Sales manager helping customers in a dealership.

Best and Worst New Cars By Initial Quality Satisfaction

Automakers have been doing a great job over the past few years with the improvement of initial vehicle quality.

A new car’s initial quality is measured by looking at owner reported problems by brand, that take place within the first ninety days of new vehicle ownership. The “initial quality score” (IQS) is calculated on problems that cause a complete breakdown or malfunction, or when features or controls do not work as designed, but are hard to use or difficult to understand.

According to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS), the industry average problems per 100 vehicles was only 112 problems per 100 vehicles sold. This number is down from last year’s number of 116 problems per 100 vehicles sold. As for the entire industry, the automakers have seen a three percent year-over-year improvement of their initial quality. In short, this means the manufacturers are building a better car now than they were just a few short years ago.

For the third year in a row, Porsche leads the way with the fewest problems reported, with a score of only 80 reported problems per 100 sold. The big news is that Kia is nipping at Porsche’s heels in second place with only 86 problems per 100 vehicles. This is also the first time ever Kia has led all non-premium makes in initial quality. Finishing out the top 5 on the list is Jaguar with 93 problems per 100 vehicles sold, Hyundai with 95 problems per 100 vehicles and in the fifth spot and most improved, Infiniti with a score of 97 problems per 100 vehicles sold.

Technology Causes the Most Trouble for New Car Owners

Modern technology continues to be a trouble spot for the industry. Most people tend to compare smart phones with the way all technology should work and the manufacturers are doing their best to keep up with that success within their new cars.

Many OEMs are making huge strides and important improvements in the field. However, automakers cannot afford to wait for the launch of new generations before making important updates or modifications to these systems.

Most Common Technology Initial Quality Problem

Bluetooth pairing and voice recognition continue to be at the top of the list making connectivity and entertainment systems the most problematic area for the third consecutive year in a row. The number of new vehicle owners who indicate having problems with these systems increased to 67 percent in 2015, up from 57 percent in 2013. These numbers are from the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Tech Choice Study, this number is believed to increase as near field communication and wireless devices are the top two connectivity/entertainment technologies car buyers are wanting in their next new vehicle.

New Car Buyers Willing to Pay More for Safety Technology

Many consumers (especially young adult car buyers) are willing to pay more to have certain safety technology equipped on their vehicle. According to J.D. Power, a study shows new car buyers are willing to pay an average premium of $750 for blind spot detection and warning systems. This type of information proves to the automakers, safety is important to consumers.

Who Spends the Most on Safety Technology?

jd power techchoice study.
Source: J.D. Power Tech Choice Study

If you’re considering the purchase of a new vehicle, take a look at all the vehicles on the lists below to help you with your research and selection process before making a decision.

Best and Worst New Car Brands By Initial Quality for 2015

Rank Manufacturer 2015 Manufacturer IQS Ranking – Problems Per 100 Vehicles (PP100)
1 Porsche 80
2 Kia 86
3 Jaguar 93
4 Hyundai 95
5 Infiniti 97
6 BMW 99
7 Chevrolet 101
8 Lincoln 103
9 Lexus 104
9 Toyota 104
10 Buick 105
11 Ford 107
12 Ram 111
12 Honda 111
12 Mercedes-Benz 111
13 Audi 115
13 GMC 115
14 Dodge 116
15 Volvo 120
16 Nissan 121
17 Cadillac 122
17 Mini 122
18 Mazda 123
18 Volkswagen 123
19 Scion 124
20 Acura 126
20 Mitsubishi 126
21 Land Rover 134
22 Jeep 141
23 Subaru 142
24 Chrysler 143
25 Smart 154
26 FIAT 161

Source: J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS)

Highest Rated 2015 New Car Models by Segment for 2015

Vehicle Segment Highest Rated Initial Quality 2015 New Car
City Car FIAT 500
Small Car Chevrolet Sonic
Small Premium Car Audi A3
Compact Car Volkswagen Golf
Compact Sport Car Mini Cooper
Compact Premium Car BMW 4 Series
Compact Premium Sporty Car Porsche Cayman
Midsize Car Mazda 6
Midsize Sporty Car Dodge Challenger
Midsize Premium Car BMW 6 Series
Midsize Premium Sporty Car Chevrolet Corvette
Large Car Dodge Charger
Large Premium Car Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Small SUV Mini Countryman
Small Premium SUV Audi Q3
Compact SUV Mazda CX-5
Midsize SUV Nissan Murano
Midsize Premium SUV Porsche Macan
Compact MPV Ford C-Max
Midsize Pickup Chevrolet Colorado
Minivan Kia Sedona
Large SUV Ford Expedition
Large Premium SUV Infiniti QX80
Large Light Duty Pickup Ford F-150
Large Heavy Duty Pickup GMC Sierra HD

Source: J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS)

Competition Between Dealers Always Gets You the Best Price

When negotiating the price of a new car or truck, it’s important to know the dealer invoice price and what other people are paying for the same vehicle in your local area. Otherwise, you won’t know what a good price is to pay for the vehicle. I highly recommend using an online referral service such as Ryde Shopper and Motor Trend, their quotes will automatically include any discounts or cash-back incentives currently available.

In addition, the above sites will tell you which dealerships in your local area are currently the most flexible with their new car pricing. These sites provide valuable information for anyone thinking about buying or leasing a new car or truck.