Before you rush to remind us that we have already posted the results of a 2012 study from J.D. Powers and Associates back in February, allow us a moment to explain.
The previous findings were for the 2012 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study that recorded problems experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of three-year-old (2009 model-year in this case) vehicles.
This latest study is called 2012 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS) and it measures vehicle quality in a period of 90 days of ownerships from new. So with that out of the way, let's see what the study found.
Once again, Lexus came in first averaging 73 PP100, followed by Jaguar and Porsche with 75 PP100 each.
Notably, Jaguar recorded the largest improvement in the study reducing problems by 39 PP100 and jumping from the 20th rank position in 2011 to second place this year. Cadillac (80 PP100) and Honda (83 PP100) complete the top five.
Of the 34 brands ranked in the 2012 IQS, J.D. Power found that while 26 have improved from 2011, five have declined including Ford, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, Mini and Subaru, while one scores the same as in 2011 and two were not included in the 2011 study.
In terms of individual models, the Porsche 911 stands out from the rest recording 44 PP100, the least problems since the study was redesigned in 2006.
Ford received three awards for the Expedition, Mustang and Taurus, while the Lexus ES 350, LS and RX all came in first in their respective segments.
Overall, initial quality for the industry improved by five problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) over 2011 to an average of 102 PP100 in 2012.
J.D. Power notes that the year-over-year gains are in most areas of initial quality, with one notable exception, the audio, entertainment, and navigation problems, which have increased by 8 percent from 2011.
"This continues a recent trend, as problems in this category have increased by 45 percent since 2006 while other categories have improved by 24 percent, on average," said the automotive analyst.
J.D. Power says that this has to do with the widespread availability of these systems in all price categories.
"Until recently, this type of sophisticated technology was found primarily on high-end models" said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates. "However, over the past few years it has rapidly found its way into the automotive mainstream. For example, in 2012, more than 80 percent of owners indicate that their new vehicle has some form of hands-free technology," he added.