According to a June 28 press release of the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Initial Quality Study, ICE vehicles averaged 175 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) compared to 239 among PHEVs and 240 among BEVs. The lower scores presented higher-quality vehicles.
The BEV evaluation does not include Tesla models. J.D. Power said Tesla PP100 data is displayed separately from the battery-electric vehicle average since "the predominance of Tesla vehicles could obscure the performance of the legacy automakers that have recently introduced BEVs."
Tesla models, which were added to the industry calculation for the first time, averaged 226 problems per 100 vehicles.
Altogether there was an 11 percent rise in problems per 100 vehicles with the industry average reaching 180 PP100. Vehicle problems hit a record high in the 36-year history of the study and J.D. Power blamed interruptions caused by the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as well as the personnel dislocations, record-high vehicle prices and supply chain issues.
"In general, initial quality has shown steady improvement throughout the history of this study, so the decline this year is disappointing – yet understandable. Automakers continue to launch vehicles that are more and more technologically complex in an era in which there have been many shortages of critical components to support them," said David Amodeo, J.D. Power's director of global automotive.
The report comes amidst a small number of electric vehicle recalls in recent weeks due to manufacturing defects. In June, Toyota Motors recalled 2,700 bZ4X SUVs worldwide. Toyota released the bZ4X, the company's first mass-produced all-electric car, only a few months ago.
Japan's safety regulator warned that during sharp turns and sudden breaks, a hub bolt used in the vehicles is in danger of coming off.
"It's embarrassing. People have waited so long for Toyota to get a mass-market battery electric vehicle … and just a few weeks after they get it in the market there's a recall," said CLSA analyst Christopher Richter.
Ford in the same month recalled 48,924 Mustang Mach-E electric vehicles after finding a car battery defect that could lead to a power loss while driving.
A study of 13,000 people from 18 nations released in May discovered that Americans were the least likely to purchase an electric vehicle. While over 73 percent of Italians, 69 percent of Chinese and 63 percent of South Koreans were determined to buy an EV, only 29 percent of Americans showed keen interest in it. (Related: The U.S. is not ready for an all-electric future)
The J.D. Power survey is based on data from a total of 84,165 confirmed owners and lessees of personal use vehicles registered from November 2021 through February 2022. Answers from the surveys provide data for 33 different makes and 189 different model vehicles.
Meanwhile, six of the top 10 software issues in the auto industry are related to infotainment.
The J.D. Power study found that both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are difficult to understand, and users are increasingly having trouble making the connection work. A higher penetration of wireless CarPlay and Android Auto is attributed to the increase in connectivity problems, which has jumped from 4.9 problems per 100 vehicles in 2021 to 5.8 in 2022.
Built-in voice recognition is the only category to improve among all other infotainment features, which include touchscreen display, Bluetooth connectivity and parking cameras.
The study also listed features that manufacturers have cut due to chip shortage, such as modern driver-assist features, heated seats, parking assistant modules, among others.
Chevrolet removed wireless phone chargers and the gas-saving auto start-stop features in some SUV models last year, while Ford axed some A/C controls from the rear seats of its Explorer SUV.
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