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New vehicle quality has declined during pandemic amid supply chain issues, study says

More drivers doing what they can to make older vehicles last longer
Posted at 5:01 PM, Sep 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-22 17:07:02-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — According to a June study by J.D. Power, overall quality of new vehicles is declining, largely because of supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic.

Andre Weliky owns the 4-95 Boca Car Wash in Boca Raton.

He told WPTV he hears complaints all the time from customers who own brand new vehicles.

Andre Weliky, owner of 4-95 Boca Car Wash, says he hears from customers complaining about quality of new vehicles
Andre Weliky, who owns the 4-95 Boca Car Wash in Boca Raton, says he hears from customers complaining about the quality of their new vehicles.

"One of the biggest complaints I hear from customers is that 'My car suddenly doesn't have the beeps,' and I said, 'What do you mean by the beeps?' 'When I'm driving and parking my car, it doesn't beep at me anymore and my last car had it and now the park distance sensors aren't there anymore,'" Weliky said. "I'm also getting complaints that it doesn't have the engine that they wanted in the car. It's not the right color, wrong color seats, the wrong kind of seats."

According to the J.D. Power 2022 Initial Quality Study, "In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, initial vehicle quality notably declined."

"Supply chain issues, record-high vehicle prices and personnel dislocations contributed to vehicle problems reaching a record high in the 36-year history of this benchmark study," the study continued.

The study went on to say, "Compared with the 2021 results, the industry experienced an 11% increase in problems per 100 vehicles."

J.D. Power 2022 Initial Quality Study quote below vehicle
A study by J.D. Power cites supply chain issues contributing to myriad issues with new vehicles.

"They might be missing items or they have replacement parts that are not up to specification or might not be OEM, as the manufacturer originally designed," Carl Gould, who runs the business firm 7 Stage Advisors, said.

Gould told WPTV that it's an inconvenience that most manufacturers are tirelessly trying to improve.

"I think as manufacturers diversify their supply chain, and where they're sourcing materials, that's going to start to work its way out," Gould said.

WPTV also spoke with Ron Katz, who owns a Midas auto shop in West Palm Beach. He said this has contributed to a big shift in the types of cars his crew works on.

"We used to see a lot of new vehicles coming in, just doing their basic oil changes," Katz said. "Now, we're seeing more used vehicles coming in now that are five, six, seven, eight years old."

Katz said that is partially due to skyrocketing vehicle prices, on top of the issues pointed out in the J.D. Power study, leaving many drivers wanting to make older cars last a lot longer.

"They're now putting a lot more preventative maintenance into their cars," Katz said. "Now they're doing suspension work. They're doing the brakes. They're doing full tune-ups on the vehicle."

Ron Katz, owner of Midas auto shop in West Palm Beach, talks to WPTV's Jessica Bruno about preventative maintenance being done to older vehicles
Ron Katz, who owns a Midas auto shop in West Palm Beach, talks to WPTV Contact 5 consumer reporter Jessica Bruno about all the "preventative maintenance" being done to older vehicles now.

The study does highlight General Motors, which is still receiving high approval scores for some of their new vehicles, like certain Buick, Dodge and Chevrolet models.

"I would be asking the questions, are all of the materials and all of the parts OEM, you know, are they original to the manufacturer specifications, or were replacement parts used in the manufacturing of this car?" Gould said. "And if so, are they under the full warranty that the manufacturer typically uses?"

Last year, the American Automotive Policy Council and the Equipment Manufacturers Association sent a letter to Congress, urging them to support initiatives to strengthen and secure the domestic supply chain to help the nation's post-pandemic recovery.