WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — More than two-thirds of owner-reported new-vehicle interior problems are design-related issues rather than defects or malfunctions, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Interior Quality and Satisfaction StudySM released today.
The study finds that in 2011 owners report an average of 17.2 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) regarding the vehicle interior, and 11.6 PP100 are a result of design issues, such as features being difficult to understand or use, or controls or displays in a poor location. Owners of U.S. domestic nameplate vehicles report the largest proportion of interior design problems (69%), compared with 66 percent among owners of Asian nameplate vehicles and 64 percent among owners of European nameplate vehicles.
Design-related interior problems can have a considerable negative impact on overall interior satisfaction. For example, satisfaction averages 8.1 on a 10-point scale among owners who report no interior design problems, but drops to 7.2 when at least one interior design problem is reported.
“The vehicle interior plays an important role in overall owner satisfaction with the vehicle, as well as with the initial purchase decision,” said Allan Dix, research director of automotive product quality at J.D. Power and Associates. “In fact, more than one-half of new-vehicle buyers cite interior comfort as one of the most important factors in choosing a vehicle. As a result, it’s crucial to improve on interior design issues—such as difficulty using the center console or door locks—as these are issues that can really make a difference to the overall vehicle ownership experience.”
Dix notes that a key issue with design-related problems is that they generally cannot be fixed, thus remain a problem throughout the life of the vehicle, while defect or malfunctions can usually be repaired.
Overall, interior quality improves by 1.6 PP100 to 17.2 PP100 in 2011 (a lower number indicates higher quality). Of the top five most frequently reported problems within the interior, all five are design-related: material scuffs/soils easily; cruise control difficult to use/controls in poor location; cup holders difficult to use; center console difficult to use; and door locks difficult to use/controls in poor location. Problems related to the center console have increased from 2010.
The study also finds that interior design problems have a negative effect on loyalty and advocacy. Among new-vehicle owners who report no interior design problems, 74 percent say they “definitely will” recommend the brand to others. In comparison, just 54 percent say the same when at least one interior design problem is experienced. Similarly, nearly one-half of customers who report no interior design problems say they “definitely will” purchase or lease from the brand again, while just 29 percent who experienced at least one interior design problem say the same.
The 2011 U.S. Interior Quality and Satisfaction Study provides automotive manufacturers and suppliers with quality and satisfaction information related to automotive interiors. New-vehicle owners are asked to rate the quality of their vehicle interior based on whether they experienced defects/malfunctions or design-related problems during the first 90 days of ownership. The study is based on responses from more than 73,000 new-vehicle owners who purchased a 2011 model-year vehicle. The study was fielded between February and May 2011.
About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company providing forecasting, performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global financial information and education company that helps professionals and students succeed in the Knowledge Economy. With leading brands including Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates, the Corporation has approximately 21,000 employees with more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2010 were $6.2 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com.