Like the U.S. version of the Initial Quality Study (or IQS) the China IQS aims to identify what brands and products offer the highest degree of perceived initial quality. The results of this year’s China IQS are based on the survey responses of 34,158 new vehicle owners who purchased their vehicles between June 2020 and March 2021. Participants were asked to rank their vehicle on 218 problem symptoms across nine categories, including exterior, interior, infotainment system, seats, driving experience, driving assistance, powertrain, climate and features, controls and displays. Each brand is then given a score based on the problems experienced per 100 vehicles sold (PP100).
Buick was ranked sixth overall among mass-market brands in the 2021 China IQS with a PP100 score of 202. This was above the mass-market brand average score of 209 and mostly on-par with rival brands like Changan, FAW Toyota, SAIC Volkswagen, Chery and Lynk & Co. GAC Honda led the way among mass-market brands with a score of 184, followed by GAC FCA Jeep in second (193) and Changan Ford in third (195).
Additionally, three Buick models ranked the highest in their respective segments in this study, including the Buick Encore GX (Compact SUV), Buick Enclave (Large SUV) and Buick GL8 (Large MPV). The Buick Verano was also second in the Midsize Upper Economy Car segment, behind the Geely Borui.
Like the U.S. equivalent of this study, the vast majority of problems experienced in new vehicles were related to the infotainment system. However, J.D. power says that 90 percent of these reported problems “are design-related problems, referring to components or features that may be functioning properly but are still perceived as problems by owners because they are difficult to understand or use.” That means that many automakers would not have to fix any major problems to improve their scores significantly, but instead need to implement easy-to-understand menu pages in their infotainment systems.
“Compared with problems in the traditional quality areas, quality problems with smart and connected features are due more to poor design,” said Jeff Cai, J.D. Power China’s general manager of auto product practice. “This requires automakers to not only pay more attention to the user experience design of technology features, but also establish an effective quality management mechanism for software and better cope with challenges in the era of software-defined vehicles.”