I have been getting emails from JD Power for days hyping their latest Initial Quality Study, which came out today. I appreciated the reminders but IQS is usually a pretty boring affair, only slightly more intriguing this year because Tesla, for the first time, would be in it. Turns out, Tesla absolutely bombed.
Dodge and Kia finished first, with 136 problems reported per 100 vehicles in the first 90 days of ownership. Chevy, Ram, Genesis, Mitsubishi, Buick, GMC, Volkswagen, and Hyundai round out the top ten. It is the 34th edition of the Initial Quality Study, which JD Power says it has redesigned this year.
JD Power surveys purchasers and lessees of new cars—over 87,000 of them this year—to tally problems in the first three months of ownership as a measure of how good automakers are at delivering a finished product. As with some studies in prior years, premium automakers did not do great this year by this measure, which JD Power partially attributes to premium cars having more complex features.
Tesla, meanwhile, did absolutely terribly in its first time out. JD Power did not officially rank them because the company said Tesla wouldn’t let it survey its owners in 15 states, but based on surveys of owners in 35 states Tesla’s score was ... bad. (For a whole lot more about what JD Power is and why it exists, here’s my story on that from a few years ago.)
The full chart:
JD Power also rates individual models, all of which you can see here, but the only three that really stick out are Nissan taking home the top prize for the Maxima, Armada, and Murano in their segments, in addition to the Chevy Sonic taking home the best score of any new car.
And I can say with some confidence that Tesla probably won’t care about their results as a company, but that isn’t true for other automakers, some of which care pretty deeply, even when they are not fashioning commercials centered on them. (I emailed Tesla to see if they have anything to say.)
Should you care about them as a consumer? Probably not! But they are as good a snapshot as any on where manufacturers’ build quality currently stands. Look at Genesis, for example, absolutely wiping the floor with every other premium automaker; Land Rover and Jaguar pretty predictably finishing near the bottom.