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.




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