2016 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study:Technology Woes Continue to Drive Up Problems
Problems with technology continue to cause declines in owner satisfaction with long-term vehicle dependability, according to the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS). The study shows that problems with vehicle audio, communication, entertainment, and navigation (ACEN) systems now account for 20% of all customer-reported problems. Furthermore, ACEN is now the most problematic area on most vehicles, and is the apparent cause of a 3% year-over-year decline in customer satisfaction with vehicle dependability. The problems most often reported by owners are related to Bluetooth pairing/connectivity and built-in voice-recognition systems misinterpreting commands. Difficulties with using the navigation system and inaccuracies in the navigation system are also among the 10 most frequently reported problems.
The study, now in its 27th year, examines problems experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of 2013 model-year vehicles. The number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100) determines overall dependability for each model. The study covers 177 specific problem symptoms grouped into eight major vehicle categories:
- Audio/Communication/Entertainment/Navigation (ACEN)
- The Driving Experience
- Features/Controls/Displays (FCD)
- Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning (HVAC)
Among the study’s key findings, perhaps most notable is that the overall industry average is 152 PP100 this year, compared with 147 PP100 in the 2015 study. Seven of the top 10 problems are design-related. Design-related problems account for 39% of problems reported in the 2016 study (60 PP100), an increase of 2 percentage points from 2015. In this year’s study, the number of engine/transmission problems decreases slightly, to 24 PP100 from 26 PP100 in 2015.
Among owners who experienced a Bluetooth pairing or connectivity problem, 53% say the vehicle didn’t find or recognize their mobile device. Among owners who indicate having experienced a voice-recognition problem, 67% say the problem was related to the phone not recognizing, or misinterpreting, voice commands.