Engine and Transmission Problems among Most Severe; Yet Few Owners Have Them Serviced by a Dealer
MEXICO CITY: 20 Oct. 2016 — Audi ranks highest in vehicle dependability among all nameplates in Mexico, according to the J.D. Power 2016 Mexico Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS), released today.
The study measures problems experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of vehicles in Mexico after 12-36 months of ownership. The study examines 177 problem symptoms across eight categories: engine and transmission; vehicle exterior; driving experience; features/controls/
displays; audio/communication/entertainment/navigation (ACEN); seats; heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC); and vehicle interior. Overall dependability is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality.
Audi ranks highest with a score of 34 PP100. BMW ranks second with 35 PP100, followed by Acura with 36 PP100 and Buick and Mercedes-Benz each with 41 PP100. The overall industry average is 137 PP100, an improvement from 164 PP100 in 2015.
Dependability and reliability are critical in today’s automotive market. For example, among owners who do not experience any problems with their vehicle, 67% say they “definitely will” repurchase the same brand again and 73% say they “definitely will” recommend the brand to family and friends. Among owners who experience just one problem with their vehicle, intended loyalty drops to 59% and intended advocacy drops to 70%. Less than half of owners who experience three or more problems with their vehicle intend to buy the same brand again and less than 61% intend to recommend the brand to others.
“Reliability affects consumer confidence, and has a direct effect on purchase decisions and brand loyalty,” said Gerardo Gomez, director and country manager at J.D. Power de México. “And all of those have financial ramifications for automakers.”
Eight of the 10 problems owners report as most severe are in the engine/transmission category, led by engine overheating, excessive fuel consumption and excessive oil consumption. Surprisingly, only 59% of owners who experienced an engine overheating problem took their vehicle to the dealership to have the issue serviced.
“Severe problems have a negative impact on the customer experience, but if they don’t take the vehicle to the dealership, the dealer doesn’t have a chance to fix the problem and perhaps improve the owner’s perceptions of the vehicle’s dependability,” said Gomez. “By reaching out to customers on a regular basis, asking them about their ownership experience and encourage them to bring their car to the service department when they experience a problem, dealers have an opportunity to build customer trust and loyalty.”
Toyota has four models (Avanza, Highlander, Hilux and Sienna) that receive segment awards and Audi has two (A1 and A5). Receiving one award each are BMW (X3); Ford (F-Series Light Duty/Super Duty); Honda (Fit); Jeep (Compass); Nissan (March); and Mazda (Mazda6).
Other key findings of the study include:
- Interior Most Problematic: The most frequently reported problems are in the interior category (25.3 PP100), followed by driving experience (21.2 PP100) and exterior (21.2 PP100).
- Not All Problems Are Equal: Many problems that have a large negative impact on loyalty are not problems many people would consider severe. However, the study finds that owners who report problems such as shift lever excessively worn or faded, speakers broken or writing on controls faded or removed have the lowest intended loyalty. “These problems may seem trivial, but they are in the owner’s mind every time they drive the vehicle,” said Gomez.
- Problems Increase with Age: The number of owner-reported problems increases as vehicles age. Owners of 2015 model-year vehicles report an average of 96 PP100, nearly half the number of 182 PP100 reported by owners of 2013 model-year vehicles.
- Owner Satisfaction Slips: The 2016 Mexico VDS also measures owner satisfaction with their vehicle. Owners are asked to rate various aspects of their vehicle, including its interior, exterior, ACEN, driving dynamics and visibility and safety, which comprise an overall vehicle satisfaction index based on a 1,000-point scale. Overall satisfaction averages 850 in 2016. Owner satisfaction is highest with the exterior (864) and driving dynamics (861) aspects of their vehicle and lowest with ACEN (830) and fuel economy (839).
- Top Two Problems With Vehicle Interior: The most commonly reported problems by owners in Mexico are seat material problems (3.4 PP100), interior materials scuffing or soiling easily (3.3 PP100) and noisy brakes (3.2 PP100). In comparison, the top two problems reported by owners in the United States are Bluetooth pairing/connectivity and built-in voice recognition systems misinterpreting commands.1 Bluetooth connectivity is the fifth-most frequently reported problem in Mexico (2.9 PP100).
The 2016 Mexico Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) is based on the evaluations of 9,400 interviews with owners in Mexico who purchased their vehicle from March 2013 through June 2015. The study was fielded from March through July 2016.
See the online press release at http://www.jdpower.com/pr-id/2016187.
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1 Source: J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Vehicle Dependability StudySM