Ford models rank highest in the entry midsize and SUV segments, and Toyota models rank highest in the premium midsize and MUV/MPV segments, according to the 2009 J D Power Asia Pacific India Vehicle Dependability Study released on Friday. Honda
and Maruti models also earn highest-ranking achievements in other segments.
The study, which measures the dependability of three-year-old vehicles, ranks vehicles in 10 segments and examines more than 150 problem symptoms across nine categories: vehicle exterior; driving experience; features, controls and displays; audio and entertainment; seats; heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC); vehicle interior; engine; and transmission. Overall dependability is based on the number of problems reported per 100 vehicles (PP100), with lower scores indicating a lower rate of problem incidence and higher long-term vehicle quality.
The Ford models lead in two segments, with the Ikon ranking highest in the entry midsize segment and the Endeavour leading in the SUV segment. The Toyota models also lead in two segments, with the Corolla ranking highest in the premium midsize segment and the Innova ranking highest in the MUV/MPV segment. The Maruti Suzuki Zen leads in the compact segment and the Honda City ranks highest in the midsize car segment.
At the nameplate level, Honda performs particularly well, receiving a score of 159 PP100. Honda leads the industry in three of nine problem categories: vehicle exterior, driving experience and engine. Toyota follows Honda at the nameplate level with 173 PP100, which is a 96 PP100 improvement from 2008.
The study finds that in 2009, vehicle dependability across the auto industry in India averages 290 PP100, which is an improvement of 41 PP100 from 2008. Although improvement is evident across most problem categories, the improvement is primarily driven by fewer reported problems with the driving experience and engine categories.
“Fewer owners have experienced dependability problems this year, which enhances their perceptions regarding the reliability and durability of their vehicle,” said Mohit Arora, senior director at J D Power Asia Pacific, Singapore.
“An owner’s perception of their vehicle is important because it strongly impacts their intent to recommend or repurchase the same vehicle make. This can be extremely beneficial to manufacturers in increasing loyalty and recommendations and, thus, new-vehicle sales,” he added.
Among the key problems experienced by owners, the most frequently reported problem is doors squeak/abnormal noise. Additionally, even though excessive fuel consumption remains among the top 10 problems across all vehicle segments, the industry has improved most in this problem area compared with 2008.
The study also finds that nearly 50 per cent of luxury-vehicle owners are covered under an extended warranty or service contract—up 12 percent from 2008. Conversely, only 28 per cent of small-vehicle owners and 31 per cent of midsize-vehicle owners are covered under an extended warranty or service contract.
“Luxury or premium vehicle owners generally have a greater propensity to purchase the extended warranty or service contract coverage for their vehicles, as they spend considerably high amounts to purchase their vehicle,” said Arora.
The 2009 India Vehicle Dependability Study is based on evaluations from 5,105 owners who purchased a new vehicle between July 2005 and October 2006. The study includes 39 vehicle models covering 12 nameplates and was fielded from January to April 2009 in 20 cities throughout India.