A perfect storm of circumstances led to the worst initial quality ratings in the history of study.

J.D. Power released the results of their annual Initial Quality Study, and named the Chevrolet Corvette as the Highest Initial Quality Model for 2022.

General Motors (GM) won the most model-level awards overall, with Buick and Chevrolet ranking first and third respectively among brands.

That’s the good news. The bad news—J.D. Power reported that this year saw more problems per vehicle than any other year in the study’s history. Problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) rose by 11% in 2022 as compared to 2021.

Newly introduced models fared worse than continuing model vehicles.

The U.S. Initial Quality Study is based on responses from purchasers and lessees of new 2022 model-year vehicles who were surveyed within the first 90 days of possession of the vehicle.

The study uses a 223-question survey into nine vehicle categories: infotainment; features, controls and displays; exterior; driving assistance; interior; powertrain; seats; driving experience; and climate.

The study is designed to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate the identification of problems and to drive product improvement.

So why did new vehicle quality decline?

Anyone following current events can probably guess. The disruptions caused by the pandemic—supply chain issues, record-high vehicle prices and personnel dislocations—contributed to vehicle problems.

Another reason—the introduction of more advanced technology into vehicles.

Vehicle Problem Areas

In fact, infotainment systems presented the source of most problems. Respondents reported 45 PP100, which was 19.5 PP100 more than the next highest category. Six of the top 10 problem areas were infotainment-related. Android Auto/Apple CarPlay connectivity proved to be one of the most problematic issues. Voice recognition, touchscreen/display difficulties, Bluetooth problems and lack of power sources all frustrated survey responders at higher rates than other issues.

Another tech related category, Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS) also increased, after a decrease in 2021. Lane departure warning/lane-keeping assistance proved to be the main culprit in the ADAS category.

Electric vs. Combustion, And the Winner Is…

Vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE) reported fewer problems than battery-electric (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) by a significant margin (27%).

2022 saw more traditional vehicle manufacturers introducing new EVs. Newly introduced vehicles overall ranked worse than continuing models. So inflated EV problems seems to fit the norm.

Again we also see a recurring theme, more tech means more problems.

Newer vehicle tech-based features relied heavily on electronic parts. Supply chain disruptions within the micro-chip market created a negative impact for almost every tech-related industry. Issues seen in the vehicle industry should be no surprise.

The issue reached such dire levels, that manufacturers delivered vehicles missing features, with the promise to add features after purchase.

The study included Tesla Motor for the first time. The most well-known BEV maker performed better than the rest of the BEV industry average, but not by much. Due to constraints in accessing owner information, Tesla was not considered for any overall rewards.

Premium Not So Premium

Premium luxury vehicles suffered more problems than mass market vehicles.

Again tech can be found at the root of the lower rating. Premium vehicles will more likely include advanced technology.