP100 vs. 1.3 PP100 in 2021). Related to this, timings of lighting-up and lighting-off are not right and lighting is not completely off are mentioned by owners. This suggests that the current automatic headlights-on features do not meet what users expect. Manufacturers need to not only improve the feature itself but also to give customers a thorough explanation about the specification of this feature during the sales negotiations.
Highest-Ranked Brands and Models
Daihatsu ranks highest in overall initial quality. Lexus ranks highest in the luxury market segment.
- Mini-car–Height Wagon segment: Daihatsu Cast
- Mini-car–Super Height Wagon segment: Daihatsu Move Canbus
- Compact Car segment: Toyota Passo
- Compact SUV segment: Daihatsu Rocky
- Midsize Car segment: Subaru Impreza
- Midsize SUV segment: Subaru Forester
- Compact Minivan segment: Daihatsu Thor
- Minivan segment: Honda Step Wgn
The Japan Initial Quality Study, now in its 12th year, is based on responses from 20,797 purchasers of new vehicles in the first two to 13 months of ownership. Vehicle quality is evaluated by owners across 221 questions organized into nine vehicle categories: infotainment; features, controls and displays; exterior; driving assistance; interior; powertrain; seats; driving experience; and climate. The study was fielded in May-June 2022.
About J.D. Power
J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics. A pioneer in the use of big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithmic modeling capabilities to understand consumer behavior, J.D. Power has been delivering incisive industry intelligence on customer interactions with brands and products for more than 50 years. The world's leading businesses across major industries rely on J.D. Power to guide their customer-facing strategies.
J.D. Power has offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. To learn more about the company’s business offerings, visit https://japan.jdpower.com/.
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