J. D. Power Initial Quality Survey

JD Power trophyVoice recognition systems and faulty Bluetooth pairing are as aggravating as ever, J.D. Power and Associates’ new Initial Quality Study reported today. Tech-focused Ford remains well below average in the agency’s 33-brand ranking, but GM’s four brands — Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC — all rated above average.

The influential study, which enters its 27th year for 2013, rates overall problems per 100 vehicles — categorized as objective defects and subjective (but specific) dislikes — in the first 90 days of new-car ownership. Missed commands with voice recognition and Bluetooth pairing led overall problems by a significant margin, J.D. Power’s David Sargent told reporters at an Automotive Press Association lunch in Detroit.
Porsche, GMC, Lexus, Infiniti and Chevrolet ranked as the top five brands in this year’s IQS; from the bottom, Scion, Fiat, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Mini had the worst rankings. GMC has never broken ninth place before, Sargent noted. Nissan fell from 13th place last year to 30th this year, hurt by a slew of redesigns to some of its most popular cars.

Ford remains an IQS stinker, with its namesake brand coming in 27th for a second year in a row due in large part because of issues with the automaker’s MyFord Touch multimedia system, which most Ford models now offer. Ford’s Lincoln division, which gets a parallel MyLincoln Touch system, ranked about average.

“MyFord Touch doesn’t help the Ford scores,” Sargent told reporters. He added, “Ford has worked as hard as possible to work to improve the system, and all signs are that the new systems are much, much better than the old systems.”

The news comes on the heels of Ford announcing plans to add traditional buttons and knobs back to its MyFord Touch system, similar to the layout in the MyFord Touch-equipped F-Series pickup. That truck still fell beneath GM’s pickups — the outgoing (not the redesigned 2014s) Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra — which swept the light- and heavy-duty pickup IQS awards.

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