Picking a car involves a sliding set of factors that balances price, looks, functionality, and brand loyalty. However, a lack of vehicle reliability can make a strong argument to discount any of the above factors because no one likes getting stranded on the side of the road.
According to a survey by juggernaut J.D. Power released February 21, 2021, overall vehicle reliability in new vehicles is up by 10% over 2020 models. Now in its 32nd year, the survey polls original owners and lessees of vehicles three years old. It is worth noting that the 2018 model year was known as one of the best for overall quality when the vehicles hit the market, so this 10% increase in 2021 for three-year-old vehicles is no surprise.
The survey looked at eight different metrics for measurement:
- Audio/communication/entertainment/navigation (ACEN)
- Features/controls/displays (FCD)
- Driving experience
- Heating, ventilation and air conditioning
There were some interesting and notable trends amidst the data:
- Dependability is at the highest level ever.
- Trucks and SUVs continue to lag behind cars in reliability despite their runaway popularity.
- Korean and Japanese vehicles had the fewest problems overall.
- Issues in all areas with all vehicles have improved.
The bottom line
The good news here is that better designs, materials, and execution mean fewer new vehicles are going in for repairs. This is excellent and welcome news. However, these manufacturers make millions of vehicles each year, and the margin for error, slight though it is, means that there will still be unlucky owners who bought a lemon. If the dealer cannot resolve the problem satisfactorily, the owner may need to file a lemon law claim at the state or local level.