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

RankManufacturer2015 Manufacturer IQS Ranking – Problems Per 100 Vehicles (PP100)
1Porsche80
2Kia86
3Jaguar93
4Hyundai95
5Infiniti97
6BMW99
7Chevrolet101
8Lincoln103
9Lexus104
9Toyota104
10Buick105
11Ford107
12Ram111
12Honda111
12Mercedes-Benz111
XXINDUSTRY AVERAGE112
13Audi115
13GMC115
14Dodge116
15Volvo120
16Nissan121
17Cadillac122
17Mini122
18Mazda123
18Volkswagen123
19Scion124
20Acura126
20Mitsubishi126
21Land Rover134
22Jeep141
23Subaru142
24Chrysler143
25Smart154
26FIAT161

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

Highest Rated 2015 New Car Models by Segment for 2015

Vehicle SegmentHighest Rated Initial Quality 2015 New Car
City CarFIAT 500
Small CarChevrolet Sonic
Small Premium CarAudi A3
Compact CarVolkswagen Golf
Compact Sport CarMini Cooper
Compact Premium CarBMW 4 Series
Compact Premium Sporty CarPorsche Cayman
Midsize CarMazda 6
Midsize Sporty CarDodge Challenger
Midsize Premium CarBMW 6 Series
Midsize Premium Sporty CarChevrolet Corvette
Large CarDodge Charger
Large Premium CarMercedes-Benz S-Class
Small SUVMini Countryman
Small Premium SUVAudi Q3
Compact SUVMazda CX-5
Midsize SUVNissan Murano
Midsize Premium SUVPorsche Macan
Compact MPVFord C-Max
Midsize PickupChevrolet Colorado
MinivanKia Sedona
Large SUVFord Expedition
Large Premium SUVInfiniti QX80
Large Light Duty PickupFord F-150
Large Heavy Duty PickupGMC 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.