New-vehicle quality this year plunged to the worst score J.D. Power has recorded in the 36 years of its closely watched study. The results provide serious feedback that automakers — and their franchised dealers — need to tighten up their practices or risk sending more shoppers to upstart brands.
Customers paying record-high prices for scarce new models probably didn't expect to find 11 percent more problems than vehicle buyers a year earlier did — as reported in the 2022 Initial Quality Study — though perhaps sky-high prices may have made them more demanding of their purchases. On average, 180 problems per 100 vehicles were tracked industrywide, and 24 of the 33 brands surveyed tallied more vehicle problems than a year earlier.
Supply chain snags and remote work environments contributed to the jump in vehicle problems. But many of the quality issues stem from poor communication with consumers. Automakers have been shipping vehicles to dealerships without certain features because of shortages of various parts, such as microchips. Dealers are then delivering those vehicles to customers, sometimes with the promise to add missing features as they become available.