Why Subaru’s Low J.D. Powers Quality Ranking Could Affect Buyer Loyalty
Subaru has fiercely loyal owners but that could be changing according to J.D. Power. Subaru scored well below the industry average again in their 2016 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS). 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 improved, but is still well below the industry average.
What brands are the best?
The J.D. Power study shows the Korean brands lead the industry in initial quality. Kia ranks highest in initial quality with a score of 83 PP100. It’s the first time in 27 years that a non-premium brand has topped the rankings. Porsche (84 PP100) ranks second among nameplates, followed by Hyundai (92 PP100), Toyota (93 PP100) and BMW (94 PP100).
Where does Subaru rank?
The Subaru brand has moved up from last year’s study where they were fourth from the bottom out of the 34 brands on the list. Last year they had a ranking of 142 PP100. They have improved. This year Subaru still ranks below the industry average of 105 with a score of 118 PP100. The low rankings do not seem to be affecting loyalty to the brand yet, but that could change according to J.D. Power.
PAGE 2: Problems affect brand loyalty
Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive quality at J.D. Power says, “There is a direct correlation between the number of problems a customer has with their new vehicle and the decisions they make when it comes time to purchase or lease their next car or truck. While a small drop in actual loyalty may not sound like much, a percentage point drop in share can mean millions of dollars in lost revenue to an automaker.”
Subaru has created a niche market with their all-wheel-drive multi-purpose vehicles like the 2017 Forester SUV, Outback wagon and Crosstrek crossover that consumers are responding to in a big way. Do loyal Subaru owners overlook some of the initial problems because they are so happy with the vehicles safety, utility, all-weather capability and performance? Only loyal Subaru owners can answer that.
Source: J.D. Power
Image source: Subaru