Chip shortages and supply chain crises not only increase car prices, but also affect quality.
JD Power published the Initial Quality Study for 2022 cars this week, whereby new car quality fell 11% year-on-year, the steepest decline ever recorded by the group.
Electric vehicle manufacturers in particular are showing a big drop in quality, with Polestar ranking last. Tesla, meanwhile, is seventh from the bottom, continued the trend of poor quality make.
In this year’s survey, JD Power recorded 226 incidents per 100 Tesla vehicles. Combining all non-Tesla electric vehicles, the survey found that 240 problems were reported per 100 electric vehicles, down slightly from last year’s 251 as more electric models hit the road.
The survey was based on input from a total of 84,165 verified owners and renters of personal use vehicles registered between November 2021 and February. Responses to surveys provided data for 33 different car models and 189 different car models.
Software remains a persistent problem for the auto industry, with six of the top 10 being infotainment-related. The top issue is one of the biggest features people are looking for in new cars: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Specifically, CarPlay is used by half of the consumers who participated in the survey, and they reported fewer problems than 17% of users using Android Auto.
Survey participants found that both CarPlay and Android Auto were confusing, and users were increasingly finding it difficult to get the connection working. The higher penetration of wireless CarPlay and Android Auto is attributed to an increase in connectivity issues, which increased from 4.9 incidents per 100 vehicles in 2021 to 5.8 in 2022.
Surprisingly, the survey found that the manufacturers’ built-in voice recognition features are working as expected, which is the only item that needs improvement out of all the infotainment features. such as touch screen, Bluetooth connectivity and parking camera.
In addition to the drop in quality, the report also lists features that manufacturers have cut back to overcome chip shortages: offering fewer cars with enhanced driver assistance features, seats with heating, parking assist module, includes only a single keyfob and more. Companies like Chevrolet cordless phone charger with shaft and gas saving auto stop features in several SUV models last year, and Ford removed some A/C controls from the backseat of its Explorer SUV.
Initial quality winners include GM’s Buick for the top overall nameplate; The automaker also won the most awards, from the Chevy Malibu to the Cadillac Escalade. BMW and Hyundai took second and third place, respectively.
The pandemic has certainly sent shockwaves through the industry, but David Amodeo, J.D. Power’s global head of automotive, was surprised when the initial quality study wasn’t even worse. “Automakers continue to roll out increasingly more technologically complex vehicles in an era of shortages of many key parts to support them,” Amodeo said in a press release.