It’s another year, which means it’s time for another round of J.D. Power awards. Up first is the Initial Quality Study, which reflects problems in the first 90 days of new-car ownership. Just like last year, the Korean automakers Genesis, Kia and Hyundai ranked the highest. And coming in dead last? Poor Jaguar.
As a quick refresher, here’s how the rankings were compiled. Responses from 76,256 buyers and leasers of new, 2019 model-year cars were surveyed after 90 days of ownership, according to a press release. There were 233 questions based on eight categories: Exterior, seats, driving experience, engine/transmission, features/controls/displays, interior, heating/ventilation/air conditioning and audio/communication/entertainment/navigation).
The initial quality is measured by the number of problems experienced per 100 cars during those first 90 days. The lower the score, the better the quality. “Problems,” as a J.D. Power spokesperson defined them, are broken down into two groups.
The first is a “failure to operate,” which means that something on the car breaks or doesn’t work or function in the way that you’d expect it to. Things like paint chips, orange peel in the paint, door jambs that don’t fit well, a car that doesn’t start, brake squeal, etc.
The second is “difficult to use,” which is where the car’s technology actually works properly, but is designed in a way that’s hard or confusing for the owner to operate or use. So, they will think that it doesn’t work because it isn’t intuitive or they weren’t taught at the dealership.
With that in mind, let’s look at the graphic J.D. Power provided.
Mitsubishi actually scored lower with 121 this year than with the 111 it scored last year, when Jaguar and Land Rover also came in last. But Mitsubishi’s worse score still bested Land Rover and Jaguar, which earned scores of 123 and 130, respectively.
This is actually an improvement when you compare the two scores to 2018’s. Last year, Jaguar was in second-to-last place in ranking, with a score of 148 and Land Rover was last, with a score of 160. The gentle, upward trend in quality is reassuring though. Maybe by next year, JLR products will be able to overtake Mitsubishi and Alfa Romeo.