Buick takes top spot in J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

·2 min read

Buick took the top spot in the 2022 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, helping lift General Motors to an industry best showing among automakers in the closely watched annual survey.

The survey’s top 10 lists Buick at No. 1, followed in order by Dodge, which maintained its second-place ranking from 2021, Chevrolet, Genesis, Kia, Lexus, GMC, Cadillac, BMW and Ford. Chrysler had the lowest ranking among nonelectric vehicle brands. Polestar had the lowest ranking.

Notably, Ram, last year’s top performer, dropped 17 places, putting it worse than the industry average for problems per 100 vehicles, the measurement used to determine placement in the results. This year’s results showed an 11% increase industrywide in problems per 100 vehicles, the release said, noting that a lower score reflects higher vehicle quality.

GM “bucks the trend” among automakers with its improved performance in this year’s results, which showed vehicle problems across the industry reaching a record high in the survey’s 36-year history, according to a news release. GM had the most model-level awards among automakers, and GM’s Chevrolet brand had the most segment awards of all brands in the survey. In addition, the Chevrolet Corvette was the highest-ranking model overall.

Supply chain issues, record-high vehicle prices and personnel dislocations as a result of the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic were all contributing factors, the release said.

David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power, said it’s a surprise that the issues didn’t have more of an impact than they did.

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“Given the many challenges automakers and their dealers had to face in the past year, it’s somewhat surprising that initial quality didn’t fall even more dramatically,” Amodeo said in the release.

"In general, initial quality has shown steady improvement throughout the history of this study, so the decline this year is disappointing — yet understandable. Automakers continue to launch vehicles that are more and more technologically complex in an era in which there have been many shortages of critical components to support them. ... In some cases, new vehicles are being shipped without some features installed," Amodeo said.

Here are some other findings from the results, according to the release:

  • Mass market vehicles experienced fewer problems than premium vehicles.

  • Infotainment systems continued to be the most problematic area.

  • Battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles were more problematic than vehicles with internal combustion engines.

  • Driving assistance issues grew.

The survey gathered responses from February through May from 84,165 buyers and lessees of new 2022 model year vehicles about categories including infotainment, driving assistance, features, powertrains and driving experience, the release said.

Free Press staff writer Phoebe Wall Howard contributed to this report.

Contact Eric D. Lawrence: elawrence@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter: @_ericdlawrence. Become a subscriber.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: GM's Buick brand tops annual J.D. Power quality study