It came as a bit of a shock hearing about Tesla, everyone's favourite producer of electric cars, landing at the bottom of JD Power’s survey for new car quality.
That's right! Just recently, JD Power released the 2020 results of its Initial Quality Survey. This hugely influential survey is designed to find out what the first 90 days of owning a new car have been like for buyers. Participants are asked more than 200 questions about all sorts of car issues from the tiniest of faults up to the most significant issues.
Who Came Out on Top?
Who topped the 2020 list? Well, it shows that carmakers Dodge and Kia were tied for first place. According to the survey, customers reported 136 problems for every 100 vehicles sold by these two companies. Compared to other brands, these results are impressive and bolster these brands' reputations for reliability.
What we find curious about this survey isn't the winners, but the brands that ended up right at the bottom, and we're not just talking about Tesla!
Who Scored the Lowest (And Why)?
As mentioned earlier, Tesla scored the lowest position on this list. According to the survey, the EV maker came in with 250 problems reported for every 100 vehicles sold. On the surface, this sounds like very disappointing news for Tesla fans everywhere. But let's try to put things into perspective. Who else other than Tesla was at the bottom? The bottom five car brands ahead of Tesla on this list include Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Audi and even Land Rover!
These carmakers are the best of the best in the car business. So why on earth did they score so low?
Well, the answer is pretty simple, despite not being obvious at first. Luxury cars that have more high-tech features also tend to have more problems for drivers to complain about. Imagine this: almost 25% of reported issues had something to do with the cars' touchscreens or even their Bluetooth connections! Sure, these are still valid problems, but they're not exactly major causes for alarm!
So, despite Tesla and all these luxury brands being at the bottom of the list, perhaps it's not a reason to panic or abandon your favourite brands just yet. After all, JD Power does clarify that Tesla's results aren't even official, because they weren't allowed to survey customers in all American states.
However, the results of this survey may pose a concern to these car brands that rely heavily on advanced features that basic models don't have. For instance, luxury brands like BMW, Audi, and Mercedes have moved towards using digital screens instead of traditional dashboard displays. This over-reliance on digital displays might pose new problems later on. As you can imagine, if that display stopped working, many of the car's features like navigation and entertainment suddenly become inaccessible.
What does this teach us as car buyers? Perhaps having all the latest high-tech features and digital car parts in a car isn't always a blessing. With more reliance on such features also comes the possibility of having more issues to deal with, no matter how small.
About the JD Power Initial Quality Survey
JD Power was founded in Los Angeles in 1968. They're a data analytics and consumer intelligence company that conducts surveys on customer satisfaction and product quality. Aside from the Initial Quality Survey (IQS), they perform the Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) and other studies as well. JD Power doesn't just survey consumers in the automotive industry; they also survey customers in banking, telecommunications, insurance and many other industries.
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By Ray Hasbollah