Lexus received top honors in J D Power and Associates annual quality test, with the ES350 taking home a top model award. (Photo : REUTERS)
Car manufacturers are producing higher quality vehicles than ever before, showing the strongest improvement ratings in the J D Power and Associates quality reports since 2009, according to the study. J D Power and Associates, which every year tests for vehicle quality, found an overall average of 102 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) - a five percent increase from the 2011 study.
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And for the first time in the study's 26-year history, owners reported more problems related to audio, entertainment and navigation - this is linked to a rise in digital technology in vehicles.
"Until recently, this type of sophisticated technology was found primarily on high-end models" said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates, in a press release. "However, over the past few years it has rapidly found its way into the automotive mainstream."
The fact many problems were related to new digital technologies is actually a sign that vehicles are improving in safety and performance. Of the 34 brands tested, 26 showed improvement and only five declined. And of the 185 models tested in both 2011 and 2012 nearly two-thirds improved.
For the second consecutive year, the Lexus model came out on top, averaging 75 PP100. Porsche and Jaguar tied in second with 75 PP100, with Jaguar showing the largest improvement - reducing 39 PP100 to rise from 20th place to second.
Cadillac and Honda came in fourth and fifth, with 80 PP100 and 83 PP100, respectively.
The report also gave out 21 awards to the top-performing models. The Lexus and Ford brands reaped the most model awards with three each - Ford for the Expedition, Mustang and Taurus, and Lexus for the ES 350, LS and RX.
This year, model awards were more widespread than typical, with Toyota, Nissan and Infiniti each taking home two awards. Meanwhile, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Mazda, Honda and Volvo each received one award.
"While in past years a handful of brands tended to collect numerous segment awards, 14 different brands receive segment awards in 2012 - this is only the second time in the history of the study that so many different brands achieved award status," Sargent said. "This is a positive indication of how widespread high quality is among automakers, with most brands producing a number of models with exceptional quality levels."