A new study out of the US has concluded that two thirds of all “problems” with new cars are design related, rather than mechanical.
The J.D. Power 2013 Initial Quality Study (IQS) found that new cars are much more reliable than they once were, but owners are still experiencing problems in the first 90 days of ownership.
The trouble for dealers is that most of these “problems” are complaints from owners troubled by modern technology – such as touch screens, voice recognition and automated parking systems – that they find confusing or difficult to operate.
“Carmakers are investing billions of dollars into designing and building vehicles and adding technologies that consumers desire and demand, but the risk is that the vehicle design, or the technology within the vehicle, in some cases may not meet customer needs," J.D. Power’s David Sargent said.
"The successful companies will be those carmakers that find a way to give customers the technology they want while at the same time making it sufficiently intuitive so all customers find it easy to use."
The study found that only nine percent of design-related problems are reported to a dealer within the first 90 days of ownership and of these, only 13 percent are able to be “fixed”.
Mr Sargent said that because many people view car-ownership as a long-term commitment, they are more likely to report issues to their dealers.
"The majority of owners don't experience problems, but those who do are frustrated," said Sargent.
"That's understandable, especially when owners often keep their new vehicle for five years or more. In contrast, when consumers have a problem with their smartphone, they are likely to replace the phone much sooner."