Genesis, Buick rank highest in J.D. Power 2020 Vehicle Dependability Study

(February 13, 2020) Genesis, with two nameplates, ranked highest in J.D. Power's survey of light-vehicle reliability after three years of ownership, while Buick placed highest among mass-market brands and third overall. The 2020 Vehicle Dependability Study released Wednesdday marks the first year Genesis, Hyundai's luxury arm, has been included in the survey.

For 2017, Genesis marketed just two vehicles — the G80 and G90 sedans. Lexus, the top brand in the study the past eight years, fell to second place overall. Genesis, Lexus and Buick were followed in the top 10 by Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen, Lincoln, BMW, Chevrolet and Ford. At the bottom of the study, with an average of around 200 problems reported per 100 vehicles: Volvo, Jaguar, Chrysler and Land Rover.

The survey, conducted for 31 years, tracks problems per 100 vehicles during a 12-month period by owners of 3-year-old vehicles. In addition to the top 10 brands, Mazda, Cadillac, Hyundai and Kia also fared better than the industry average.

Overall, J.D. Power said 2017 models averaged 134 problems per 100 vehicles studied, a slight improvement over 2016 models tracked in the 2019 study.

“Despite the increased adoption of complex vehicle technology, dependability continues to improve,” said Dave Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power. “There’s no question that three-year-old vehicles today are better built and more dependable than same-age vehicles were in previous years. However, the rapid introduction of technology is putting increased pressure on dependability, so it would not be surprising to see problem levels plateau, or even increase, over the next few years.”

Following are key findings of the 2020 study:

    • Vehicle dependability improves—but at a slower rate: The industry average in 2020 is 134 PP100, which is an improvement of just 2 PP100 from 2019. (However, in 2019, there was an improvement of 6 PP100 from 2018.) Despite the slowing rate of improvement, 2020 marks automakers’ best performance in the history of the study.
    • Dependability gains driven by crossovers and SUVs: Crossovers and SUVs still have slightly more problems than cars, but the gap is narrowing. On average, owners of crossovers/SUVs experience 134 PP100, compared with 127 PP100 by car owners.

This 7 PP100 gap has narrowed considerably from 2019. With crossovers/SUVs now accounting for more than 50% of new vehicle sales annually, it is critical that automakers achieve the same level of quality and dependability as for cars.
    • In-vehicle technology shows greatest improvement: Audio/Communication/Entertainment/ Navigation (ACEN) is the most improved category (by 2.3 PP100), but still accounts for more problems than any other category in the study. Owners continue to cite problems with voice recognition, Bluetooth connectivity and navigation systems.

“Many owners complain about these systems early in the ownership experience and, three years later, they’re still frustrated with them,” Sargent said. “We’re seeing improvement, but automakers still have a long way to go to before they can declare victory in this area.”

Most Dependable Model: The Lexus ES is the highest-ranked model in the 2020 study. Its score of 52 PP100 is the best ever recorded in the 31-year history of the study.
First all-electric model receives an award: The Nissan LEAF is the first all-electric model to receive a segment-level award, for compact car.