In its 2021 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, J.D. Power shows that many automakers have improved their rankings. However, Honda isn’t one of them. Not only has its ranking dropped, but it also took a major dive. So, what happened?
How J.D. Power determines dependability
Whether you put much stock in car reviews or not, they’re worth looking at. They give you an idea of how automakers are performing and alert you to any serious defects you should know about before making a major investment.
With that being said, it’s important to know how rankings are determined. J.D. Power’s dependability study is based on feedback from consumers who bought and drove the vehicles daily.
Tanya Parkes, the vice president of the consumer division at J.D. Power, said in a statement: “The J.D. Power 100-Point Scores are based on independent and unbiased insights from consumers who have actually owned these vehicles, and that’s something in which shoppers are keenly interested.”
For its 2021 study, J.D. Power surveyed 33,251 consumers. They all owned 2018 vehicles and had driven them for three years.
Honda has fallen from grace
In J.D. Power’s study last year, Honda didn’t exactly garner much attention — it ranked 19th in dependability. There were 33 automakers on the list, so Honda placed in the middle of the pack. But in this year’s study, Honda dropped to 28th place.
That’s a long fall for an automaker, especially in such a short amount of time. So, what happened?
Honda is having some major issues, not the least of which is a recall involving 1.79 million vehicles. And it’s not just for a single problem. The recall involves a software issue, driveshafts that could break, and window switches that could overheat.
There are also issues with the Honda Sensing safety suite. Some owners have complained the system’s automatic emergency braking engages without warning when there’s nothing in front of the vehicle. Honda didn’t seem to think the problem warranted a class-action lawsuit despite failing to fix the issue, which further fueled consumer dissatisfaction.
But Honda isn’t the only automaker to fall in J.D. Power’s rankings
J.D. Power‘s dependability study show quite a few changes from 2020 to 2021. Genesis has dropped from first place to eighth. Still, it remains in the top 10. And some automakers’ bottom-10 rankings are shocking.
In the current study, Infiniti, Jeep, GMC, Volvo, Honda, Volkswagen, Chrysler, Jaguar, Alfa Romeo, and Land Rover linger at the bottom of the list. Land Rover is the worst of the worst, with 244 consumer complaints. That’s even worse than Land Rover’s ranking last year. The automaker was still at the bottom of the pack, but it saw 220 complaints in the 2020 study.
But it wasn’t all bad news. Several automakers drastically improved their rankings.
Cadillac, which had been falling behind in J.D. Power’s rankings for years, jumped from 12th place to sixth. And Kia saw one of the biggest improvements, catapulting from 14th to third.
If you drive a Honda vehicle, the news of the automaker’s fall from dependability might be concerning. But you should know that many studies aren’t comprehensive, and you should take them with a grain of salt.