J.D. Power Report: Two-Wheeler Owners in India Report High Incidence of Initial Quality Problems

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jd power motorcycle survey

Although India happens to be one of the largest two-wheeler market in the world, nearly three-fourths (70%) of initial quality problems reported by two-wheeler owners in India are experienced in the engine, fit and finish, lights/electricals and brakes categories, according to the inaugural J.D. Power 2015 India Two-Wheeler Initial Quality Study (2WIQS) StudySM released today.

The study measures problems owners experience with their new two-wheeler during the first two to six months of ownership. It examines 138 problem symptoms covering seven two-wheeler problem categories (listed in order of frequency of reported problems): engine; brakes; lights/electricals; fit and finish; ride and handling; transmission; and gauges and controls. All problems are summarized as the number of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). Lower PP100 scores indicate a lower rate of problem incidence and therefore higher initial quality.

2014 TVS Wego 110 (8)

Many reported problems impact vehicle usage and varied driving conditions. Therefore, OEMs need to focus on these issues to improve performance quality and enhance vehicle safety and visibility,” said Mohit Arora, executive director, J.D. Power Asia Pacific. “The Two-Wheeler Initial Quality Study provides the industry with key information about customer expectations and establishes a benchmark to measure performance against the competition.”

The two-wheeler models surveyed in this study were classified into Scooters and Motorcycles. Scooters include two model segments: Economy and Executive, while Motorcycles include five model segments: Economy, Executive, Upper Executive, Premium and Premium Plus.

Overall two-wheeler initial quality in India averages 166 PP100. Engine (44 PP100), fit and finish (25 PP100), lights/electricals (25 PP100) and brakes (24 PP100) are the top reported problem categories. The most frequently cited problem symptoms include excessive fuel consumption, engine is hard to start, lights not bright enough – headlight, brakes are ineffective/ don’t have enough stopping power, and brakes are too sensitive.

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The study finds that 80 percent of two-wheeler owners use their vehicle for daily commuting, averaging about 40 kilometers per day. Given this high usage, nearly one-third (27%) of two-wheeler owners have reported mileage/ fuel economy as the top main reason to purchase a new two-wheeler.


  • For Scooters, overall initial quality averages 150 PP100. Engine (44 PP100) and brakes (28 PP100) are the top two reported problem categories
  • The top three reported problem symptoms include engine hard to start—electric start (7.7 PP100); excessive fuel consumption (7.6 PP100); and engine hard to start—first start of the day (6.5 PP100)
  • For Motorcycles, overall initial quality is 173 PP100. Engine (44 PP100), electrical and light (27 PP100), and fit and finish (26 PP100) contribute to 56 percent of initial quality problems reported by motorcycle owners
  • The top reported problem symptoms include gears are noisy (7.1 PP100); lights not bright enough—headlight (6.6 PP100); and excessive fuel consumption (6.0 PP100)
  • Receiving an explanation of the operation and benefits of vehicle features improves initial quality perceptions among two-wheeler owners. The number of reported problems among new two-wheeler owners who receive an explanation of their vehicle’s operation features and their benefits is 142 PP100, compared with 242 PP100 among those who did not receive an explanation
  • Two-wheeler owners who experience fewer problems than expected (68%) are twice as likely to recommend their model to family and friends as owners who experience more problems than expected (31%)

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2015 India Two-Wheeler Initial Quality Study Rankings

Award recipient segments include Scooters: Executive and Motorcycles: Economy, Executive, Upper Executive and Premium.

  • For Scooters, TVS Wego (84 PP100) ranks highest among executive models
  • For Motorcycles, Hero Splendor iSmart ranks highest among economy models with 101 PP100,
  • Hero Super Splendor ranks highest among executive models with 137 PP100
  • Yamaha Fazer ranks highest among upper executive models (109 PP100)
  • Bajaj Avenger ranks highest among premium models (88 PP100)

The 2015 India Two-Wheeler Initial Quality Study (2WIQS) is based on evaluations from 10,285 vehicle owners who purchased a new vehicle between March 2014 and October 2014. The study includes 81 two- wheeler models from nine makes. The study was fielded from September 2014 to December 2014 in 45 cities across India.

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  • Niladri says:

    It seems TVS & HERO is leading in spite of Indian R&D and quality. And I know JD Power they do not call customers or take any data from the OEMs. They do their survey in big petrol pumps/malls or public places one to one basis with face to face with customers. But it is really shocking to see Yamaha/Honda/Suzuki and all foreign giants are doing such poor in quality!!!!

  • Salmander says:

    Royal Enfield and TVS rank among the highest when it comes to quality issues. How was this survey conducted? I don’t think all recent owners were contacted – would’ve given a more comprehensive and thorough view. I know a couple of RE and TVS purchasers who have had the most impossible quality issues but weren’t contacted!

    TVS: electric shock in the front brake’s lever, thumb-starter troubles, a terrible clutch plate, a bad timing belt (whistling noise always present), terrible gear ratios etc. (mostly Phoenix, Star City + & the Scooty series). Servicing is non-existent.

    RE: water logging in the tail lights/head lights/indicators/speedo, rear view mirror vibrating too much to be of any use (nothing visible), rusting chrome parts (even when parked in a covered area) etc. (RE in general, from Classic to Continental)

    Bajaj + Duke: water entry into the fuel tank, sparks from indicator, easily catches fire, auto-throttle even with low idling & new cables (old Platina, Discover & the Pulsars; + Duke. No idea abt Kawasaki.)

    Honda: the test drive Unicorn was badly maintained. I asked whether the regular bikes suffered from the same issue but didn’t get a coherent reply. I’ve routinely heard clunky-sounding Shine’s, Activa’s and Dio’s.

    Hero: These are easy to service but difficult to maintain. Bad seat posture across their lines, regular timing belt issues & excessive engine noise just a few days after service etc. (Splendor series, Dawn, CBZ, Maestro)

    Yamaha: indicator switch & brake switch failure in a month, lack of spare parts, sudden drop in engine power followed by the engine turning off (happens at all speeds but especially when cruising at a constant speed), service person claiming these are not real problems (yes, even for the brake) etc. (SZ 160, FZ with FI, Cygnus Alpha, SS 125 & YZF R15)

    Suzuki & Mahindra: Haven’t seen much of these so no comment.

    The above are simply a few examples from my own experience and as experienced by close friends (+ verified by me to be true).

  • govinda says:

    Please carry survey for royal enfield owners also for quality and fit finish issues, I bet they will rank highest among every two wheeler class. Worst quality and after sales is provided by royal enfield at such high price. Though I love my enfield very much, will never forgive company.

  • Satish says:

    My only reason to buy Unicorn was sheer quality and low maintenance. It came out exactly opposite. The bike now has problem with every component (engine, gearbox included) when it was serviced exactly as prescribed. This report is reflecting same thing. Two wheelers are now deliberately being sold in lower quality so that people can buy another in short time interval. Very much favourable for manufacturers. Sad for consumers. This report should increase awareness and the overall quality.