According to the J.D. Power 2024 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) released in February 2024, vehicle owners are experiencing lower levels of vehicle dependability after three years of ownership.
The study shows that nearly two-thirds of the brands reported increased problems, indicating a decline in long-term vehicle dependability.
The industry average has increased by four problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) year over year, rising from 190 PP100 in 2023. The rate of problem increase between 90 days and three years of ownership has risen to 17%, up from 12% in 2023.
“Historically, VDS model results mirror the results of the respective model year in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, so a deterioration of vehicle dependability is unusual,” said Frank Hanley, senior director of auto benchmarking at J.D. Power. “This can likely be attributed to the tumultuous time during which these vehicles were built, and owners are keeping them for much longer. Today's average age of vehicles on American roads is approximately 12 years, underscoring the importance of building a vehicle designed to stand the test of time.”
For fleet managers, the J.D. Power 2024 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study signals a crucial shift in the reliability landscape. With a concerning increase in vehicle problems after three years of ownership, fleet managers must prioritize maintenance and address emerging issues promptly to sustain dependable operations.
Now in its 35th year, the study covers 184 specific problem areas across nine major vehicle categories: climate, driving assistance, driving experience, exterior, features/controls/displays, infotainment, interior, powertrain, and seats.
What Did J.D. Power’s 2024 Dependability Study Find?
The following are the key findings of the 2024 J.D. Power study:
Infotainment System Woes Plague Owners
As vehicles roll off the assembly line with increasingly more technology, it is not unexpected that the most problematic vehicle category is infotainment (49.1 PP100)—nearly twice as many problems as the next-highest category, which is exterior.
Among infotainment issues, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity (6.3 PP100) is the top problem, followed by built-in voice recognition (6.1 PP100).
Annoyance with Driver Assistance Alerts Grows
The number of problems related to driver assistance system alerts has increased between the 90-day and three-year ownership periods.
“Many would think that after three years, owners would become used to the alerts on their vehicle,” Hanley said. “However, that is not the case. Increased problem levels are experienced across multiple driver assistance features including, but not limited to, lane departure warning/lane keeping assistance and forward collision warning/automatic emergency braking.”
Electrified Vehicles More Problematic
According to the study, owners of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) experience more problems than owners of gas-powered and hybrid vehicles.
- BEVs are the most troublesome (256 PP100).
- PHEVs follow (216 PP100).
- Hybrids (191 PP100) and gasoline vehicles (187 PP100) fare significantly better.
At three years of ownership, tires are a sore spot for BEVs, with 39% of owners saying they replaced tires in the past 12 months—19 percentage points higher than owners of gas-powered vehicles.
Toyota Motor Corporation Wins Most Segment Awards
Toyota Motor Corporation’s nine segment awards are the most received by any automaker since 2017 when the Japanese automaker received 10 awards. Toyota was also considered one of the top improved brands (21 PP100 improvement) that offers work truck vehicles.
Highest-Ranked Pickup Truck & SUV Brands
Chevrolet (174 PP100) tied for third in highest overall vehicle dependability. Toyota ranks highest in the mass market segment, scoring 147 PP100.
The parent corporation receiving the most model-level awards is Toyota Motor Corporation, which received nine awards, including honors for the Toyota Tacoma and Toyota Tundra. General Motors Company received four segment awards, which included three SUVs: the Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Traverse, and Chevrolet Tahoe.
The 2024 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from 30,595 original owners of 2021 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. The study was fielded from August through November 2023.
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