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Why Subaru’s Loyal Customers Couldn’t Care Less about Low J.D. Power Initial Quality Ranking

Subaru’s low J.D. Power Initial Quality ranking won’t affect buyer loyalty. Why do Subaru's loyal customers dismiss the study?

Subaru scored well below the industry average again in their 2017 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS). Subaru is making progress and has been moving up every year in the J.D. Powers Study. Subaru has fiercely loyal owners and it won’t be changing because of the low J.D. Power Initial Quality Study 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 is improving every year, but is still well below the industry average.

The low rankings do not seem to be affecting loyalty to the brand. Even though Subaru has scored poorly in IQS for multiple years, sales for the brand are at an all time high. J.D. Power seems to be nearly irrelevant to the average customer in terms of purchasing decisions, especially for Subaru of America, who will smash sales records in the U.S. again this year.

Where does Subaru rank with J.D. Power?

The Subaru brand has moved up from the 2015 study where they were fourth from the bottom out of the 34 brands on the list. In 2015 they had a ranking of 142 PP100. Last year Subaru still ranked below the industry average of 105 with a score of 118 PP100. In 2017, Subaru scored a 113 PP100, but still below the industry average of 97 PP100.

People love the Subaru brand because they are safe, have a “go-anywhere” attitude, they are practical, and they last a long time. Subaru Corporation is giving people what they want and no amount of research can change that. J.D. Power is absolutely irrelevant in regards to the automobile purchasing decisions made by most consumers.

What brands are the best according to J.D. Power?

The J.D. Power study shows the South Korean brands lead the industry in initial quality. Kia ranks highest in initial quality with a score of 72 PP100. It’s the second year in-a-row Kia has topped the rankings. Genesis ranks second with a 77 PP100 and Porsche (78 PP100) ranks third among nameplates, followed by Ford (86 PP100), Ram (86 PP100) and BMW (88 PP100). Toyota and Lexus slip big time with 95 PP100 and 98 PP100 respectively.

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 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, but Subaru of America’s record sales tell us everything.

Photo credit: Subaru