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Skoda tops JD Power's reliability rankings

Skoda Fabia

Skoda has topped the rankings in JD Power’s annual Vehicle Dependability Survey for the second year in a row as tech issues get the blame for undermining the reliability of premium brands.

More than 13,000 owners of vehicles aged 12 to 36 months rated their vehicle to allow JD Power to create an overall picture of the dependability of the markets current crop of new cars according to the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100).

Skoda topped the rankings with a score of 66, followed by: Suzuki with 79; Kia with 80; Vauxhall with 90; and Peugeot and Volkswagen tied with 92.

The overall industry average is 113 PP100, a slight improvement from 114 PP100 in 2015.

Land Rover emerged from the survey at the bottom of the rankings, with an average of 197 PP100, followed by Dacia (174), Audi (170) and BMW (156).

Skoda’s Fabia and Yeti both received segment awards.

The Ford B-MAX, Kia Picanto, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Toyota Auris and Vauxhall Insignia also received awards in their respective segments.

JD Power examined feedback related to 177 problem symptoms across eight categories: engine and transmission; vehicle exterior; driving experience; features/controls/displays (FCD); audio/communication/entertainment/navigation (ACEN); seats; heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC); and vehicle interior as part of the survey.

A statement issed by JD Power said that the new technology fitted to premium models could be to blame for premium brands’ dependabiulity shortcomings. It stated: “Volume brands also outpaced premiums in 2015, but by a smaller margin (52 PP100). However, premium brands also have more tech features—one of the largest sources of quality issues.

“Five of the top 10 problems in the industry are related to technology in the ACEN category. The most often reported ACEN problem is built-in Bluetooth mobile phone/device frequent pairing/connectivity issues.

“Premium brands have a huge opportunity to improve the ownership experience by providing needed customer support and training for technology features like ACEN.”

Dr Axel Sprenger, senior director of European automotive operations at JD Power, said: “Customers in the UK expect their vehicle to be problem-free, not only in the first 90 days, but also during the first three years of ownership.

“When owners experience even a single problem with their vehicle, this can be the initiation of losing confidence in the vehicle and the brand.”

JD Power studies found that dependability was strongly linked to customer loyalty.

Among owners who experience no defect problems with their vehicle, 46% say they “definitely will” purchase/lease the same make again and 66% say they “definitely will” recommend the make/model to others.

In contrast, among owners who experience one or more defect problems with their vehicle, 38% say they “definitely will” purchase/lease the same make again and 55% “definitely will” recommend the make/model to others.

Similarly, among owners who experience no design problems with their vehicle, 45% say they “definitely will” purchase/lease the same make again and 64% “definitely will” recommend the make/model to others.

Intended loyalty and advocacy drop to 38% and 53%, respectively, among owners who experience one or more design-related problems with their vehicle. 

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