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Isaiah Kelly
Isaiah Kelly

The Ultimate Resource for Vehicle Dependability: Download the Free PDF Report from J.D. Power



What is the Vehicle Dependability Study and Why Should You Care?




If you are in the market for a new or used vehicle, you probably want to know how reliable it is. How often will it break down or need repairs? How long will it last? How much will it cost to maintain? These are all questions that affect your satisfaction and budget as a vehicle owner.




Vehicle Dependability Study Pdf Free


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Fortunately, there is a way to find out the answers to these questions before you buy a vehicle. It's called the Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), conducted by J.D. Power, a global leader in consumer insights and analytics. The VDS is an annual survey that measures the quality and reliability of vehicles after three years of ownership. It is based on feedback from original owners who report any problems they experienced with their vehicles in the past 12 months.


The VDS is one of the most trusted sources of information on vehicle dependability in the industry. It helps consumers make informed decisions when shopping for a vehicle, and it helps automakers improve their products and services to meet customer expectations. In this article, we will explain how the VDS works, what are its key findings for 2021, and what are its benefits for consumers and automakers.


How Does the Vehicle Dependability Study Work?




Methodology




The VDS is based on responses from 36,896 original owners of 2018 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. The study was fielded in October-December 2020. The study covers 177 specific problems grouped into eight major vehicle categories:


  • Audio/communication/entertainment/navigation (ACEN)



  • Engine/transmission



  • Exterior



  • Interior



  • Features/controls/displays (FCD)



  • Driving experience



  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning



  • Seats



Scoring




The study calculates the number of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) for each brand and model. A lower score reflects higher dependability, and a higher score reflects lower dependability. For example, a brand with a score of 100 PP100 means that its owners reported an average of one problem per vehicle in the past year.


The study also ranks brands and models based on their PP100 scores. The highest-ranked brand or model in each category is the one with the lowest PP100 score, meaning it has the fewest problems reported by its owners. The lowest-ranked brand or model in each category is the one with the highest PP100 score, meaning it has the most problems reported by its owners.


Categories




The eight categories of problems covered by the VDS are as follows:


  • ACEN: This category includes problems with the audio system, communication system, entertainment system, and navigation system. Examples of problems are poor sound quality, voice recognition errors, Bluetooth connectivity issues, and inaccurate map data.



  • Engine/transmission: This category includes problems with the engine, transmission, and drivetrain. Examples of problems are excessive oil consumption, engine hesitation, transmission shudder, and driveline vibration.



  • Exterior: This category includes problems with the exterior of the vehicle, such as the paint, body, glass, lights, and wheels. Examples of problems are paint chips, body dents, windshield cracks, headlight failures, and wheel corrosion.



  • Interior: This category includes problems with the interior of the vehicle, such as the seats, door panels, dashboard, and carpet. Examples of problems are seat stains, door rattles, dashboard squeaks, and carpet wear.



  • FCD: This category includes problems with the features, controls, and displays of the vehicle, such as the instrument panel, steering wheel, windows, and locks. Examples of problems are inaccurate fuel gauge readings, steering wheel vibration, window leaks, and lock malfunctions.



  • Driving experience: This category includes problems that affect the driving experience of the vehicle, such as the ride quality, handling, braking, and steering. Examples of problems are harsh ride, poor handling, brake noise, and steering pull.



  • HVAC: This category includes problems with the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system of the vehicle. Examples of problems are insufficient heating or cooling, unpleasant odors, and fan noise.



  • Seats: This category includes problems with the seats of the vehicle, such as their comfort, adjustability, and functionality. Examples of problems are seat discomfort, seat heater failure, and seat belt retractor failure.



What are the Key Findings of the 2021 Vehicle Dependability Study?




Overall improvement




The 2021 VDS shows that vehicle dependability has reached its best level ever. The industry average is 121 PP100the lowest in the studys historyand a 13 PP100 (10%) improvement from 134 PP100 in 2020. This is a much greater rate of improvement than in the past two years, which had improvements of 2 PP100 and 6 PP100, respectively.


This means that todays three-year-old vehicles are of higher quality and more dependable than in previous years. Most owners arent experiencing their vehicles breaking down or falling apart but rather functioning well and consistently.


Segment differences




The VDS also reveals that there are significant differences in dependability among different segments of vehicles. Cars continue to be the segment with the most dependable vehicles, averaging 111 PP100, while trucks average 130 PP100 and SUVs average 122 PP100. Given that trucks and SUVs currently account for approximately 80% of retail sales each month, its important for automakers to address problem areas in these two segments to achieve a similar level of dependability as for cars.


Brand differences




The VDS also shows that there are notable differences in dependability among different brands of vehicles. Owners of Asian brand vehicles experience the fewest problems (115 PP100) compared with domestic brands (126 PP100) and European brands (131 PP100). This indicates that Asian brands have an edge over their competitors in terms of quality and reliability.


Top performers




The VDS also identifies the brands and models that rank highest in overall dependability and in each category. The highest-ranked brand overall is Lexus, a score of 99 PP100. This is the seventh consecutive year Lexus has led the VDS rankings. Porsche ranks second with 100 PP100. Buick ranks highest in overall vehicle dependability among Mass Market brands with a score of 116 PP100. Fiat is the most improved brand, with owners indicating 106 fewer PP100 than in 2020. Infiniti has the largest improvement in rank, moving from 29th to 4th. Other brands with strong improvements include Nissan (37 fewer PP100 than in 2020) and Ford (31 fewer PP100 than in 2020). Kias fifth-place ranking is the brands best-ever VDS performance.


The highest-ranked models in each category are as follows:


Category


Model


Small Car


Kia Rio


Compact Car


Nissan LEAF


Midsize Car


Toyota Camry


Large Car


Nissan Maxima


Small Premium Car


Audi A3


Compact Premium Car


Lexus ES


Midsize Premium Car


Cadillac CT6


Small SUV


Kia Sportage


Compact SUV


Chevrolet Equinox


Midsize SUV


Hyundai Santa Fe


Large SUV


Ford Expedition


Small Premium SUV


Audi Q3


Compact Premium SUV


Cadillac XT4




Lexus RX


Large Premium SUV


Cadillac Escalade


Minivan


Toyota Sienna


Midsize Pickup


Ford Ranger


Large Light Duty Pickup


Toyota Tundra


Large Heavy Duty Pickup


Chevrolet Silverado HD


Technology challenges




The VDS also reveals that the most problematic category of problems for vehicle owners is audio/communication/entertainment/navigation (ACEN), which accounts for 25% of all problems reported. The two most common problems in this category are built-in voice recognition (9.3 PP100) and built-in Bluetooth connectivity (7.7 PP100). These problems affect the usability and convenience of the vehicle's technology features, and can cause frustration and dissatisfaction for owners.


The study suggests that automakers need to improve the design and functionality of their ACEN systems, as well as provide better education and support for owners on how to use them. Additionally, automakers need to ensure that their ACEN systems are compatible and updatable with the latest devices and software, as technology evolves rapidly and owners expect their vehicles to keep up with the changes.


What are the Benefits of Vehicle Dependability for Consumers and Automakers?




Residual value




One of the main benefits of vehicle dependability is that it affects the residual value of vehicles, which is the amount of money a vehicle is worth after a certain period of time. Residual value is important for consumers who want to trade in or sell their vehicles, as it determines how much they can get back from their investment. Residual value is also important for automakers who want to offer competitive leasing options and incentives for their customers.


The VDS shows that vehicle dependability is positively correlated with residual value. According to J.D. Power data, vehicles with above-average dependability retain 81% of their original value after three years, compared with 65% for vehicles with below-average dependability. This means that owners of dependable vehicles can save thousands of dollars when they decide to sell or trade in their vehicles.


Customer loyalty




Another benefit of vehicle dependability is that it affects customer loyalty, which is the likelihood of customers to buy or lease another vehicle from the same brand or dealer. Customer loyalty is important for automakers who want to retain their existing customers and attract new ones through word-of-mouth recommendations.


The VDS shows that vehicle dependability is also positively correlated with customer loyalty. According to J.D. Power data, 54% of owners who do not experience any problems with their vehicles say they definitely will purchase or lease from the same brand again, compared with 31% of owners who experience three or more problems. This means that owners of dependable vehicles are more likely to stay loyal to their brand and dealer, and less likely to switch to a competitor.


Future trends




The VDS also provides insights into the future trends of vehicle dependability, as new technologies emerge and evolve in the automotive industry. Some of these trends are:



  • Electric vehicles: Electric vehicles (EVs) have fewer mechanical components than conventional vehicles, which means they have fewer potential sources of problems. However, EVs also have unique challenges, such as battery degradation, charging infrastructure availability, and range anxiety. The VDS shows that EVs have a lower PP100 score than conventional vehicles (81 PP100 vs. 123 PP100), but also have lower customer satisfaction scores (77% vs. 80%). This indicates that EV owners have higher expectations and demands for their vehicles, and that automakers need to address their specific needs and concerns.



  • Autonomous vehicles: Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are vehicles that can drive themselves without human intervention, using sensors, cameras, radar, lidar, and artificial intelligence. AVs have the potential to improve safety, efficiency, and convenience for drivers and passengers, but they also pose new challenges for dependability, such as software glitches, cyberattacks, and ethical dilemmas. The VDS does not yet measure AVs, as they are still in development and testing stages, but it will be crucial to monitor their performance and reliability as they become more available and accessible in the future.



  • Over-the-air updates: Over-the-air (OTA) updates are software updates that can be delivered wirelessly to a vehicle's ACEN system, without requiring a physical connection or a visit to a dealer. OTA updates can enhance the functionality and security of a vehicle's technology features, as well as fix bugs and errors. However, OTA updates can also introduce new problems, such as compatibility issues, data breaches, and user confusion. The VDS shows that OTA updates are not yet widely adopted by automakers, as only 6% of owners report receiving one in the past year. However, as OTA updates become more common and frequent, automakers need to ensure that they are reliable, secure, and user-friendly.




Conclusion




The Vehicle Dependability Study is a valuable source of information for consumers and automakers who want to know how reliable and quality vehicles are after three years of ownership. The 2021 VDS shows that vehicle dependability has reached its best level ever, with a 10% decline in problems from 2020. However, the study also reveals that there are still significant differences in dependability among different segments, brands, and models of vehicles, and that technology remains the most problematic area for owners.


Vehicle dependability has many benefits for consumers and automakers, such as higher residual value, higher customer loyalty, and higher customer satisfaction. However, vehicle dependability also faces new challenges and opportunities in the future, as new technologies such as electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, and over-the-air updates emerge and evolve in the industry. Therefore, it is important for consumers to stay informed and updated on the latest trends and developments in vehicle dependability, and for automakers to continue to improve their products and services to meet customer expectations and needs.


If you want to learn more about the Vehicle Dependability Study and download the full report for free, please visit J.D. Power's website at https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2021-us-vehicle-dependability-study.


FAQs




  • Q: What is the difference between the Vehicle Dependability Study and the Initial Quality Study?



  • A: The Vehicle Dependability Study measures the quality and reliability of vehicles after three years of ownership, while the Initial Quality Study measures the quality and reliability of vehicles after 90 days of ownership. Both studies are conducted by J.D. Power and use the same methodology of surveying original owners and calculating PP100 scores.



  • Q: How can I find out the dependability score of a specific vehicle model?



  • A: You can find out the dependability score of a specific vehicle model by visiting J.D. Power's website at https://www.jdpower.com/cars/ratings. You can search by vehicle type, brand, or model year, and see the overall dependability score as well as the scores for each category of problems.



  • Q: How can I improve the dependability of my vehicle?



  • A: You can improve the dependability of your vehicle by following the recommended maintenance schedule, using genuine parts and accessories, keeping your software updated, and reporting any problems or issues to your dealer or manufacturer as soon as possible.



  • Q: How can I participate in the Vehicle Dependability Study?



  • A: You can participate in the Vehicle Dependability Study by registering your vehicle with J.D. Power at https://www.jdpoweronline.com/vqs. You will receive an invitation to complete an online survey about your vehicle after three years of ownership. Your feedback will help improve the quality and reliability of vehicles in the future.



  • Q: How can I contact J.D. Power if I have any questions or comments about the Vehicle Dependability Study?



  • A: You can contact J.D. Power by phone at 1-800-853-6077 or by email at autotech@jdpa.com. You can also follow J.D. Power on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.



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