It’s this time of year that car manufacturers around the globe take stock of their work with the release of the dreaded JD Power Vehicle Dependability Survey (VDS). Stateside, it’s a highly regarded consumer survey that measures, among others, the number of issues 100 drivers have with a car over the course of a year, leaving each brand with a PP100 (problems per 100 cars) score.
But this is not Stateside. What can UK consumers really learn about these results? Let’s take a look.
Lexus is king
Getting it out of the way early, the first thing we can notice is that once again, Lexus reign supreme as kings of the JD Power highway. For the fifth consecutive year, Toyota’s luxury brand has raced to the front of the pack, registering an impressive score of just 95 PP100.
As well as returning the highest overall brand score, Lexus boast the survey’s best midsize premium car in the form of their Lexus GS model, and the premier midsize SUV with their Lexus GX.
The results are good news for the UK market, which is to benefit from a further influx of Lexus investment by Toyota in the coming years.
Tech is troublesome
Problems with new-fangled infotainment systems, navigation and in-vehicle communication accounted for 20% of all consumer complaints in the 2016 survey, a six per cent rise on 2015’s findings.
Whilst the new age of tech continues to revolutionise motoring and every dashboard moves closer to that of a small jet, it’s important to remember – these things are only worth it if they work. Expect one of two responses across the new wave of releases – less tech, or better tech.
Ford’s Sync 2 – handle with care
Make no mistake, these results make for embarrassing reading for Ford. Their rapid fall from grace in this survey took them to new depths, with only Dodge sitting below them in the findings.
Much of the cause of their decline sits with their MyFord Touch system, the American version of Ford’s in-car communications and entertainment system better known to 2015 UK Mondeo and Focus drivers as Sync 2. Put simply, the software has been a nightmare for users since its release in 2011.
Fine-tuned and polished up for the European release of the Ford Tourneo Connect this year, it remains to be seen just how many issues the Sync 2 carries with it this time out.
Audi’s shift through the gears represents steady growth
Audi are unlikely to be releasing swathes of press around these results, sitting eleventh in the overall rankings with lukewarm individual model results. But just quietly, these findings represent an impressive year-on-year improvement that started four years ago.
This middle-lane mediocrity makes Audi specialist improvers in the JD Power rankings, something that they’ll be aiming to continue going into 2017.
Infinti are a serious option for UK drivers
Infinti’s feet-first jump into the UK market has been a slow burner in many respects, but with increased marketing and a more measured approach expected over the next year or two, it might just be that the US-staple brand are representing a genuine option for UK drivers in 2016 and beyond.
Of the brands available on the UK market, Infinti is the seventh most dependable on the list, with a PP100 of 136. This ranking is damaged by a controversial in-car comms system that the manufacturers claim to have cured, meaning that 2017’s survey may see an even more impressive showing.
Standards are dropping
Or so it would seem. The industry average PP100 has increased four years on the bounce, up from 126 in 2013 to 152 this time out. Niggling issues with in-car tech software have partly contributed to these figures, but the fact remains that underlying issues with the functionality of mid-range cars especially remains a concern for new car buyers.