A rising number of smaller, more powerful but troublesome four-cylinder engines led to the first decline in vehicle dependability in 15 years, according to J.D. Power & Associates’ U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study.
J.D. Power measures overall vehicle dependability by determining the number of problems customers experience per 100 vehicles during the first three years of ownership.
- Problems jumped to 133 this year from 126 in last year’s study.
- This year’s study queried about 41,000 customers in late 2013 who have vehicles from the 2011 model year.
- Dependability is a major determining factor for consumers when considering their next vehicle purchase.
- About 56 percent of owners who report no problems with a vehicle within the first three years will stick with that brand
- Nearly one in four consumers will avoid brands that rank in the bottom fourth of the J.D. Power study.
- The rise in complaints was led mostly by engine and transmission problems.
- The rate of problems declined in areas like brakes, tire pressure monitoring, paint quality and water leaks.
- Automakers are quickly swapping out many V-6 engines for four-cylinders in a race to meet federal fuel efficiency standards.