New car buyers will be happy to know that the latest
vehicles in the marketplace are of superior craftsmanship according to a
recently released quality report by J.D. Power and Associates.
The 2012 U.S. Initial Quality Study found fewer problems per
100 vehicles when compared to a year ago and recorded an uptick of initial
improved quality of 5 percent according to J.D. Power and Associates.
Problems With The Latest Technology
One area where quality failed to improve was in the
technology department. While having nothing to do with the performance of the
vehicle, problems in the convenience features were common. J.D. Power found an
8 percent increase in problems experienced with the navigation, audio and entertainment
systems. This has been a continuing trend for the past several years when it
comes to the quality of convenience features, experts attribute it to the fact
that todays cars have more entertainment systems. As technology becomes cheaper
advanced features have made it into more and more vehicles, at various price
While sophisticated technology was primarily found in high-end
vehicles just a few years ago, it has quickly made its way into the mainstream.
According to the study, in 2012 more than 80 percent of car owners indicated
that their new car was equipped with some form of hands-free technology.
Luxury Cars Have Highest Ratings
Despite the problems with technology, quality among the
various car brands made big leaps. J.D. Power found that of the 34 brands the
study ranks, 26 of them showed quality improvement. There were 185 models that
were ranked both last year and in this year’s survey, of those, 65 percent
fared better in this years rankings.
The number one nameplate when it comes to quality
performance is Lexus. This luxury offshoot of Toyota averaged a score of 73
problems for every 100 models.
Luxury carmakers Jaguar, Cadillac and Porsche also scored
Luxury cars are not the only option though when it comes to
According to the study, 14 automakers received high quality
awards, many being very affordable.
Prices of New Cars in Decline
While quality is up, prices are moving down. As cars become
more affordable, more people are entering the new car market. According to a
recent report by Kelley Blue Book (KBB) consumers are paying $500 less for a
new car than they were a year ago. The biggest declines have happened among
Japanese brands like Subaru, Mazda, Toyota, Nissan and Honda.
KBB found that Honda models are selling at nearly $1200 less
than last year while other Japanese brands are down $700-$800 in price.
American automaker prices have declined less than $500 on most models.
J.D. Powers found that the latest cars hitting
the market have improved quality ratings. While luxury cars nabbed the top
spots many affordable brands also increased quality while lowering prices