Owners reported fewer problems with their vehicles in the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, with Lexus ranking highest among all brands and Kia ranking highest among mass-market brands for a third straight year.
Persistent problems with technology, notably infotainment systems, did not prevent the number of problems per 100 (PP100) 2020-model-year vehicles from falling to an industry average of 186 PP100, down from 192 PP100 in 2022.
Mass-market brands (182 PP100, 8 PP100 lower than prior year) outperformed premium brands (205 PP100) by 23 PP100, the widest margin between the two segments in the 34-year history of the dependability study.
“It is typical in the automotive industry to roll out concepts and features by putting them in premium vehicles first,” Frank Hanley, senior director of auto benchmarking at J.D. Power, says in a news release detailing the study.
“A bellwether for mass-market brands looking to adopt and implement these technology features into their portfolio is in two of the industry’s preeminent studies, the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study and the Vehicle Dependability Study,” he says. “Connecting insights from the two studies better informs automakers by substantiating trends and showcasing how some automakers are preventing problems from occurring early on and throughout the ownership experience.”
Among premium brands, Lexus ranks highest overall in vehicle dependability, with a score of 133 PP100. Other premium brands with high dependability rankings are Genesis (144 PP100), Cadillac (173 PP100) and BMW (184 PP100).
Kia leads the mass-market segment in the 2023 study with 152 PP100, followed by Buick (159 PP100), Chevrolet (162 PP100), Mitsubishi (167 PP100) and Toyota (168 PP100), J.D. Power says.
Among individual models, the Toyota C-HR and Lexus RX (pictured, above) tied for most-dependable honors, each with 111 PP100. The brands with the greatest improvement in reported problems were Ram (77 PP100 decline), Volvo (41 PP100 decline) and Nissan (35 PP100 decline).
At the other end of the ranking, Land Rover owners reported the most problems (273 PP100), followed by Lincoln (259 PP100) and Audi (252). Tesla, officially included in the dependability study for the first time, had the fifth-most reported problems at 242 PP100. J.D. Power notes, however, that Tesla does not give it access to owner information in states where that permission is required by law.
The manufacturer receiving the most segment-level awards is Toyota with six: Lexus NX, Lexus RX, Toyota C-HR, Toyota Highlander, Toyota Sienna and Toyota Tacoma. BMW and General Motors each claim four segment awards – BMW for the BMW 4-Series, BMW X2, BMW X5 and Mini Cooper, and GM for the Chevrolet Blazer, Chevrolet Silverado HD, Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Sierra.
J.D. Power’s 2023 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from 30,062 original owners of 2020 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. The study was conducted from August through November 2022. The study, redesigned in 2022 to include features and technology that are available in current vehicles, covers 184 specific problem areas across nine major vehicle categories: climate; driving assistance; driving experience; exterior; features/controls/displays; infotainment; interior; powertrain; and seats.
The study measures long-term quality, which can significantly affect vehicle residual values.
“The used-vehicle market has helped sustain dealers’ profitability in the past couple of years, but they need to know which vehicles to have on their lots,” says Jonathan Banks, vice president and general manager of vehicle valuations at J.D. Power. “Having vehicles with strong dependability scores will nurture a positive brand perception and drive foot traffic.”