Auto Owners Still Love 3-Year-Old Cars

If you’ve been watching the Olympics the past few days, you undoubtedly have seen car dealer ads for Presidents Day. It’s one thing you can always count on: If it’s a holiday, there will be a sale to commemorate it. (The furniture stores seem to be on the same bandwagon.)

It’s the time of year when sales usually are slacking. Consumers are still paying off their holiday purchases (maybe someone got a car with a big red bow) and the weather isn’t exactly conducive to test drives in much of the country. 

Soon, you’ll start to see auto ads touting the latest J.D. Power awards. Automakers wait with bated breath for these awards, as they should. They are the Olympic medals of car awards, of which there is no shortage. Automakers put so much emphasis on these awards that consumers sometimes are told when they buy a vehicle that they will receive a survey from J.D. Power, and if they are going to answer with anything but top marks, they should contact the dealer immediately. My dealer did this the last time I bought a new vehicle and it made me wonder what kind of wrath they face should a consumer be anything but spectacularly pleased.



According to the J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study released last week, overall vehicle dependability improves 9% from 2017, the first time the industry score has improved since 2013.

The study, now in its 29th year, measures the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100) during the past 12 months by original owners of 2015 model-year vehicles. A lower score reflects higher quality, and the study covers 177 specific problems grouped into eight major vehicle categories. The overall industry average improves by 14 PP100 to 142 PP100 from 156 PP100 in 2017.

“For the most part, automotive manufacturers continue to meet consumers’ vehicle dependability expectations,” said Dave Sargent, vice president, global automotive at J.D. Power. “A 9% improvement is extremely impressive, and vehicle dependability is, without question, at its best level ever. For people looking for a new or used model, now is a good time to find that special vehicle.”

Expect to see ads from the five automobile brands that ranked as the most dependable: Lexus, Porsche, Buick, Infiniti and Kia. Five brands that won’t be advertising their ranking are the least dependable based on reported problems: Chrysler, Land Rover, Fiat, Jeep and Cadillac.

The company names top vehicles in each segment and Chevrolet really cleaned up. The Malibu, Equinox, Traverse and the Silverado all were tops in their respective categories. The brand already has created a TV spot touting its top finishes in J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study. Could a Vehicle Dependability Study ad be next?

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