Long-Term Vehicle Dependability in India Improves, as Owners Report Fewer Problems with Their Vehicles

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Toyota and Maruti Suzuki Each Receive Two Model-Level Awards

SINGAPORE: 30 June 2014 — Long-term vehicle dependability in India improves, as 38 percent of owners indicate not experiencing any problems with their vehicle, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2014 India Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS) released today. This is the highest proportion of owners not experiencing any problems since 2012, when 34 percent of owners did not report any problems.

The study, now in its seventh year, measures problems experienced by original owners of 30- to 42-month-old vehicles in 169 different problem symptoms across nine vehicle categories: vehicle exterior; driving experience; features, controls and displays; audio and entertainment; seats; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); vehicle interior; engine; and transmission.

Overall vehicle dependability averages 218 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) in 2014, compared with 280 PP100 in 2013. Overall dependability is based on the number of problems reported per 100 vehicles, with a lower score reflecting higher long-term vehicle quality.

The study finds that although owners of diesel-fueled vehicles in India continue to report more problems overall, compared with owners of petrol-fueled vehicles, the gap between the two has narrowed over the past three years. In 2014, owners of diesel vehicles report 234 PP100 overall, which is 22 PP100 higher than the number or problems reported by owners of petrol vehicles, compared with a gap of 71 PP100 in 2012. Across categories, problems with diesel vehicles have improved notably, especially in driving experience, where fewer instances of such problem symptoms as uneven tire wear, excessive misalignment of wheels and unusual suspension noises have been reported. Furthermore noise-related problem symptoms reported by diesel car owners have also dropped to 32PP100 in 2014 from 47 PP100 in 2011. 

 “With improvements in engine technologies and overall vehicle build quality, diesel car owners are reporting fewer noise related problems than three years ago,” said Mohit Arora, executive director at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Singapore. “While savings in terms of running costs have always been an advantage for diesel car owners, going forward, the ongoing refinements are likely to lead to an enhanced ride-comfort and a more positive ownership experience over the longer-term.” 

Among owners who indicate they did not experience problems with their vehicle, 70 percent say they “definitely will” recommend their current model to others. Advocacy declines to 47 percent among those who experience at least one problem with their vehicle. Additionally, among owners of problem-free vehicles, 49 percent say they “definitely will” repurchase their current make. Loyalty drops to 33 percent among those who report one or more problems with their vehicle. 

2014 India VDS Rankings

The study includes 70 models in 12 vehicle segments: entry compact car; compact car ; upper compact car; premium compact car; entry midsize car; midsize car; premium midsize car; entry luxury car; luxury car; multi-utility/ multi-purpose vehicle (MUV/ MPV); sport-utility vehicle (SUV); and van.

Maruti Suzuki and Toyota each have two models that rank highest in their respective segments. Maruti Suzuki's Swift Dzire ranks highest in the entry midsize segment for a fourth consecutive year, and Maruti Suzuki SX4 ranks highest in the midsize segment. Toyota receives model awards for the Innova  in the MUV/ MPV segment and Fortuner in the SUV segment.

The Hyundai Santro ranks highest in the compact segment for the second time in three years. Nissan Micra ranks highest in the upper compact segment, while Škoda Fabia and Honda Civic rank highest in the premium compact and the premium midsize segments, respectively.

KEY FINDINGS

  • The average number of kilometers driven by owners has declined each year since 2011. On average, original owners of 2.5- to 3.5-year-old vehicles indicate they drove their vehicle 36,203 kilometers, which is 13 percent less than in 2011. In 2014, owners who drove no more than 50,000 kilometers, on average, report 95 PP100 fewer problems than those who drove more than 50,000 kilometers. This year, 81 percent of owners indicate they have traveled 50,000 kilometers or fewer, on average, in their vehicle over the course of the ownership period, up from 73 percent in 2011.
  • The proportion of owners who drive their own vehicle vs. those who employ a driver has increased to 87 percent in 2014. On average, self-driving owners report fewer problems than those who employ a driver (215 PP100 vs. 239 PP100, respectively).
  • Fewer owners indicate their vehicles have undergone repairs for unexpected problems in 2014 (37%) than in 2013 (43%). Owners who experience unexpected repairs report a significantly higher number of problems than those who do not (363 PP100 vs. 133 PP100, respectively).

About the Study

The 2014 India Vehicle Dependability Study is based on evaluations from 8,312 original owners who purchased a new vehicle between July 2010 and September 2011. The study includes 70 models covering 16 nameplates and was fielded from January through April 2014 in 30 cities across India. The Vehicle Dependability Study is one of two J.D. Power Asia Pacific automotive quality studies for the India market. The 2014 India Initial Quality Study (IQS), which measures problems of new vehicles at 2 to 6 months of ownership, will be published in November.

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