The car initial quality ratings are out and the Subaru brand does not have any cars in their lineup on the top brands list. On the list of cars and SUVs, the award recipients do not include any of Subaru’s all-wheel-drive multi-purpose vehicles that have been so popular with consumers. The popular 2016 Subaru Outback wagon, Forester SUV, XV Crosstrek crossover, Legacy sedan and Impreza compact are all absent from the top vehicles on the 2015 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study list.
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.
What brands are the best?
The J.D. Power study shows the Korean brands lead the industry in initial quality by the widest margin ever, averaging 90 PP100, which is an 11 PP100 improvement from 2014. For the first time in the study, European brands (113 PP100) surpass Japanese brands (114 PP100), while domestic makes (114 PP100) equal the Japanese for only a second time.
Japanese brands are slipping
The study says Japanese brands experienced an overall 2 PP100 improvement from 2014, but this has proven insufficient to keep pace with the industry. It’s causing Japanese makes overall to fall below industry average for the first time in the 29-year history of the U.S. Initial Quality Study. J.D. Power says only four of the 10 Japanese brands included in the study posted an improvement.
Who are the highest-ranked nameplates?
Porsche ranks highest in initial quality for a third consecutive year, posting a score of 80 PP100. Kia follows Porsche in the rankings at 86 PP100. This marks the first time in the history of the study that Kia has led all non-premium makes in initial quality. Jaguar (93 PP100), Hyundai (95 PP100) and Infiniti (97 PP100) round out the top five nameplates. Infiniti is one of the most improved brands in the study, lowering its problem score by 31 PP100 from 2014.
Where does Subaru rank?
The Subaru brand ranks fourth from the bottom out of the 34 brands on the list. The industry average is 112 and Subaru ranks 142 with only Chrysler, smart and Fiat ranking lower. Subaru also scored low on the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability study earlier this year. The low rankings do not seem to be affecting loyalty to the brand. Subaru has one of the most loyal fan bases in the industry, yet Subaru does not rate high for the brand with the fewest initial problems.
Subaru has created a niche market with their all-wheel-drive multi-purpose vehicles like the 2016 Outback, Forester and XV Crosstrek that consumers are responding to in a big way. Could it be loyal Subaru owners overlook some of the initial problems because they are so happy with the vehicles safety, utility, all-weather capability and performance? Loyal Subaru owners will need to answer that.