Subaru dropped in the 2018 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study and are well below average compared with other automakers. As more Subaru customers opt for the brand’s EyeSight driver assist safety system, it could be why the Japanese automaker gets a low ranking.
The study examines problems experienced by vehicle owners during the first 90 days of ownership. Initial quality is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality. Subaru has been improving the last two years, until the recent 2018 study where they slip to fourth from the bottom.
In 2015, Subaru had a ranking of 142 PP100. In 2016, they still ranked below the industry average of 105 with a score of 118 PP100. Last year, Subaru scored a 113 PP100, still below the industry average of 97 PP100. In. 2018, as the industry average improves to 93 PP100, Subaru drops to 115 PP100. Only Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover were lower in ranking.
The South Korean brands rank highest with Genesis, Kia and Hyundai first, second and third respectively. Kia is the highest-ranking Mass Market brand. Porsche (79 PP100) ranks fourth and Ford (81 PP100) ranks fifth.
What does it mean for consumers?
The 2018 J.D. Power Study says increasing problems with driver assist systems could be a reason why more Subaru customers are experiencing problems. The J.D. Power study shows the level is still low for driver assist problems (3.5 P100 on average), but has been increasing by about 20 percent a year for the past three years.
Subaru leads the industry with their EyeSight driver assist system and the Outback, Forester and Crosstrek equipped with EyeSight get the highest IIHS safety ratings. But the safety system could be a reason why the Japanese automaker is ranked lower than other automakers by the J.D. Power IQS study.
Dave Sargent, Vice President of Global Automotive at J.D. Power says, “As we look to the future, avoiding problems with safety and driver assistance technology is critical. In an era of increasingly automated vehicles, vehicle owners have to be comfortable using foundational technologies like lane keep assistance and collision avoidance. Otherwise, automakers will not easily overcome consumer resistance to fully automated (driverless) cars.”
Subaru has created a niche market with their all-wheel-drive multi-purpose vehicles like the 2018 Forester SUV, Outback wagon and all-new 2018 Crosstrek crossover, and more customers are opting for the EyeSight safety system on their new vehicles. It could be a reason why the Japanese automaker is ranked lower than other automakers. Subaru has seen record sales in the U.S. for the past 9 years, and their low ranking doesn’t seem to affect strong customer loyalty.
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Photo credit: Subaru USA