Five Maruti Suzuki models have bagged awards in the J.D. Power 2018 India Initial Quality Study (IQS), while Hyundai, Honda, Mahindra, Toyota and Volkswagen have each bagged one award.
The J.D. Power 2018 India IQS measured problems experienced by new-vehicle owners during the first two to six months of ownership and examined more than 200 problem symptoms in eight different categories. In a descending frequency of reported problems, the categories were as follows: Engine/Transmission; Heating, Ventilation & Cooling (HVAC); Driving Experience; Vehicle Exterior; Features, Controls & Displays; Vehicle Interior; Audio, Entertainment & Navigation (AEN); and Seats.
This year's statistics have revealed that car owners who have driven their vehicle for 7,000km or more in their initial 2 – 6 months of ownership experience more problems with the vehicle’s exterior and driving experience compared to those who have driven fewer than 2,000km. The reported problem incidents have been summarised as the number of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). Therefore, a lower PP100 score indicates a lower frequency of reported problems, implying higher initial quality rating. The overall initial quality averaged around 81 PP100 in 2018, of which 24% of the reported problems were attributed to the engine/transmission category and 17% attributed to vehicle exterior and driving experience categories, each.
Maruti Suzuki emerged as a clear winner in the 2018 rankings, as five of its models secured top ranks in their respective segments. The Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 (77 PP100) ranked highest in the Entry Compact segment and the Maruti Suzuki WagonR (72 PP100) secured top rank in the Compact segment. Other Maruti Suzuki models that bagged top honours include the Dzire (68 PP100), Brezza (72 PP100) and the S-Cross (55 PP100) in the Entry Mid-size, SUV and Compact SUV segments, respectively.
The Volkswagen Polo (64 PP100) secured highest ranking in the Premium Compact segment, while the Hyundai Verna (72 PP100) took the crown in the Mid-size Sedan segment. Honda WR-V (72 PP100) tied with Brezza in the Compact SUV segment and in the final MUV/MPV segment, Toyota Innova Crysta and Mahindra Bolero tied for the top spot with a PP100 score of 64.
This year's IQS rankings have been calculated based on responses from 7,710 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle between December 2017 and October 2018. The study includes 75 models from 13 manufacturers.
'With customers spending more time in their vehicles, the overall driving experience and vehicle exterior elements have become even more crucial to the quality of their ride,' said Kaustav Roy, Director and Country Head, India at J.D. Power. 'Customers’ expectations will continue to rise as they become more discerning car owners. Manufacturers may, therefore, need to fine-tune their focus to meet these increasing expectations,' he added.
The study revealed that diesel models surpassed petrol models in the overall initial quality, as owners of diesel-powered models reported fewer initial quality problems than owners of petrol-powered cars (77 PP100 vs. 82 PP100, respectively). Further, smaller capacity engines and their transmission systems recorded a higher PP100 score, which meant that models with engines displacement of up to 1200cc had a higher reported problem frequency than models with engines of greater displacement (86 PP100 vs. 75 PP100, respectively). While the AEN problem category reported a low problem incidence frequency, customers were mostly affected by issues related to the ease of Bluetooth phone pairing, the usability of audio/navigation controls and the performance of the navigation system.