J.D. Power Assesses Interior Quality

Not that long ago, a visit to an automotive design showroom invariably had interior bucks with prominence.

Not that long ago, a visit to an automotive design showroom invariably had interior bucks with prominence. The designers from OEMs one and all said, in effect, that they’d discovered that the interior was important.

That they recognized that while exterior design would get people into cars and trucks, interiors would keep them there.

Didn’t seem like much of a revelation.

But according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Interior Quality and Satisfaction Study, interiors is perhaps more important than those designers had imagined.

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The study found that of new-vehicle owners who report no interior design problems, about half “definitely will” get another vehicle from the brand again while only 29% of those who have at least one problem will.

The rule-of-thumb benchmark for interiors has been European brands for the past few years (as in Audi), and the J.D. Power study bears this out.

Sixty-nine percent of U.S. domestic nameplate vehicle owners report interior design problems. It is 66% for Asian nameplates and just 64% for owners of European nameplate vehicles.

And it is not just about the comfort of the seats, either. Says Allan Dix, research director of automotive product quality at J.D. Power, “It’s crucial to improve on interior design issues—such as difficulty using the center console or door locks—as these are issues that can really make a difference to the overall vehicle ownership experience.”