New-Vehicle Owners Increasingly Experience Design-Related Problems, J.D. Power Finds

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Honda, Isuzu and Toyota Receive Model-Level Awards for Initial Quality

SINGAPORE: 31 Oct. 2018 — Nearly half of all problems experienced by new-vehicle owners in Malaysia are design-related, according to the J.D. Power 2018 Malaysia Initial Quality StudySM (IQS), released today.  

The study finds that 43% of all problems experienced in the first 2-6 months of ownership are related to aspects of the vehicle’s design; in particular, audio, communication, entertainment and navigation (ACEN) and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems—as opposed to manufacturing defects. Some of the problems owners report with their vehicle relate to the driver interface, including issues with Bluetooth-pairing and connectivity with different brands of mobile phones, media device ports and navigation systems, among others.

The overall initial quality for the industry averages 89 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). While problems related to manufacturing quality continue to encompass most of the problems owners experience (48 PP100), design-related issues (39 PP100) have increased over the last 5 years.

“As manufacturers invest in new product development, they need to ensure that the design and functionality, especially of elements related to human-machine interface, is intuitive and easy to reach and operate,” said Shantanu Majumdar, Regional Director, Automotive Practice at J.D. Power. “Furthermore, as vehicles increasingly come fitted with technologically advanced features, it is important for dealerships to demonstrate the operation of such features during new-vehicle delivery.”

The following are additional key findings of the study:

  • Vehicle problems with national vs. Japanese brands: Car owners of the two national brands report a higher problem count, on average than owners of Japanese brands (103 PP100 vs. 75 PP100, respectively). Owners of national brands who have driven over 5,000 kilometers on their vehicle report more problems than owners of Japanese brands (128 PP100 vs. 78 PP100, respectively). 
  • Most cited problems: Among the top five problems reported, four are design-related problems.Excessive wind noise is the most cited problem (7.6 PP100), followed by excessive road noise (4.1 PP100) and the radio having poor/ no reception (3.1 PP100).
  • Younger car owners report more problems: Customers who are 29 years or younger report more problems than those who are 30 years or older (101 PP100 vs. 79 PP100, respectively). Younger car owners report more problems in the audio/ communication/ entertainment/ navigation (ACEN), exterior and engine/ transmission categories.
  • Quality and loyalty enhanced when no problems cited: New-vehicle owners who indicate they have not experienced any problems with their vehicle demonstrate higher loyalty, with 24% saying they “definitely will” repurchase the same make. This percentage decreases to 16% for owners who experience three or more problems.

Study Rankings

The Toyota Vios (76 PP100) ranks highest in the entry midsize segment. The Honda CR-V (48 PP100) ranks highest in the SUV segment and the Isuzu D-Max (44 PP100) ranks highest in the pickup segment.

The 2018 Malaysia Initial Quality Study (IQS) is based on responses from 2,776 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle between September 2017 and July 2018. The study includes 55 passenger car, pickup and utility vehicle models of 13 brands. The study was fielded between March and September 2018.

Now in its 16th year, the study serves as the industry benchmark for new-vehicle quality by examining problems experienced by new-vehicle owners within the first 2-6 months of ownership in two distinct categories: design-related problems and defects and malfunctions. The study includes specific diagnostic questions around eight problem categories: exterior; driving experience; features/ controls/ displays; audio/ communication/ entertainment/ navigation; seats; heating/ ventilation/ air conditioning; interior; and engine/ transmission. The overall initial quality score is determined by problems reported per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower number of problems indicating higher quality. 

The study now also includes Net Promoter Score® (NPS),[1] which measures customers’ likelihood to recommend their vehicle model and brand on a 0-10 scale.

Media Relations Contacts

Aisling Carty; J.D. Power; Singapore; 65-3165-0119;

Geno Effler; J.D. Power; Costa Mesa, Calif., USA; 001-714-621-6224; 

About J.D. Power in the Asia Pacific Region

J.D. Power has offices in Singapore, Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo that conduct customer satisfaction research and provide consulting services in the automotive, information technology and finance industries in the Asia Pacific region. Together, the five offices bring the language of customer satisfaction to consumers and businesses in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.A.E. and Vietnam. J.D. Power is a portfolio company of XIO Group, a global alternative investments and private equity firm headquartered in London, and is led by its four founders: Athene Li, Joseph Pacini, Murphy Qiao and Carsten Geyer. Information regarding J.D. Power and its products can be accessed through the internet at

About J.D. Power and Advertising/Promotional Rules

[1] Net Promoter,® Net Promoter System,® Net Promoter Score,® NPS,® and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc. 

Media Contacts

Costa Mesa, California
(714) 621-6224

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