Power study finds less lurching in launching
One thing you could count on since the dawn of the industry was that new nameplates and redesigned vehicles would have more quality problems than carryover models. But the pattern may be changing, according to J.D. Power's 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study.
Power says owners of 3-year-old 2010 light vehicles reported 126 problems per 100 vehicles, an all-time low and a 5 percent improvement from 132 problems per 100 on 2009 models a year ago.
And for the first time since Power started tracking it in the 2009 study, new and redesigned vehicles had higher quality than carryover, said David Sargent, a Power vice president. "Manufacturers keep improving product quality," he said.
Models that were significantly redesigned or new for 2010 averaged 116 problems per 100 while those carried over unchanged from the previous year scored 133.
"The rapid improvement in fundamental vehicle dependability each year is more than offsetting any initial glitches that all-new or redesigned models may have," Sargent said.
The study counts problems reported in the past 12 months by owners of 3-year-old vehicles.
But the improved stats don't mean launches are now a sure thing. Ford had well-publicized problems with the 2013 Escape and Fusion, for example, and the Lincoln MKZ is three months late. Whether or not those launch woes will be reflected in subsequent owner complaints is something the Power folks will have to tell us in a few years.