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Dealership Staff Can Help Reduce The Number of Problems Owners Experience With Their New Vehicle

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Honda Receives Two Model-Level Awards For Initial Quality, Perodua and Toyota Each Get One

KUALA LUMPUR: 27 November 2015 — The salesperson plays a critical role in reducing the number of problems owners experience with their new vehicle, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2015 Malaysia Initial Quality StudySM (IQS) released today. 

Automakers continue to add features, specifically entertainment and connectivity technology, to their vehicle. By explaining at the time of delivery all of the features of the vehicle and how they work, the salesperson can make sure the owner is comfortable with the technology thus significantly reducing the number of problems the owner experienced with their vehicle. 

The study finds that when the salesperson provides a comprehensive explanation of the vehicle and its features, owners report an average of 79 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100).  In contrast, owners who indicate their salesperson provided no explanation, or only a partial explanation, report an average of 163 PP100.

“With all of the new content automakers are putting in their vehicles, it is absolutely critical for salespeople to provide comprehensive explanation of vehicle, including a test drive, to make sure the customer fully understands how to operate all of the technology and its benefits,” said Rajaswaran Tharmalingam, country head, Malaysia, J.D. Power. “The technology may work exactly as it’s designed, but if the customer doesn’t know how to use it or had difficulties using it, they deem it a problem. The salesperson can greatly reduce those problems simply spending time with the customer during the delivery process going through the vehicle and its accessories.”

Tharmalingam noted that given the importance of the test drive, only 59 percent of customers in Malaysia took one during their shopping process. Customers who took a test drive report 74 PP100, while those who did not report 97 PP100. 

“The test drive is critical to help the owner experience the vehicle, which helps manage their expectations during the ownership lifecycle,” said Tharmalingam. “Quality and reliability are among the top purchase decision factors when selecting a vehicle, and problems experienced in the first six months of ownership can have an effect years later when consumers replace their vehicle.”

The study, now in its 13th year, measures problems experienced by new-vehicle owners during the first two to six months of ownership. The study examines more than 200 problem symptoms covering eight vehicle categories: vehicle exterior; driving experience; features/ controls/ displays; audio/ entertainment/ navigation; seats; HVAC; vehicle interior; and engine/ transmission. Lower PP100 scores indicate a lower rate of problem incidence and, therefore, higher initial quality.


  • SUV owners report the fewest number of problems with their vehicle (52 PP100), while compact owners report the highest number of problems (98 PP100).
  • Among the problem categories, owners report the most problems with the driving experience (17.8 PP100), up by 3.9 PP100 from 2014. Seats have the fewest problems among the problem categories at 5.0 PP100.
  • Excessive wind noise remains as the top most frequently cited problem at 6.2 PP100. The second most frequently reported problem is noisy brakes (3.3 PP100) followed by floor mats that won’t stay in place (2.6 PP100).

2015 Malaysia IQS Study Rankings

Among the 41 models examined in the study, two Honda models, one Perodua and one Toyota model rank highest in their respective segments.

The Honda City ranks highest in the entry midsize segment (68 PP100) and the Honda CR-V ranks highest in the SUV segment (31 PP100). The Perodua Axia ranks highest in the compact segment (89 PP100), while the Toyota Avanza ranks highest in the MPV/ Van segment (36 PP100) for the sixth consecutive year.

The 2015 Malaysia Initial Quality Study (IQS) is based on responses from 2,622 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle between August 2014 and June 2015. The study includes 41 passenger car, pickup and utility vehicle models of 15 brands. The study was fielded between February and August 2015.

Media Relations Contacts

Xingti Liu; Singapore; Phone 65-6733 8980;

John Tews; Troy, Michigan, USA; 001-248-680-6218;

About J.D. Power in the Asia Pacific Region

J.D. Power has offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Malaysia and Bangkok that conduct customer satisfaction research and provide consulting services in the automotive, information technology and finance industries in the Asia Pacific region. Together, the six offices bring the language of customer satisfaction to consumers and businesses in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Information regarding J.D. Power and its products can be accessed through the Internet at

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