This year’s JD Power 2011 Initial Quality Survey is in and the winners have been found. Honda walked away with six category wins out of 20 categories, though they had a tie for compact car with the Insight and Civic making it seven total wins. Lexus and Mercedes-Benz also both offered strong showings walking away with three awards each. American manufacturers didn’t fare as well as Ford and Chevrolet took two each, and Chrysler, Dodge, and Cadillac each took one.
The major problem this year appears to be technology failures. Notably the hands free communications applications were problematic as “does not recognize command” (voice commands) became the second most frequently reported problem. This issue has become much more prominent lately as more cars now possess hands free communication systems. In fact in 2006, these problems didn’t even register in the IQS study. However, in the past few years these problems have risen 240% which correlates with the increase in models that possess the system which increased by 31%. Even with the huge increase in reported problems hands free communication system errors don’t occur frequently enough to surpass wind noise as the number one complaint.
The rise in the hands free communication systems can be partly attributed to the banning of hand held devices while driving in eight states along with the District of Columbia.