J.D. Power: Consumers Elaborate on Equipment Dissatisfaction


J.D. Power blog

Although only a small per­cent­age of new-vehicles are equipped with this par­tic­u­lar equip­ment, con­sumers are express­ing their lack of sat­is­fac­tion in the lat­est J.D. Power survey.

Find out what piece of equip­ment should be fab­u­lous, but isn’t.

Although a small per­cent­age (less than 5%) of new-vehicles are equipped with power seats that have man­u­ally adjustable lum­bar sup­port, new-vehicle own­ers with those seats report more prob­lems with the lum­bar sup­port adjust­ment than do own­ers of vehi­cles equipped with all-power seat con­trols, accord­ing to our 2013 Seat Qual­ity and Sat­is­fac­tion Study.

Prob­lem inci­dence of power seats with a man­ual lum­bar sup­port aver­ages 1.9 prob­lems per 100 vehi­cles (PP100) vs. just 0.4 PP100 for own­ers with all-power seat con­trols (0.4 PP100). Sat­is­fac­tion among own­ers of vehi­cles equipped with power seats that have man­ual lum­bar adjust­ments also is slightly lower on average—8.2 (on a 10-point scale), com­pared with 8.4 for own­ers of fully-powered seats.

We see that expec­ta­tions play into the equa­tion in our study, which is based on responses from more than 83,400 own­ers of new 2013 model-year cars and light trucks dur­ing the first 90 days of own­er­ship. At the indus­try level, nearly one-half of all new vehi­cles are equipped with all-power seats. Pre­mium vehi­cle own­ers have expec­ta­tions that all adjust­ments on a ‘power seat’ will be power-controlled, not man­u­ally operated.

Some vehi­cle own­ers with power seats and man­ual lum­bar adjust­ments indi­cate that they thought the lum­bar adjust­ment was bro­ken, while oth­ers didn’t even know that they had a man­ual lum­bar adjust­ment fea­ture at all. It’s also highly pos­si­ble that many new-vehicle own­ers may not real­ize their power seat has man­u­ally adjustable lum­bar sup­port until after they pur­chase the vehi­cle, which only exac­er­bates their displeasure.

While seat sup­pli­ers and automak­ers are try­ing to save costs and reduce weight for bet­ter fuel econ­omy by installing the much sim­pler manually-adjustable lum­bar sup­port mech­a­nism in pow­ered seats, own­ers of new vehi­cles equipped with those power/manual seats are not pleased.