JD Power Vehicle Dependability - winners & losers | Auto Expert John Cadogan

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JD Power - that perpetual thorn in the side of miscreant carmakers releases its 2021 Vehicle Dependability Study. In related news, Elon Musk prepares the presidential suite of the Hyatt in hell for JD

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The Vehicle Dependability Study is a ‘US market’ thing, in its 32nd year. It measures the number of problems per 100 vehicles, which, in JD Power-speak, is called the PP100.

The smaller the PP100 number the less the inherent poor dependability propensity. The study covers 177 problems grouped into eight major vehicle categories:

Infotainment and nav, powertrain, exterior, interior, features, controls and displays, driving experience, HVAC, and seats.

“Today’s three-year-old vehicles are of higher quality and more dependable than in previous years. Most owners aren’t experiencing their vehicles breaking down or falling apart but, for many, vehicle technology continues to function poorly or inconsistently.”

Dave Sargent - global automotive VP at JD. And I agree, dude. It’s not much fun driving four four hours down the freeway with the Bluetooth dropping out every 10 kays, or some fault code that the dealership just can’t extinguish for good. It’s just not.

This kind of thing affects people.

"If an owner can’t rely on a system to work as they expect, it is also considered a lack of dependability. It affects their overall view of the vehicle and their likelihood of staying loyal to their automaker. In the future, dependability will partially be determined by the ability to solve problems through vehicle updates and the avoidance of technology obsolescence."

Tech in cars can be such an irritant. Automotive relationships are broken in the service department, when apathy and incompetence collide. Such a shame. I’m looking at you, Land Rover, Jeep, Alfa Romeo, Tesla…

However, looking at this in the context of the glass being half full: JD Power said that despite some recalcitrant operators in the market (I’m paraphrasing) vehicle dependability had reached a new high this year. So that’s positive.

JD dudes added that US domestic vehicles were less dependable than Asian brands. US brands have an average PP100 of 126 problems per 100 vehicles. Asian brands had a somewhat smaller PP of 115. And, of those, Hyundai, Kia and Genesis managed a combined average PP score of just 99.

Those of you who doubt my assertion that Hyundai-Kia is equal to, or in some cases, has actually overtaken, Japanese carmakers, should note the numbers. PP 99 of for Hyundai/Kia/Genesis (combined average). 118 for the Japanese. 131 for the Europeans.

Next time you fringe dwellers, in the comments, care to accuse me of being pro-South Korean cars, or even biased, I would retort: Yeah. I am quite biased.

What matters is what informs that bias. If it’s a brown envelope full of of cash under the table, or a fat advertising contract, that’s bad.

But if I’m biased towards Asian brands generally because they’re a better deal for mainstream consumers, based on objective data, anecdotal evidence and corroborating studies such as this one - shoot me. Guilty as charged, dude.

I don’t have any commercial relationship with any carmaker.

In particular the Euro dependability result is fascinating. What you get with a premium Euro car is cachet, not dependability. If you really think Euro cars are built better, you are living in the past. That’s a fantasy.
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