Every now and then, a brand doesn’t have to do anything to be on the receiving end of some positive publicity.
JD Power, best known for its vehicle ownership study, customer service index and more recently the ‘dealer of excellence’ accreditation, has launched a new study, which looked at 177 problems experienced by original owners of cars from 12-36 months old.
Škoda was the brand most owners said they could depend on, across eight categories: engine and transmission, exterior, driving experience, features/controls/displays, audio/communication/entertainment/navigation, seats, heating/ventilation/cooling and interior.
Škoda scored 77 points out of 100 (a lower score reflects higher quality). Kia came second with 83, then Suzuki on 86, Nissan on 87 and Toyota and Mercedes-Benz with 88. The average was 114.
The inability to depend on any feature of a car affects brand loyalty and advocacy. The JD Power study found that among those who report three or more problems, only 33% say they “definitely will” purchase the same brand next time, compared with 48% of owners who report no problems.
A Škoda spokesperson said: “These independent results reaffirm to our retailers the importance Škoda places on reliability, which in turn adds to the network’s credibility. This message and confidence is then passed on to our customers and helps to build further confidence in the brand.
“We constantly use customer response and internal research to feed back to the head office in the Czech Republic, so external independent studies such as this play an important part in helping to verify our own findings.”
The 2015 UK Vehicle Dependability Study is based on 13,451 respondents, who purchased their vehicle between April 2012 and March 2014. Along with the customer service index study, it will replace JD Power’s vehicle ownership satisfaction study.