Press Release

Quality of Small Vehicles Leads Industry Improvement, J.D. Power Study Finds

Porsche Ranks Highest in Initial Quality among Luxury Brands; MINI Ranks Highest among Mass Market Brands

SHANGHAI: 29 Sept. 2016 — Significant quality improvements in the small car and minivan segments lead the overall improvement in initial quality, according to the J.D. Power 2016 China Initial Quality StudySM (IQS), released today. 

The study measures new-vehicle quality by examining problems experienced by owners within the first two to six months of ownership in two categories: design-related problems and defects/ malfunctions. Specific diagnostic questions are included in eight problem categories: interior; exterior; engine/ transmission; driving experience; features/ controls/ displays; seats; audio/ communication/ entertainment/ navigation; and heating/ ventilation/ air conditioning. The overall initial quality score is determined by problems reported per 100 (PP100) vehicles, with a lower number of problems indicating higher quality.

The industry’s initial quality improves to 102 PP100 from 105 PP100 in 2015. The improvement is largely attributed to progress made in the quality of small vehicles. Initial quality in the small car segment is 99 PP100, an improvement of 12 PP100. The minivan segment improves to 114 PP100, a shift of 10 PP100. 

“Small vehicles are taking the lead in overall quality improvement,” said Jeff Cai, general manager, auto product and quality at J.D. Power China. “The market is evolving into a more mature one. In the past, small vehicles, typically with lower prices, had low quality. But this year, the small and other low-price cars have improved significantly. With outstanding quality and continuous improvements, automakers will be better positioned to gain customers’ trust and loyalty in the long run.”

Other key findings of the study include: 

  • Domestic Brands Improving Quality: The domestic Chinese brands are closing the gap on the international brands in 2016, narrowing the difference to14 PP100, compared with a difference of 22 PP100 in 2015. The largest gap in quality between domestic and international brands is in the engine/ transmission category (6 PP100). 
  • Chinese Owners Scorn New-Car Smell: For a second consecutive year, the most frequently reported problem is unpleasant interior smell/ odor, increasing to 16.0 PP100 this year from 14.2 PP100 in 2015.  Excessive road noise; excessive fuel consumption; excessive wind noise; and engine loses power when A/ C is on round out the top five most reported problems.
  • A/ C Problems Decline, Noise Problems Increase: Air conditioning-related problems account for four of the 10 most improved problems in 2016. Conversely, four noise-related problems are among the 10 problems that have increased the most year over year. 
  • Navigation System Problems Increase: An increasing proportion of new-vehicle owners have a factory-installed navigation system in their car (64% in 2016 vs. 51% in 2015). Although overall navigation systems problems have declined from 2015 (2.68 PP100 vs. 2.70 PP100, respectively), the most common problem—inaccurate navigation system—has increased to 2.0 PP100 from 1.8 PP100. 

2016 China IQS Ranking Highlights

Porsche ranks highest in initial quality among luxury nameplates with 67 PP100. Lexus (76 PP100) ranks second and Audi (83 PP100) ranks third. 

Among mass market nameplates, MINI ranks highest with 80 PP100. Beijing Hyundai (84 PP100) ranks second and FAW-Mazda (88 PP100) ranks third.

Hyundai receives three model-level awards, followed by Lexus with two. In total, 13 vehicle segments are eligible for awards in the 2016 China Initial Quality Study. Models receiving segment awards are:

  • Compact Upper: Kia K2
  • Midsize Basic: Peugeot 301
  • Midsize: Nissan Sylphy
  • Midsize Upper Economy: MINI
  • Midsize Upper: Hyundai Sonata
  • Compact Luxury: Audi A4L
  • Midsize Luxury: Lexus ES
  • Small SUV: Dongfeng Future Joyear X3
  • Compact SUV: Hyundai Tucson
  • Midsize SUV: Honda CR-V
  • Large SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Compact Luxury SUV: Lexus NX
  • Midsize Luxury SUV: Porsche Macan

The 2016 China Initial Quality Study is based on evaluations from 21,706 owners of new vehicles purchased from September 2015 and May 2016. The study includes 145 different models from 54 different brands. The study was fielded from March 2016 through July 2016 in 62 major cities across China.

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 

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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