Lexus and Toyota Rank Highest in Vehicle Dependability
TOKYO: 24 Oct. 2019 — Problems with connectivity—a critical issue among vehicle owners in Japan—have increased in 2019, according to the J.D. Power 2019 Japan Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS), released today. Problems with diesel engines and transmissions also increased from 2018.
“Connectivity with media devices is perceived as an important quality issue for vehicle owners,” said Atsushi Kawahashi, Senior Director of the Automotive Division at J.D. Power. “Such problems do not always relate to the quality of the vehicle but should not be ignored. It’s expected that these features will be installed more frequently in new vehicles, so it is imperative for manufacturers to proactively improve this problem area.”
The study, now in its fifth year, measures problems experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of vehicles after 37 to 54 months of ownership. The study examines 177 specific problems 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 key findings of the 2019 study:
- Overall vehicle dependability improves at a slow rate: Overall vehicle dependability (72 PP100) improves in 2019 from 75 PP100 in 2018. When looking at the eight categories, vehicle dependability improves in six of them, with the most improvement being in vehicle exterior (-1.6 to 12.9 PP100) and engine/transmission (-1.1 to 10.7 PP100).
- Ten brands improve: Among the 14 brands included in the study, 10 brands show improvement in vehicle dependability year over year.
- Some functions and features more frequently installed: The study also examines whether the new vehicle is equipped with any specific functions and features. Features showing the highest installation increase year over year are: lane departure warning system (29% vs. 15% in 2018); collision avoidance/alert system (45% vs. 33%); reverse parking-assist system (34% vs. 27%); and built-in Bluetooth🄬 mobile phone/audio connectivity (64% vs.57%).
- Diesel engine and transmission problems: Overall, the number of engine/transmission-related problems averages 10.7 PP100, an improvement from 11.8 PP100 in 2018. However, transmission-related problems in diesel vehicles has increased to 24.0 PP100 from 18.5 PP100 a year ago. Among all the specific problems, incorrect lighting of engine warning light and exhaust system problems have been more frequently cited.
Lexus again ranks highest in overall vehicle dependability among all brands, with a score of 42 PP100. Toyota ranks highest again in the mass market segment, with a score of 60 PP100.
The vehicle models ranking highest in their respective segments in 2019 are:
- Mini-car segment: Suzuki Lapin (56 PP100)
- Compact segment: Toyota Passo (35 PP100)
- Midsize segment: Toyota Prius (54 PP100)
- Minivan segment: Honda Freed (50 PP100)
The 2019 Japan Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from 20,978 purchasers of new vehicles in the first 37 to 54 months of ownership. The study was fielded online from June through July 2019.
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