The Quality of New Cars Is Declining, These Brands Are Currently the Least Problematic

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.15 - 2024 9:58 AM CET

The Quality of New Cars Is Declining, These Brands Are Currently the Least Problematic.

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There is an increasing number of problems with newly manufactured cars, but Toyota typically performs well in reliability surveys.

The long-term reliability of new cars is noticeably deteriorating - this is the troubling conclusion of the J. D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, conducted for the thirty-fifth time this year.

The results of the research, examining problems and malfunctions experienced within three years of purchase, usually correlate with those found in the Initial Quality Study, which analyzes the same model years when they are brand new (within the first 90 days of use). However, this time, customer satisfaction with their vehicles has measurably worsened over thirty months: while in 2023, users reported an average of 190 malfunctions per 100 cars, this year the rate has increased to 194.

There is room for optimism, as the cars examined were manufactured during the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting we might be talking about a temporary decline. Hopefully, this will also prove true for the reliability of the most problematic vehicle types, the purely electric and plug-in hybrids. The market showed great interest in these three years ago, which evidently came at the expense of lasting quality.

Over time, as the balance of power evens out and technology continues to advance, plug-in vehicles are likely to become reliable. However, current statistics do not favor them: while hybrid vehicles reported 191 incidents per 100 cars, plug-in hybrids had 216, and purely electric models reported 256 problems.

Foto: JD Power

J. D. Power traditionally asks users about 184 specific problems across nine main categories, and this year, systems serving multimedia, navigation, and online communication tasks proved to be the most critical - especially infotainment systems performing poorly in smartphone integration and voice control.

At the top of the reliability survey, Lexus finished first, ahead of its parent brand, Toyota, which barely finished ahead of Buick. Among the last four places, Volkswagen and Audi were also featured.