Buick Nabs Top Spot In J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, Previous Winner Ram Falls 17 Spots

The J.D Power Initial Quality Study has emerged as a very important barometer of quality in the automotive industry and has become a potent bragging point for automakers lucky enough to win first place in the study. This year’s winner is Buick who dethroned Ram for the number one spot in this year’s study.


Buick’s Win Comes Amid Increasing Problems Overall

Buick’s appearance in the top spot came as the study revealed that there was an 11 percent increase in the problems industry-wide per 100 vehicles. It’s important to note that in this study, a lower score often reflects higher vehicle quality. This increase is partially due to the massive influx of new technologies that have made their way to vehicles over the past several decades with some of these features going through their initial teething process as automakers try to iron out all the kinks.

As for Buick, its victory came as the result of impressively low scores with the brand recording the fewest issues (139) per 100 vehicles during the first 100 days of ownership. Dodge maintained its second-place finish from last year while Chevrolet and Genesis took third and fourth respectively. As for last year’s winner Ram, the brand had a noticeable fall from grace, with the truck-focused brand plummeting 17 places versus last year with owners recording 186 problems per 100 vehicles within the first 100 days of ownership. 


GM Wins Big In Awards Category

While Buick’s rise to first place certainly gave General Motors plenty to celebrate about, it was only one part of a broader streak of success for this year’s IQS. GM also scored the most model-related awards (nine) and also had the lowest PP100 among all the automotive groups surveyed. The industry is still being hobbled by chip and other material shortages but the fact that GM still managed to pull off this big of a cumulative win in the face of it all is very impressive. 

“Given the many challenges automakers and their dealers had to face in the past year, it’s somewhat surprising that initial quality didn’t fall even more dramatically,” said David Amoedo director of global automotive at J.D. Power. 

“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.”