What Do J.D. Power’s Ratings Actually Mean?

You’ve probably read reviews or feedback from experts while car shopping online. J.D Power might have been one of those sources. The company is best known for its work in the automotive industry, but its experts also analyze other sectors, including financial services, insurance, travel and hospitality, and utilities. Here’s more about J.D. Power and its automotive ratings.

What is J.D. Power?

J.D. Power is a marketing research, advisory services, and data and analytics firm based in Michigan. It studies consumer feedback on products and services across various industries. According to The Balance, “The company’s team of experts then translates that information into reports it sells to corporate clients.” It also publishes free studies and surveys for consumers. Once the firm collects the feedback, it categorizes the data into price ranges and vehicle sizes.

In what categories does J.D. Power rate cars?

J.D. Power ratings
New cars | Shen Chunchen/VCG via Getty Images

J.D Power rates vehicles in the following categories:

  • Quality and reliability: This category measures the number of defects, malfunctions, and design flaws car owners have reported. It also covers the entire vehicle, from the exterior to the mechanics to the interior.
  • Driving experience: This area reflects the owner’s evaluation of the vehicle’s design, performance capabilities, comfort level, safety, and other aspects. Newer cars usually score higher than older models in this category.
  • Dealership experience: This category shows the owner’s experience with a brand’s dealerships during the buying process and vehicle service. Quality of work is also a key factor.
  • Resale value: J.D. Power forecasts a car’s depreciation over the next few years. Lower depreciation means the vehicle will score higher in this category.

What are J.D. Power score classifications?

J.D Power score classifications include reliability (40%), driving experience (20%), resale value (20%), and dealership experience (20%). Here’s how J.D. Power ranks each category:

  • Best (91–100): Vehicles classified as “best” are the highest-rated within their category by owners.
  • Great (81–90): Models marked “great” didn’t score high enough to rank at the top of their category but are better than average.
  • Average (70–80): These models earned a par score within their category. For reference, the 100-point score settles at 80 for the most recent model year. Therefore, older models usually receive a lower average rating than 80.
  • Fair (0–69): This classification represents models rated below average within their category.

Is J.D. Power reputable?

Yes, the company is a reputable source. J.D Power says its experts use unbiased information from consumers’ real-world experiences. They use that feedback to segment the auto market and create car ratings.

J.D Power’s rankings are a good indicator of customer satisfaction. Consumers looking for a new vehicle might find the firm’s analyses helpful while shopping and car buying. Also, the J.D. Power Verified Fair Price is a reliable indicator that helps buyers know they’re not overpaying for their desired car, truck, or SUV.

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