I am geek who loves to get to the bottom of myths and legends, as well as claims by auto makers in commercials. After watching several television commercials by a certain automaker bragging about earning more J.D. Power Initial Quality awards than any other brand, I decided to do a little research. Should I really be impressed by all these awards? What exactly do they measure?
The first point is the numbers game. Claiming that your brand has more J.D. Power Initial Quality awards than any other brand has do with the number of models that you sell. Chevy has the most models on the J.D. Power Initial Quality awards list, but Chevy also produces a large number of models when you look at their line of cars and trucks. On the long list of 2016 Initial Quality Ratings I was surprised to see models such as the Hyundai Accent, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Azera, and Kia Soul on the list, all made by the Hyundai Motor Company.
The other issue with the automaker bragging is the value of measuring initial quality. The definition of initial quality is defined as problems experienced by vehicle owners during the first 90 days of ownership. The first 90 days, that's not a long period of time. I am pretty happy with my 2008 Mercury Milan, 9 years and 185,000 miles later, and I have never had a major problem. Seems like quality should be measured in larger increments than 90 days. Studies skewed by modern technology
J.D. Power has two major areas for automobiles, the annual Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) and Initial Quality Study (IQS). I thought I would dig deeper and look for the longer term dependability ratings. Instead of finding more answers, my search raised many questions of the value of their dependability ratings.