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.