Subaru Is Still Below Average In The New J.D. Power Initial Quality Scorecard
The 2020 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent SUVs are selling well for the Japanese automaker but how does Subaru score in quality compared with other automakers? According to the J.D. Power 2020 Initial Quality Study (IQS), Subaru scores below average again.
From a historical standpoint, Subaru has never scored well in the J.D. Power IQS scorecard. J.D. Power says they have “redesigned” the 2020 survey of purchasers and lessees after 90 days of ownership to include more of the vehicle’s new technology features.
They asked owners a staggering 223 questions based on infotainment, features, controls and displays, exterior, driving assistance (new for 2020), interior, powertrain, seats, driving experience, and climate control. Initial quality is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality.
Last year, Subaru scored well below the industry average and was ranked sixth from the bottom. In the 2020 Power survey, Subaru moves up one spot and is seventh scoring a 187/PP100 well below the industry average of 166PP/100. To put it in perspective, Toyota and Honda also scored below the industry average both scoring a 177PP/100.
Should SUV shoppers be concerned with Subaru quality?
Are the below-average J.D. Power IQS automakers producing cars with poor quality? The J.D. Power IQS study only takes the first 90 days of vehicle ownership into account. They are not studying long-term quality issues with the automakers and their specific models.
Dave Sullivan manager of product analysis at AutoPacific says, if he were shopping for a new car or truck, “A poor IQS score wouldn’t’ steer me away.” He says that consumers are more concerned with what happens after the warranty is up and paying for expensive repairs. He says most new cars are “pretty darn good” and the J.D.Power IQS study is “basically down to just nitpicking subjective things.”
Subaru is attracting new customers at a high rate of 60 percent who have never purchased a Subaru vehicle before. The new Power study focuses on infotainment and new technologies and new owners aren’t used to the automaker’s features.
In an interview last year with Automotive News, Dave Sargent, vice president of automotive quality at J.D. Power, said "A majority of their (Subaru’s) customers are new to the brand. That’s always a challenge because you're excited about moving into a new brand and nothing is quite the way you're used to. And for the first 90 days, it can be a little frustrating. These people still love their Subarus, but they're finding a few things they’d like that would be slightly more the way they are used to.”
Subaru’s below-average IQS ranking shouldn’t be a concern for customers looking to buy a new 2020 Forester, Outback, Ascent, or Crosstrek. You can check out what Consumer Reports says about Subaru quality below.
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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press and the founder of Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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