The results of the 2022 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study are in, and they reflect a decline in quality across the entire auto industry. Results show that perceived quality has dropped significantly, which means owners are reporting more problems with their new cars. In fact, J.D. Power says the decline has produced the highest number of problems ever recorded in the study’s 36-year history.
J.D. Power claims the big drop in quality is due to the COVID19 pandemic and its subsequent disruptions to the auto supply chain. The study goes on to say that critical components (microchips) were scarce, as well as auto workers. And adding in the record-high prices of vehicles doesn’t help, either, making for a case of high cost and low quality throughout the industry.
But what’s more surprising than this record-setting decline in quality, is how it’s affected the rankings across vehicle make and model: Buick ranks first overall, while Chrysler ranks last. Additionally, EVs have declined in quality even more-so than their ICE-powered counterparts: Tesla now ranks among the lowest brands for initial quality, while Polestar ranks lower still. It hurts me to say this, but Polestar has, more or less, shit the bed.
Here are the top five and worst five car brands according to the study, which is based on J.D. Power’s metric of “problems per 100 vehicles,” or “PP100.” The lower the number, the higher the initial quality:
- Buick - 139 PP100
- Dodge - 143 PP100
- Chevrolet - 147 PP100
- Genesis - 156 PP100
- Kia - 156 PP100
- Chrysler - 265 PP100
- Volvo - 256 PP100
- Maserati - 255 PP100
- Audi - 239 PP100
- Volkswagen - 230 PP100
Tesla had 226 problems per 100 vehicles, while Polestar had a whopping 336. Of course, that only accounts for a dozen brands among the 33 ranked; I just wanted to highlight the best and worst brands, which came as a bit of a surprise.
Buick leapt from 12th place last year to first place in 2022, taking the top spot overall. And Genesis ranked highest among premium brands. The usual quality suspects like Toyota and Honda couldn’t even crack the top five. Toyota had 172 PP100, and Honda had 183 PP100, which is below the industry average of 180.
I encourage you to thumb through the entire 2022 Initial Quality Study because it details individual carmakers, their parent companies, and specific car models, too. This year, the Chevrolet Corvette was the highest-ranking model overall, with only 101 problems per 100 vehicles.
But I will note that the results of this study are all about initial quality, which falls within the first 90 days of ownership. While the study accounts for issues in many categories — from infotainment, controls and displays, ADAS, to interior quality and powertrain — it’s only a brief account. And what happens after three months is something else entirely.