New-vehicle quality in Malaysia improves by 18% from 2015, the largest improvement in the 14 year history of the study, with the gap between national and non-national brands the smallest it has ever been, according to, according to the latest study by J.D. Power 2016 Malaysia Initial Quality StudySM (IQS).

Overall initial quality improves to 69 PP100 in 2016 from 259 PP100 in 2003. While the initial quality score for non-national brands is still better at 54 PP100, national brands, with a score of 83 PP100, are closing the gap. The year-over-year rate at which national makes are improving outpaces that of non-national makes, at 18% vs. 16%, respectively. National makes perform particularly well in the compact car segment, in which the top three compact car models are all locally manufactured.

Initial quality improves across all eight problem categories measured in the study, with engine/ transmission registering the greatest reduction in problems. Vehicle exterior continues to be the category with the most reported problems, a trend that has continued from the beginning of the study in 2003.

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The study finds that there are particular groups of car owners that experience a higher incidence of problems with their vehicles. For example, men report more problems than women (79 PP100 vs. 56 PP100, respectively). Additionally, owners who usually have four passengers in their vehicle report an average of 73 PP100, compared with 54 PP100 for those who drive their car alone. Owners with more than 10 years of driving experience are also more prone to report problems, compared to those with no more than 10 years of driving experience (85 PP 100 vs. 55 PP100, respectively).

In addiiton, according to the study, the three most common problems among owners are: excessive wind noise (4.6 PP100), air conditioning doesn’t get cold enough and fast enough (2.7 PP100) and noisy brakes (2.5 PP100). Furthermore, MPV/Vans owners report the most problems, at 79 PP100, although quality in this segment has improved from 90 PP100 in 2015.

High initial quality is an important driver of brand loyalty, which can influence consideration and shopping for a brand. Among owners who do not experience any problems with their vehicle, 25% say they “definitely would” repurchase the make. The repurchase rate drops to 13% among owners who experience one or more problems.

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Among the 39 models examined in the study, two Toyota models, one Mazda and one Perodua model rank highest in their respective segments. The Toyota Vios ranks highest in the entry midsize segment (48 PP100), and Toyota Avanza ranks highest in the MPV/ Van segment (52 PP100) for the eighth consecutive year. The Perodua Myvi ranks highest in the compact segment (73 PP100), and the Mazda CX-5 ranks highest in the SUV segment (41 PP100).

Edited: J.D. Power