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Problems Plague BEVs Despite Traditional OEMs Leveling Playing Field with Tesla, J.D. Power Finds

Ram Ranks Highest Overall in Initial Quality Study; Porsche Ranks Highest among Premium Brands

In its first year incorporating franchise dealership repair visits with Voice of the Customer (VOC) data, the J.D. Power 2024 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS) reveals significant insights into vehicle quality. The industry average for problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) is 195, with mass market brands performing better than the average at 181 PP100. Premium brands, which often include more complex systems, average 232 PP100. A lower PP100 score indicates higher vehicle quality.

Frank Hanley, senior director of auto benchmarking at J.D. Power, noted, “It is not surprising that the introduction of new technology has challenged manufacturers to maintain vehicle quality.” He added that some problem areas like voice recognition and parking cameras have seen improvements over the past year.

Despite expectations that battery electric vehicles (BEVs) should be less problematic due to fewer parts, the study found BEVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) require more repairs across all categories compared to gas-powered vehicles. BEVs average 266 PP100, significantly higher than the 180 PP100 for gas- and diesel-powered vehicles. Notably, Tesla’s BEV quality has declined to match that of traditional OEMs, both now at 266 PP100, with issues related to the removal of conventional controls like turn signals and wiper stalks.

Key findings from the 2024 study include:

  • False Warnings: Advanced driver assistance systems and rear seat reminder technology contribute to rising frustration among owners due to inaccurate alerts.
  • Connectivity Issues: Problems with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay persist, with users experiencing frequent connection issues. More than 50% of Apple users and 42% of Samsung users use these features regularly.
  • In-Vehicle Controls: This category remains problematic, especially for EVs, where PP100 incidence is over 30% higher than in gas-powered vehicles. Tesla’s switch to steering wheel-mounted buttons has been particularly unpopular.
  • Unpleasant Interior Smells: This issue has worsened across most brands, with odors often emanating from the vehicle’s HVAC system.

The 2024 IQS, based on responses from 99,144 new vehicle purchasers and lessees, integrates repair visit data for a comprehensive view of vehicle quality. The study includes 227 VOC questions and relevant repair data, organized into 10 categories: infotainment; features, controls and displays; exterior; driving assistance; interior; powertrain; seats; driving experience; climate; and unspecified (unique to repair).

Highest-Ranking Brands and Models

Ram ranks highest in initial quality with a score of 149 PP100. Chevrolet (160 PP100) and Hyundai (162 PP100) follow among mass market brands. Porsche leads the premium brands with 172 PP100, with Lexus (174 PP100) and Genesis (184 PP100) trailing closely.

General Motors Company (GM) received the most model-level awards, followed by Hyundai Motor Group and Toyota Motor Corporation. Chevrolet received the most segment awards among brands.

  • Top Models by GM: Cadillac XT5, Cadillac XT6, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Silverado HD, Chevrolet Tahoe, and Chevrolet Traverse.
  • Top Models by Hyundai Motor Group: Genesis G80, Hyundai Santa Cruz, Kia Carnival, and Kia Forte.
  • Top Models by Toyota Motor Corporation: Lexus IS, Lexus LC, Lexus UX, and Toyota Camry, with the Lexus LC achieving the highest overall ranking at 106 PP100.

Plant Quality Awards

Toyota’s Takaoka 2 plant in Japan, which produces the Toyota RAV4 and Toyota Venza, received the Platinum Plant Quality Award. Gold Plant Quality Awards for North/South America went to Honda’s Alliston 2 plant and Toyota’s Cambridge South plant in Ontario, Canada. BMW’s plant in Born, Netherlands, producing the MINI Cooper and MINI Countryman, won the Gold Plant Quality Award for Europe and Africa.

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