Published on November 11th, 2016 | by Subhash Nair


National Automakers Closing Quality Gap with Non-National Brands, J.D. Power Study Finds

New-vehicle quality in Malaysia improves by 18% from 2015, the largest improvement in the 14 year history of the study, with the gap between national and non-national brands the smallest it has ever been, according to, according to the J.D. Power 2016 Malaysia Initial Quality StudySM (IQS), released today.


Overall initial quality improves to 69 PP100 in 2016 from 259 PP100 in 2003. While the initial quality score for non-national brands is still better at 54 PP100, national brands, with a score of 83 PP100, are closing the gap. The year-over-year rate at which national makes are improving outpaces that of non-national makes, at 18% vs. 16%, respectively. National makes perform particularly well in the compact car segment, in which the top three compact car models are all locally manufactured.



Initial quality improves across all eight problem categories measured in the study, with engine/ transmission registering the greatest reduction in problems. Vehicle exterior continues to be the category with the most reported problems, a trend that has continued from the beginning of the study in 2003.


Some Owners More Sensitive to Problems with Their Cars

The study finds that there are particular groups of car owners that experience a higher incidence of problems with their vehicles. For example, men report more problems than women (79 PP100 vs. 56 PP100, respectively). Additionally, owners who usually have four passengers in their vehicle report an average of 73 PP100, compared with 54 PP100 for those who drive their car alone. Owners with more than 10 years of driving experience are also more prone to report problems, compared to those with no more than 10 years of driving experience (85 PP 100 vs. 55 PP100, respectively).


Following are additional findings of the 2016 study:

  • Top Three Most Frequently Cited Problems: Consistent with the 2015 study, excessive wind noise remains the most frequently reported problem (4.6 PP100), followed by air conditioning doesn’t get cold enough and fast enough (2.7 PP100) and noisy brakes (2.5 PP100).
  • MPV/ Vans Have the Most Problems: MPV/ Van owners report the most problems, at 79 PP100, although quality in this segment has improved from 90 PP100 in 2015.
  • High Quality = High Loyalty: High initial quality is an important driver of brand loyalty, which can influence consideration and shopping for a brand. Among owners who do not experience any problems with their vehicle, 25% say they “definitely would” repurchase the make. The repurchase rate drops to 13% among owners who experience one or more problems.

Model Rankings

Among the 39 models examined in the study, two Toyota models, one Mazda and one Perodua model rank highest in their respective segments.


The Toyota Vios ranks highest in the entry midsize segment (48 PP100), and Toyota Avanza ranks highest in the MPV/ Van segment (52 PP100) for the eighth consecutive year. The Perodua Myvi ranks highest in the compact segment (73 PP100), and the Mazda CX-5 ranks highest in the SUV segment (41 PP100).


The 2016 Malaysia Initial Quality Study (IQS) is based on responses from 2,436 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle between August 2015 and June 2016. The study includes 39 passenger car, pickup and utility vehicle models of 12 brands. The study was fielded between February and August 2016.

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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