GM brands ranked mid-pack in the recent 2021 J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality Study, which rates automotive brands based on the initial quality of their vehicles as perceived by customers.
The J.D. Power Initial Quality Study is conducted by measuring the number of problems new vehicle owners experienced during the first 90 days of ownership per 100 vehicles. A lower score means fewer problems were experienced and is thus indicative of a higher quality. The industry average score in this year’s edition of the annual study was 162, with 20 of 32 brands improving their quality from last year’s study.
Chevy led the way among GM brands, achieving a score of 151. This placed the Bowtie Brand in the upper mid-pack in the results, although it was well above the industry average score of 162. Buick trailed Chevy slightly with a score of 156, while both GMC and Cadillac fell below the industry average with respective scores of 164 and 173. Additionally, the Chevy Corvette won the Premium Sporty Car category in the study, while the Cadillac CT5 topped the Midsize Premium Car rankings.
It’s worth noting that J.D. Power considers a wide variety of issues a “problem.” For example, if the vehicle’s Bluetooth system fails to connect to a smartphone once, this would be considered a problem and reported in the survey data. It’s not surprising, then, that electronics problems, such as infotainment bugs and phone connectivity issues, made up the majority of the quality issues experienced by owners who participated in the study.
“This year there are many examples of smartphone technology not working as intended in new vehicles,” Dave Sargent, vice president of automotive quality at J.D. Power, explained. With more vehicles being fitted with the wireless technology owners want, the study reveals an increase in connectivity problems between smartphones and vehicles, leaving many owners unhappy.”
This year’s J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality Study is based on the survey responses from 110,827 purchasers and lessees of new 2021 model-year vehicles. Participants answered 223 questions with regard to vehicle quality split into nine vehicle categories: infotainment, features, controls and displays, exterior, driving assistance, interior, powertrain, seats, driving experience and climate. The study was fielded from February through July 2021.