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Concern about Reliability Rises Most as Reason to Avoid a Vehicle

Concern about Reliability Rises Most as Reason to Avoid a Vehicle

By Philly Murtha, March 14, 2016
Consumers are more concerned about vehicle reliability this year than they were a year ago, based on results from the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS) and other J.D. Power consumer and initial quality research. In addition, there may be more worries about dependability because recalls and safety complaints have reached a record high, according to J.D. Power analysis of federal safety regulator data.

In 2013, expected reliability along with exterior design were the most important reasons for choosing a particular vehicle brand or model, according to the J.D. Power 2013 U.S. Initial Quality Study.SM However, in the 2016 VDS, overall long-term car reliability for 2013 model-year vehicles has fallen by 3% compared with last year’s VDS.

The 2016 VDS results are in line with a rise in concern about reliability and quality among consumers when asked about the reasons to avoid considering a particular vehicle, as detailed in the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Avoider Study.SM

Listed below, in ascending order, are the top 11 reported reasons why consumers avoided a particular vehicle in 2016.

No. 9 (three-way tie): Poor Quality; Unfavorable Online Ratings and Reviews; Bad Reputation of Manufacturer
Although it is much less of a concern nowadays—especially with improvements in overall initial vehicle quality—fully one in 10 consumers still cite poor quality as a reason to avoid a particular model. In fact, concerns about quality increased by 1 point among owners this year (10% in 2016 vs. 9% in 2015). Also, an unfavorable online review or rating gives 10% of buyers pause over buying a particular vehicle model. At the same time, an auto manufacturer’s bad reputation remains a consistent concern (10% in 2016 and 2015).

No. 8 and No. 7 (tie): Dealers Not Conveniently Located; Vehicle Too Small
Dealership convenience and the small size of a vehicle remained less significant but still were among the top 11 reasons to avoid a vehicle (11% in 2016 and 2015).

No. 6: Didn’t Want an Import/Foreign Vehicle
Consumers remained consistent in their desire to avoid considering an import (13% in 2016 and 2015).

No. 5: Didn’t Like the Image Vehicle Portrays
Whether it’s justified or not, the type of vehicle or brand of car you drive says something about you. According to the 2016 VDS, image was the fifth-most-cited reason to avoid considering a vehicle, remaining the same as last year (16% in 2016 and 2015).

No. 4: Concerned about Reliability
Although reliability is mentioned less than design elements and cost as a key avoidance factor, concern over reliability increased the most among top avoidance factors—up 3 percentage points this year (17% in 2016 vs.14% in 2015).

No. 3 and No. 2 (tie): Costs Too Much Money; Interior Look/Design
The cost of a new car, truck, or SUV was among the top three reasons to avoid a vehicle this year, matching concern about the vehicle cabin’s interior appearance/design. Both factors rose by 1% this year (18% in 2016 vs. 17% in 2015).

No. 1: Exterior Look/Design
By far the No. 1 reason that consumers avoid a particular vehicle brand or model relates to the exterior design. According to J.D. Power research, nearly one-third of consumers cite exterior design as the top reason to avoid considering a vehicle (31% vs. 30% in 2015).

Additional Research:

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