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One of the major indicators of change within the automotive industry is the J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS). J.D. Power used responses from 84,165 buyers and lessees of new cars for 2022 in the first few months to get a feel for quality. This year’s study found that the semiconductor chip shortages had a pretty significant impact on new car quality.

Results of the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Initial Quality Study shows a lack of quality

J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Initial Quality Study
A person walks by a new car dealership on June 10, 2022, in New York City | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

When J.D. Power releases its finds in the U.S. Initial Quality Study, it usually has positive news to report. Much like everything else these days, the 2022 U.S. Initial Quality Study found that many vehicles are lacking in quality. In fact, quality issues reached a record high this year. That makes 2022 the worst year for quality in the 36-year history of the IQS.

Compared to the 2021 IQS, owners reported an 11% increase in problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). The industry average for 2022 is 180 PP100, 18 more than last year. In the IQS, a lower score means better quality.

J.D. Power says supply chain issues and high vehicle prices contributed to the problems. Oddly enough, GM and Buick had a good year based on the results of the IQS. GM brands saw improved quality throughout the year, and Buick was in the first place.

The J.D. Power 2022 IQS reflected the supply chain issues

Buick saw a 17 PP100 increase throughout the year, moving it up from 12th place to first place. Genesis ranked the highest among premium brands. Overall, only nine brands saw improvement for 2022. The Buick Encore GX, Cadillac Escalade, and Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks ranked highest in each segment.

In general, initial quality has shown steady improvement throughout the history of this study, so the decline this year is disappointing—yet understandable. Automakers continue to launch vehicles that are more and more technologically complex in an era in which there have been many shortages of critical components to support them.”

David Amodeo | Director of global automotive at J.D. Power

J.D. Power also found a correlation between brand-new vehicles that launched in 2022 had an increase in issues. These issues decreased after the first few years, but there was still a clear indication that problems increased as the model years went on.

Mass-market brands had fewer problems than premium brands

The study also found that mass-market brands like Toyota, Honda, Chevy, and Ford have fewer issues than premium brands. Premium brands, such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Lexus, reported 196 PP100. The mass-market brands reported 175 PP100, 21 PP100 fewer than premium brands.

One area that showed a lack of improvement is in-car technology. The semiconductor chip shortage meant that brands pulled features from cars due to a lack of chips. Premium brands tend to have more technology, which means more stuff to break daily.