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Why Your New Car Might Smell Worse Than Grandma’s

theguru Views  

Global car manufacturers are facing a persistent odor problem. Customers complain about unpleasant smells inside vehicles, yet the exact cause remains unknown. Odors are now recognized as one of the four key factors determining a new car’s quality. There is an increasing demand for rapid identification and resolution of this issue.

According to the 2024 Initial Quality Study released by U.S. market research company J.D. Power on the 1st, there have been a growing number of reports regarding odor problems in all car brands except for Kia and Nissan since last year. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning are the primary culprits. Some car brands, such as Audi, have even set up dedicated teams to detect and solve interior odor problems, actively responding to the issue.

An industry insider highlighted the urgency of addressing the car odor issue, noting its potential to impact a brand’s reputation significantly. They pointed out that brands like Hyundai and Jeep have been grappling with this problem for some time. Also mentioned is that, unlike other functional issues, pinpointing the root cause of the odor is challenging, which can lead to increased consumer dissatisfaction.

The J.D. Power Initial Quality Study began in 1987 and is now in its 38th year. It compiles quality complaint cases experienced by customers within three months of purchasing a vehicle and represents the number of complaints per 100 units as a score. A lower score signifies higher quality satisfaction. This year’s study was based on a survey of 227 items conducted among 99,144 customers who purchased new cars in the U.S. from April last year to February this year, covering 31 brands, including 17 general brands and 14 luxury brands.

For the first time, this study incorporated customer repair visit data. From July last year to May this year, on-site surveys were conducted by integrating brand-specific vehicle repair data and existing J.D. Power Voice of the Customer (VOC) data. False warnings, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay connectivity, and control function issues were highlighted as notable issues in this year’s J.D. Power IQS, along with interior odor.

J.D. Power mentioned that their Initial Quality Study (IQS) encompasses repair data for components such as infotainment systems, displays, powertrains, and seats. They explained that car brands can quickly identify potential problems through the survey results.

theguru
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