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June 25, 2023

Complex Tech Leads To More Problematic Cars

With more and more tech crammed into new vehicles, they’re increasingly becoming problematic in terms of quality. That is the findings of the 2023 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study or IQS.

A phenomenon not seen in the IQS’s 37-year history, new cars are facing a wide range of quality problems. From persistent problems carrying over from years past to an increase in new types of problems, today’s new vehicles are more complex—offering new and exciting technology—but not always satisfying owners.

Problems are scored in PP100 (problems per 100 vehicles), with a lower score reflecting higher vehicle quality. The 2023 IQS reveals a rise of 12PP100 more than in 2022, which follows an increase of 18 PP100 in 2022 from 2021.

According to J.D. Power, the continuing decline in quality can be attributed to multiple factors such as greater usage and penetration of technology; continued integration of known problematic audio systems into other new models; to mundane stuff like poor sounding horns and cupholders that don’t serve their purpose.

The U.S. Initial Quality Study is based on responses from 93,380 purchasers and lessees of new 2023 model-year vehicles who were surveyed early in the ownership period. The study is based on a 223-question battery organized into nine vehicle categories: infotainment; features, controls and displays; exterior; driving assistance; interior; powertrain; seats; driving experience; and climate. The study is designed to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate the identification of problems and to drive product improvement. The study was fielded from February through May 2023.

The study finds that something basic as door handles are starting to become problematic. Opening a door was once a non-discussion point—an aspect of a vehicle that had been examined, engineered, and mastered. The basic touch point of door handles is now a percolating problem area as manufacturers attempt to redesign them. Owners are having issues with high-tech approaches to this basic function; seven of the 10 most problematic models in this area are battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

Another area causing issues surrounds safety systems. More than three-fourths (80 percent) of owners say their new vehicle includes all four of the primary driver assistance features—forward collision warning; lane keeping assistance; lane departure warning; and blind spot warning. However, problems owners encounter in the driver assistance category have increased 1.8 PP100 year over year. The most problematic areas are lane departure warning/lane keeping assistance (7.2 PP100) and forward collision warning/automatic emergency braking (5.0 PP100) for those that have these features.

When it comes to infotainment systems, the Android Automotive Operating System (AAOS) has the most issues at 51.1 PP100 compared to vehicles that don’t use this system (29.6 PP100).

Still on the subject of smartphones, wireless charging has become the largest issue across all 223 problems measured in the study. As this technology becomes more prevalent in vehicles, owners reporting that the wireless charging pad not working as increased by a sizeable 1.1 PP100. Users also report issues such as poor location; phone overheating; and intermittent charging, if at all.

Onto the highest-ranked brands, Dodge is the highest-ranking brand overall in initial quality with a score of 140 PP100. Among mass market brands, Ram (141 PP100) ranks second and Buick (162 PP100) ranks third.

Among premium brands, Alfa Romeo ranks highest with a score of 143 PP100. Porsche (167 PP100) ranks second and Cadillac (170 PP100) ranks third.

The parent corporation receiving the most model-level awards is General Motors Company (seven awards), followed by Hyundai Motor Group (five) and Toyota Motor Corporation (four). Among brands, Chevrolet and Kia receive the most segment awards (four).


  1. I wonder why do automakers put more and more tech in it so that they could make more money due to unreliability of some tech that break over time?

  2. Typical of china cars here in ph - more on tech but less on reliability/durability. After the warranty it could be money pit


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