Note added June 26, 2020 » This should have been a good news story for both Kia and Dodge. Instead the media (including this site) is focused on Tesla’s terrible ranking.
J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study, now in its 34th year, examines problems experienced by purchasers and lessees of new 2020 model-year vehicles during the first 90 days of ownership. According to J.D. Power, Initial Quality has proven to be an excellent predictor of long-term reliability, which has a significant impact on owner satisfaction and brand loyalty.
This is the first time a Detroit automaker topped the list in 34 years. The Dodge Durango and Dodge Challenger models both scored very high in their segments.
Kia tied Dodge and maintained its six-year streak as top-ranked auto brand.
Tesla, which outdid perennially bottom-ranked Land Rover, has traditionally refused to cooperate with outside researchers like J.D. Power. Perhaps we now understand more the reasons for this.
The J.D. Power IQS results vindicate the many reports from owners, journalists, and analysts concerning Tesla’s persistent production quality issues. J.D. Power is well respected in the industry.
While Tesla has focused on being first to market, the short term, it has created long-term problems. The company has a long documented history of severe quality issues. (CNBC » Build fast, fix later: Speed hurts quality at Tesla, some workers say)
That mindset doesn’t appear to have changed as the newest Model Y is experiencing many of the same difficulties and widespread defects that have afflicted earlier models.
Hype and being first to market has proven profitable for Elon Musk and shareholders, and they have built up a fan base. However, if Tesla does not improve quality, they will not be able to grow their base into paying customers at a time when other manufacturers with much better reputations for quality products are rapidly bring EVs to market.
Tesla is not about to go the way of Edsel any time soon. But just as there will always be a market of Land Rover, there will always be a fans of Tesla.
The Dodge brand, long a quality laggard, surged to take the top spot in the 2020 Power IQS, tying Kia, while toppling traditional benchmarks including Korea’s Genesis, Japan’s Lexus and Germany’s Porsche.
If anything, Porsche plunged to the lower quartile in the latest quality study, while Lexus and Genesis also slid sharply down the list. But no one fared more poorly than Tesla. Covered for the first time in the IQS, the California EV maker was, by far, posted an industry-worst score, underscoring recent reports of endemic quality issues impacting its line-up and, in particular, the new Model Y battery-SUV.
The J.D. Power Initial Quality Study provides a snapshot at how various automakers and their brands have a handle on quality, and on Wednesday, the firm dropped its most important one yet. Why? This year, Tesla is a part of the study for the first time ever.
Let’s get right to that big piece of news first then. Tesla ranks dead last, with an asterisk. J.D. Power’s methodology is to collect surveys from owners in all 50 states after 90 days of ownership, but Tesla won’t let the firm collect information in 15 states. So, J.D. Power instead collected a large enough sample from the 35 other states to include the electric carmaker. Technically, Tesla doesn’t qualify to rank, but in the grand scheme of things, it’d place last based on the data collected with 250 problems experienced per 100 vehicles.
Following are key findings of the 2020 study:
- Most domestic brands are above average: Seven domestic brands—Dodge (136 PP100); Chevrolet (141 PP100); Ram (141 PP100); Buick (150 PP100); GMC (151 PP100); Jeep (155 PP100); and Cadillac (162 PP100)—perform better than the overall industry average of 166 PP100. Collectively, this is the best-ever performance by the Detroit automakers—when compared with the import brands—in the history of the study.
- Most premium brands are below average: For most of the past decade, mass market brands have improved relative to premium brands, and this trend continues in 2020. Premium brands generally equip their vehicles with more complex technology, which can cause problems for some owners. Genesis (142 PP100), Lexus (159 PP100) and Cadillac (162 PP100) are the only premium brands that perform better than the industry average.
- Japanese brands fail to regain footing: Once regarded as the gold standard in quality, most Japanese brands have not improved as fast as competitors have and they continue to trail most Korean and domestic brands. Mitsubishi (148 PP100), Lexus (159 PP100) and Nissan (161 PP100) are the only Japanese brands to rank above industry average. “W. Edwards Deming said, ‘Quality is to fulfill the requirements of customers and satisfy them,’ and Japanese automakers excelled at this for quite some time,” Sargent said. “But some other automakers have surpassed them in recent years by understanding better what quality means for today’s owners.”
- Tesla profiled for first time: Tesla receives an initial quality score of 250 PP100. The automaker is not officially ranked among other brands in the study as it doesn’t meet ranking criteria. “Unlike other manufacturers, Tesla doesn’t grant us permission to survey its owners in 15 states where it is required,” said Doug Betts, president of the automotive division at J.D. Power. “However, we were able to collect a large enough sample of surveys from owners in the other 35 states and, from that base, we calculated Tesla’s score.”
- Infotainment is most problematic category: Almost one-fourth of all problems cited by new-vehicle owners relate to infotainment. Top complaints include built-in voice recognition; Android Auto/Apple CarPlay connectivity; touchscreens; built-in navigation systems; and Bluetooth® connectivity.
More » Jalopnik » Tesla’s Terrible JD Power Results Are Off The Chart
More » Forbes » Quality And Tesla: Are They Compatible?
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