Autos Questions | General Questions Why are ratings unavailable for certain models? Many of J.D. Power & Associates key automotive studies are conducted after a minimum of 90 days of new-vehicle ownership. As such, some newly introduced models have not been on the market long enough to obtain a sufficient sample size to provide accurate ratings. Additionally, for some low-volume vehicles (i.e., Aston Martin, etc.), it is difficult to accumulate enough survey responses during the survey period to make the results meaningful and reliable.
Why does a model that receives an award get less than five Power Circles? J.D. Power & Associates awards are based on model rankings within each vehicle segment. Power Circle Ratings compare all models across segments.
Why doesn't JDPower.com list actual survey (index) scores for specific models? J.D. Power & Associates provides manufacturers and suppliers with diagnostic information to help them improve the quality of the products and services they provide. In most cases, this type of detailed research information is not presented in a "consumer friendly" format. While tables of numbers and volumes of data may be helpful to engineers or manufacturing experts, consumers may desire an easily understandable format such as the Power Circle Ratings on this site. The goal of JDPower.com is to help consumers make more informed decisions through a consumer-friendly rating system that we believe is more helpful and less confusing than actual index scores. What do IQS, APEAL, CSI, SSI, and VDS stand for?
These are acronyms for J.D. Power & Associates five key automotive studies that provide the data for this site:
J.D. Power & Associates Initial Quality Study (IQS) - provides manufacturers and consumers with information on quality after 90 days of new-vehicle ownership. The study examines 217 vehicle attributes, and reports on a broad range of problems reported by owners. IQS has been an industry benchmark since 1987. In 2006, the study was redesigned to divide consumer-reported problems into two main categories: defect/malfunctions and design issues. Defect/malfunctions include a complete breakdown or malfunction of any component, feature, or item. Design problems include components or features that may be functioning as designed, but are perceived as difficult to use or understand, or in a poor location. Results from both categories are further divided into eight sub-categories?including the driving experience, the engine/transmission, exterior, and interior?to provide even more detail.
Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) - measures long-term quality after three years of ownership. Therefore, the 2005 VDS measures the dependability of 2002 model-year vehicles. For consumers, the study provides insight into the reliability and dependability of brands and models as they approach the end of a typical warranty period. For manufacturers, the study is used to track the long-term quality of various models over time and to guide next-generation product development.
Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study (APEAL) - examines what consumers like about their new vehicles after 90 days of ownership. Often referred to as "things gone right," APEAL is based on eight categories of vehicle performance and design: engine/transmission; ride, handling and braking; comfort/convenience; seats; cockpit/instrument panel; heating, ventilation and cooling; sound system; and styling/exterior. This study was first conducted in 1996.
Customer Service Index Study (CSI) - measures the satisfaction of vehicle owners who visited the dealer service department for maintenance or repair work during the first three years of vehicle ownership. The study, now in its 25th year, provides an overall customer satisfaction index score based on six measures: service initiation, service advisor, in-dealership experience, service delivery, service quality, and user-friendly service. CSI is a nameplate study, which means that performance is reported at the nameplate level (i.e., Ford, Mitsubishi, etc.), rather than at the model level (i.e., Mustang, Eclipse, etc.).
Sales Satisfaction Index Study (SSI) - examines the dealership's ability to manage the sales process?from product presentation, price negotiation, and vehicle purchase to delivery and the finance and insurance process. Manufacturers have made great strides in improving vehicle quality during the past decade. Therefore, the sales process has become an increasingly important factor in determining overall satisfaction. SSI is a nameplate study, which means that performance is reported at the nameplate level (i.e., Ford, Mitsubishi, etc.), rather than at the model level (i.e., Mustang, Eclipse, etc.).
Why do some vehicles have below average Power Circle Ratings on this site, yet they get positive reviews elsewhere or vice versa? J.D. Power & Associates research is based on consumer responses and feedback from actual vehicle owners. Reviews featured on other Web sites or in enthusiast publications are often based on the subjective opinion of editors, technical experts, or experienced test drivers. Generally speaking, Power Circle Ratings indicate various aspects of a vehicle's quality performance (initial quality, long-term dependability, and appeal) or customer satisfaction (sales and service satisfaction), which comprise a major part of the ownership experience. However, other elements such as the vehicle's dynamic capabilities, cargo capacity, utility, and other subjective factors are not captured by these ratings.
We believe that consumers should consider all valuable sources of information when considering the purchase of a new vehicle. Certainly, Power Circle Ratings are one source; government Web sites such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (www.nhtsa.dot.gov); independent sites such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (www.hwysafety.org); and enthusiast publications can also be helpful in making informed automotive buying decisions.
What is the difference between Consumer Reports and JDPower.com? Consumer Reports is published by a non-profit organization that focuses on testing and reviewing products in various categories. The company has a testing facility in New York and employs experts who review numerous consumer products on a regular basis. By contrast, JDPower.com provides ratings based on "voice of the customer" information, which is derived from independent and unbiased consumer feedback?opinions, perceptions, and expectations of consumers who actually own the products and services being rated.