Quality control levels in vehicle assembly are on the up, according to the latest J.D. Power survey. The industry research firm’s 2019 Malaysia Initial Quality Study revealed that Malaysian buyers are experiencing fewer problems with their new vehicles this year compared to 2018.

The reduction is largely attributed to a decline in manufacturing-related issues. According to the study, the share of manufacturing-related issues has been on the decline over the past three years, dropping to 51% this year from 74% in 2016.

The particular study measures the number of problems experienced by new-vehicle owners in the first two to six months of ownership. This year’s findings saw the industry average decreasing to 85 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) from 89 PP100 in 2018, with a lower score reflecting higher quality. It said that problems are nearly equally split between manufacturing quality (44 PP100) and design-related issues (40 PP100).

The majority of the reduction from last year was related to noise aspects, such as wind noise (-1.7 PP100); abnormal suspension noise (-1.1 PP100), seat noise (-0.9 PP100), abnormal transmission noise (-0.7 PP100); and other interior storage compartments noises (-0.3 PP100).

Nonetheless, noise-related issues still account for 36% of all manufacturing issues identified by owners this year. Excessive wind noise (5.9 PP100) and excessive road noise (2.9 PP100) continue to be the top two most-cited problems by owners.

Bluetooth smartphone pairing and connectivity issues were the third most reported problem (2.7 PP100), up from fifth last year (2.5 PP100), while infotainment system-related problems were the fourth most reported issue (2.0 PP100).

The study also revealed that new vehicle owners under 35 years old (57%) highlight more faults than those 35 years or older (91 PP100 vs 73 PP100 respectively). Specifically, they cite more problems in the areas of features/controls/displays (+4.6 PP100) as well as vehicle interior (+4.5 PP100).

Model-wise, the study found that the Honda Jazz ranks highest in the city compact segment with a score of 68 PP100, ahead of the Perodua Axia (75 PP100) – in pre-facelift form – and Perodua Myvi (86 PP100). Meanwhile, the Honda City is the least problematic offering in the entry midsize segment at 59 PP100, well ahead of the Toyota Vios (74 PP100).

In the compact SUV segment, the Perodua Aruz obtained a score of 70 PP100, finishing comfortably ahead of the Honda HR-V (85 PP100) and the Honda BR-V, which at 125 PP100 is well above the class average in issues.

As for the large SUV segment, the Honda CR-V‘s 64 PP100 score continued to put it at the top for a second year running, but it looks like there are more issues this year, given that it had a 48 PP100 score in 2018. The same too for the Mazda CX-5 (93 PP100), which had a 69 PP100 score last year. Interestingly, the Proton X70‘s score is nearly double that of the CR-V, at 126 PP100.

The results of the 2019 study is based on responses from 1,904 new vehicle owners who purchased their vehicles between July 2018 and August 2019. The study, which was fielded between March and October 2019, includes 50 passenger car, pickup and utility vehicle models of 12 brands.

This could well be the second-last (or final) edition of the IQS, since it has been announced that J.D. Power is set to leave the ASEAN market entirely – along with India, Taiwan and Australia – in 2020, shifting its focus on to China and Japan. In any case, what do you think of the findings? Share your thoughts in the comments section.