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Japan Initial Quality Study (IQS)

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Japan Initial Quality Study (IQS) serves as the industry benchmark for new-vehicle quality measured in the early stage of ownership. In Japan, the IQS had been conducted since 2001 for the Mini-Car segment; in 2011, the study has been started to further expand the model coverage to the Compact, Midsize, Large, Minivan segments in addition to Mini-Car. The focus of the study is model-level performance and how individual models compare to similar models. The IQS is used extensively by manufacturers worldwide to help them design and build better vehicles and by consumers to help them in their vehicle-purchase decisions.

Study Features and Benefits

Problems are organized into eight categories:

  • Exterior
  • The Driving Experience
  • Features/Controls/Displays
  • Audio/Communication/Entertainment/Navigation
  • Seats
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning: HVAC
  • Interior
  • Engine/Transmission

The study also captures problems experienced by owners in two distinct areas—defects and malfunctions and design-related problems.

  • Defect/Malfunction problems generally refer to a complete breakdown or malfunction of any component, feature, or item.
  • Design problems generally refer to components or features that may be functioning properly but are still perceived as problems by the owner because they are difficult to understand or use.

The study utilizes problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) as the unit of analysis. The PP100 score for each model is the average number of problems reported per 100 vehicles, with a lower score reflecting higher quality.

The study also includes data from owners regarding their overall satisfaction with their new vehicle, as well as data on perceived problem severity, including the impact of problems experienced on an owner’s intent to repurchase the brand. Owners are asked to indicate which of 233 listed problems they have experienced, and to provide additional details about the specifics of any problems they note. Additionally, owners are asked to write in any problems they have experienced that are not included on the list, which provides a more robust perspective of owner-reported problems.