J.D. Power & Assoc. Ranks Auto Makers in 2011 Review

Potential new car buyers might want to take a look at a new report from J.D. Power and Associates showing that quality for most new rides isn’t all that it could be. A new release from this consumer report firm shows that quality has declined for new vehicles launched in 2011, after a steady rise from 2007-2010.

The report names two main problems that have contributed to researchers looking askance at many of the name plates getting unveiled this year. One is engine and transmission design. We’ve seen how most auto makers are now focusing on fuel efficiency, but according to J.D. Power, they’re also practicing another kind of frugality, making cars according to their own budgets. J. D. Power says that has led to some apparent problems with “hesitation” and low engine/transmission function in some cars.

Another issue that researchers found effects the overall quality of new car designs on the 2011 market is technology. Again, many various consumer reports sources have shown American consumers flocking toward the newest auto designs with the most new features, but this report shows that some of this technology just doesn’t work the way it is supposed to all the time. From navigation systems to DVD rear seat entertainment, mp3 jacks and voice-activated sound systems, parts that are not built with top quality materials or engineered for quality can fail, decreasing the car’s value as well as the “enjoyment value” of the vehicle.

To illustrate the quality issue in a technical way, J.D. Power shows a list of car makers, referring to each manufacturer’s new 2011 designs with the application of PP100 or problems reported per 100 cars. While the industry average has increased, some car makers still come in above the curve; Lexus wins with only 73 problems per 100 cars. Honda, Acura and Mercedes Benz are close behind, and Toyota, a major company with staying power, is in the top ten. Many other manufacturers, like Ford with 116 and Nissan with 117, come in below the average.

All of this serves to show those on the market for a new or used vehicle some of the hidden dangers of auto shopping. The best bet is to look at a range of consumer reports information for a specific year, evaluating known issues with the engine/transmission, electrical systems, and other parts of the vehicle, but this J. D. Power report is a good place to start.