Reliability on the wane as more owners report problems with their vehicles

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Progress is making things better, more reliable, where the fast paced implementation of modern methods seek to churn out ultra dependable machines you can bet your life on. But something somewhere has managed to slot things in reverse. According to the J.D. Power 2017 India Vehicle Dependability Study, long-term vehicle dependability in India has declined marginally year over year, as 56% of new-vehicle owners indicate experiencing at least one problem with their vehicle. This is in comparison to last year, where 53% new-vehicle owners experienced at least one problem with their car.


The study also reaffirms the notion that a petrol powered car is easier on its components than its diesel sipping brethren. It finds that diesel-fueled vehicles deteriorate more after 40,000 kms vs. petrol-fueled vehicles. During the past four years, the gap in reported problems between vehicles driven more than 40,000 kms and those driven fewer than 40,000 kms is greater for diesel vehicles than for petrol vehicles. Plus, a larger proportion of owners of diesel vehicles driven more than 40,000 kms indicate the need to replace parts/ components in their vehicle (67%) vs. petrol vehicle owners (58%).

According to the study, overall vehicle dependability in India averages 189 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) in 2017, deteriorating from 185 PP100 in 2016, where a lower number of problems reflects higher longer-term vehicle quality. Owner-reported problems increase sharply after vehicles are driven more than 40,000 kilometres (kms). Owners of vehicles that have been driven for more than 40,000 kms indicate an average of 73 more problems per 100 vehicles than those owners whose vehicles have been driven fewer than 40,000 kms. Vehicle exterior and driving experience account for more problems than other categories and, within these two categories, problems relating to uneven tire wear, noise from doors, bumper and exterior corrosion are more prevalent in vehicles that have been driven more than 40,000 kms.

Shantanu Nandi Majumdar, director at J.D. Power says, “In addition to usage, varying road and weather conditions affect the longer-term dependability of vehicles in India. After about three years of ownership, problems related to squeaks and rattles are typically reported which is likely to impact overall build quality perceptions. Automakers that are able to identify such problems related to extended use—and resolve them at the manufacturing stage—are likely to be able to provide a more positive ownership experience for their customers.”

The study also found out how loyalty and advocacy are directly related to an individual’s experience. Among owners who indicate they have not experienced a problem, 74% say they “definitely would” recommend their current model to others and 53% say they “definitely would” repurchase their current make. In contrast, advocacy declines to 56% among owners who experience at least one problem with their vehicle while loyalty drops to 39%. If you’re in the market looking out for a good deal on a used car, you’d do well to ensure that you try to put your money on something which has fewer miles on the odometer, especially if it’s a diesel. What should also help is the rankings this study has assigned.

2017 Hyundai Grandi10 facelift

It included 74 models in 12 vehicle segments: multi-utility/ multi-purpose vehicle (MUV/ MPV); sport-utility vehicle (SUV); premium SUV; van; entry compact; compact; upper compact; premium compact; entry midsize; midsize; premium midsize; and luxury. Hyundai received two model-level awards. Hyundai i10 (132 PP100) ranks highest in the compact segment while the Hyundai i20 (162 PP100) ranks highest in the premium compact segment.

Honda received two model-level awards, where the Honda Brio (131 PP100) and the Honda City (132 PP100) rank highest in the upper compact and midsize segments, respectively. Toyota received two model-level awards, where the Toyota Etios (125 PP100) and Toyota Innova (128 PP100) ranked highest in the entry midsize and MUV/ MPV segments, respectively. The Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 (197 PP100) ranks highest in the entry compact segment and the Ford Ecosport (169 PP100) ranks highest in the SUV segment.

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