National Automakers Closing Quality Gap with Non-National Brands, J.D. Power Study Finds

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Toyota Receives Two Model-Level Awards for Initial Quality; Perodua and Mazda Each Receive One

KUALA LUMPUR: 10 Nov. 2016 — New-vehicle quality in Malaysia improves by 18% from 2015, the largest improvement in the 14 year history of the study, with the gap between national and non-national brands the smallest it has ever been, according to, according to the J.D. Power 2016 Malaysia Initial Quality StudySM (IQS), released today. 

Overall initial quality improves to 69 PP100 in 2016 from 259 PP100 in 2003. While the initial quality score for non-national brands is still better at 54 PP100, national brands, with a score of 83 PP100, are closing the gap. The year-over-year rate at which national makes are improving outpaces that of non-national makes, at 18% vs. 16%, respectively. National makes perform particularly well in the compact car segment, in which the top three compact car models are all locally manufactured.

“In a span of 14 years, the gap between national and non-national makes has shrunk to just 29 PP100 from 146 PP100, signifying local manufacturers’ commitment to producing high-quality products,” said Mohit Arora, regional vice president at J.D. Power. “To sustain this momentum, auto manufacturers should continually focus on the most frequently reported problems and identify groups of customers that are particularly sensitive to problems in their cars.”

Initial quality improves across all eight problem categories measured in the study, with engine/ transmission registering the greatest reduction in problems. Vehicle exterior continues to be the category with the most reported problems, a trend that has continued from the beginning of the study in 2003.

Some Owners More Sensitive to Problems with Their Cars

The study finds that there are particular groups of car owners that experience a higher incidence of problems with their vehicles. For example, men report more problems than women (79 PP100 vs. 56 PP100, respectively). Additionally, owners who usually have four passengers in their vehicle report an average of 73 PP100, compared with 54 PP100 for those who drive their car alone. Owners with more than 10 years of driving experience are also more prone to report problems, compared to those with no more than 10 years of driving experience (85 PP 100 vs. 55 PP100, respectively). 

“Clearly, usage patterns and driving savviness influence car owners’ perceived quality of their vehicles,” said Rajaswaran Tharmalingam, country head of Malaysia at J.D. Power. “Auto manufacturers that are able to identify these groups of customers, and communicate to them in advance what to expect from their cars, may help mitigate any dissatisfaction that can arise from unexpected problems.”

Following are additional findings of the 2016 study:

  • Top Three Most Frequently Cited Problems: Consistent with the 2015 study, excessive wind noise remains the most frequently reported problem (4.6 PP100), followed by air conditioning doesn’t get cold enough and fast enough (2.7 PP100) and noisy brakes (2.5 PP100).
  • MPV/ Vans Have the Most Problems: MPV/ Van owners report the most problems, at 79 PP100, although quality in this segment has improved from 90 PP100 in 2015.
  • High Quality = High Loyalty: High initial quality is an important driver of brand loyalty, which can influence consideration and shopping for a brand. Among owners who do not experience any problems with their vehicle, 25% say they “definitely would” repurchase the make. The repurchase rate drops to 13% among owners who experience one or more problems.

Model Rankings

Among the 39 models examined in the study, two Toyota models, one Mazda and one Perodua model rank highest in their respective segments.

The Toyota Vios ranks highest in the entry midsize segment (48 PP100), and Toyota Avanza ranks highest in the MPV/ Van segment (52 PP100) for the eighth consecutive year. The Perodua Myvi ranks highest in the compact segment (73 PP100), and the Mazda CX-5 ranks highest in the SUV segment (41 PP100).

About the Study

The study, now in its 14th year, measures problems experienced by vehicle owners during the first two to six months of ownership. Initial quality is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality.

The 2016 Malaysia Initial Quality Study (IQS) is based on responses from 2,436 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle between August 2015 and June 2016. The study includes 39 passenger car, pickup and utility vehicle models of 12 brands. The study was fielded between February and August 2016.

Media Relations Contacts 

Michelle Meng; J.D. Power; Beijing, China; +86 01 6569 2702;

John Tews; J.D. Power; 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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