NEWS

2022 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study: New-Vehicle Problems Hit All-Time High

buick-encore-gx-2022-exterior-OEM-03 2022 Buick Encore GX | Manufacturer image

First impressions matter, especially when it comes to new cars, and the ongoing supply chain disruptions have taken a toll on consumers’ first impressions of their vehicles. That’s according to the 2022 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, an annual survey that measures new-car owner satisfaction based on the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100) in the first 90 days of ownership.

Related: Inventory Shortage Update: Should You Wait to Buy a Car?

Typically, the average industry score improves each year, but 2022 was an exception: Survey results showed an 11% increase in PP100 compared to the 2021 results and the most problems reported in the 36-year history of the study. According to J.D. Power, some owners were underwhelmed with their new vehicles due to the impact of supply chain issues and higher vehicle prices.

“Automakers continue to launch vehicles that are more and more technologically complex in an era in which there have been many shortages of critical components to support them,” said David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power, in a statement. Amodeo noted the microchip shortage is contributing to lower scores since it forced automakers to build vehicles without some desirable features.

To determine a PP100 score for each brand as well as the model-level winners,  J.D. Power surveyed 84,165 owners and lessees of new model-year 2022 vehicles. The survey asked new vehicle owners 223 questions that fall into nine vehicle categories: infotainment; features, controls and displays; exterior; driving assistance; interior; powertrain; seats; driving experience; and climate. The lower the PP100 score, the better.

Brand Rankings

2022 Buick Enclave Avenir 2022 Buick Enclave Avenir | Manufacturer image

The industry average score for 2022 was 180, which is a notable increase in reported problems compared to 2021’s average of 162. It’s worth noting that a brand’s initial quality score is not necessarily correlated to its manufacturing quality; a lower score is more likely a result of complex vehicle technology than poor build quality, according to the firm. Here’s how each brand ranked, followed by their PP100.

  • Buick: 139
  • Dodge: 143
  • Chevrolet: 147
  • Genesis: 156
  • Kia: 156
  • Lexus: 157
  • GMC: 162
  • Cadillac: 163
  • BMW: 165
  • Ford: 167
  • Lincoln: 167
  • Nissan: 167
  • Mini: 168
  • Toyota: 172
  • Mazda: 180
  • Honda: 183
  • Hyundai: 185
  • Ram: 186
  • Mercedes-Benz: 189
  • Subaru: 191
  • Acura: 192
  • Land Rover: 193
  • Jeep: 199
  • Porsche: 200
  • Infiniti: 204
  • Jaguar: 210
  • Alfa Romeo: 211
  • Mitsubishi: 226
  • Volkswagen: 230
  • Audi: 239
  • Maserati: 255
  • Volvo: 256
  • Chrysler: 265
  • Tesla: 226 (not eligible for ranking)
  • Polestar: 328 (not eligible for ranking)

GM Makes Strides, Buick Lands on Top

buick-encore-gx-2022-exterior-OEM-01 2022 Buick Encore GX | Manufacturer image

While most automakers saw a dip in their perceived initial quality, GM made improvements with its Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC brands. Most significantly, Buick leapt from 12th in 2021 to first in 2022. The Encore GX took the top spot in the small SUV segment, while the Cadillac Escalade and XT6, and the Chevrolet Corvette, Equinox, Malibu, Silverado 1500, Silverado heavy-duty pickup trucks and Tahoe all topped their respective segments. The Corvette was ranked the most problem-free model overall with a PP100 score of 101.

These improvements come in spite of GM’s decision to produce many of its popular vehicles without heated seats due to the chip shortage.

Genesis Overtakes Lexus Among Luxury Brands

genesis-gv70-2022-02-angle-exterior-grey-profile-suv 2022 Genesis GV70 3.5T Sport Prestige | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

For the last six years, luxury vehicle owners have reported lower initial quality compared to those driving mass-market cars. The average PP100 for luxury brands is 196, while their mass-market counterparts see an average of 175. According to J.D. Power, the difference can be attributed to more complex technology in luxury vehicles, which can increase the chance of problems.

For 2022, Genesis defied the trend, landing as the top luxury brand and fourth overall with a PP100 score of 156 — a much lower problem count than its parent company Hyundai’s 185. Although Genesis’ PP100 score is higher than in 2021, the brand still manages to edge out rival Lexus, which previously claimed the top spot. The G80 also took the top segment-level award for Upper Mid-Size Premium Car.

Are Electric Vehicles Too Smart?

ford-mustang-mach-e-2022--12-blue--exterior--front 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The survey found that, on average, owners of all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids experience more problems than internal-combustion-engine vehicle owners. While ICE vehicles saw an average PP100 score of 175, PHEV and EVs had significantly higher PP100 scores of 239 and 240, respectively.

These results exclude Tesla, however, though the brand did receive a PP100 score of 226. The automaker does not qualify for the survey awards because it does not allow J.D. Power to access owner information in some states. However, in a separate U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience Ownership Study, J.D. Power found the 2022 Tesla Model 3, Model Y and Model S had the top scores in overall EV rankings. With a PP100 score of 328, Polestar — Volvo’s luxury EV brand — was also ineligible for award rankings for the same reason as Tesla. Just like luxury vehicle owners report more problems due to more advanced technology, the same can be said for EVs.

“Infotainment issues do go up for PHEV and EVs,” Amodeo told Cars.com. “A lot of OEMs are viewing EVs as the vehicles that will transform us into the era of the smart cars, and all the extra content they are adding has a lot to do with this. Another [problem] area is the OEM app [that] is used more in plug-ins and especially EVs — there is a lot of room for improvement. Customers are [also] still getting used to electrification, which shows itself in range and charging issues.”

Some of these charging issues may include out-of-order fast-charging stations and high charging costs, which were found to decrease EV owner satisfaction in a 2021 J.D. Power survey on EV charging.

Technology Troubles Persist

volvo-v90-b6-awd-2022-13-interior-front-row-infotainment-system-steering-wheel-wagon 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

As with the 2021 survey findings, infotainment was again the most problematic category in 2022, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity causing the most headaches for owners. Other culprits include built-in voice recognition, difficult-to-use touchscreens and Bluetooth systems. In addition to infotainment, owners experienced more problems with advanced driver-assist features compared to the previous year; lane departure warning and lane keep assist were cited as the main offenders.

Segment Leaders

chevrolet-corvette-stingray-2022-oem-02-angle--exterior--front--orange.jpg 2022 Chevrolet Corvette | Manufacturer image

Among automakers with the most model-level awards, GM is the front runner with nine, followed by BMW with five and Hyundai with three awards. Ford and Toyota each have two model-level winners for 2022.

  • Small Car: Hyundai Accent
  • Small Premium Car: BMW 2 Series
  • Compact Car: Kia Forte
  • Compact Premium Car: Lexus IS
  • Compact Sporty Car: Mini Cooper
  • Premium Sporty Car: Chevrolet Corvette
  • Mid-Size Car: Chevrolet Malibu
  • Upper Mid-Size Premium Car: Genesis G80
  • Large Premium Car: BMW 7 Series
  • Small SUV: Buick Encore GX
  • Small Premium SUV: BMW X1
  • Compact SUV: Chevrolet Equinox
  • Compact Premium SUV: BMW X3
  • Mid-Size SUV: Nissan Murano
  • Mid-Size Premium SUV: Lincoln Nautilus
  • Upper Mid-Size SUV: Toyota 4Runner
  • Upper Mid-Size Premium SUV: Cadillac XT6
  • Large SUV: Chevrolet Tahoe
  • Large Premium SUV: Cadillac Escalade
  • Minivan: Honda Odyssey
  • Mid-Size Pickup: Ford Ranger
  • Large Light-Duty Pickup: Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • Large Heavy-Duty Pickup: Chevrolet Silverado HD

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Editor’s note: This story was updated June 28, 2022, to reflect the correct average score of internal-combustion-engine vehicles.

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