Defects and malfunctions can be fixed, but design problems are forever. And auto interiors are full of them, according to a new report from J.D. Power and Associates. According to the 2011 U.S. Interior Quality and Satisfaction Study, released today, design problems account for a majority of the quality issues that new owners have with vehicle interiors. The top five most frequently reported problems: material scuffs/soils easily; cruise control difficult to use/controls in poor location; cup holders difficult to use; center console difficult to use; and door locks difficult to use/controls in poor location. I come across reviews all the time where journalists complain about the plastics in new cars. The material isn't mentioned specifically in this report -- the emphasis here is more on the design than material selection. Owners reported an average of 17.2 problems per 100 vehicles related to the vehicle interior, and 11.6 per 100 are the result of design issues, according to the report. Allan Dix, research director of automotive product quality at J.D. Power and Associates, noted that interior comfort is very important to buyers. "In fact, more than one-half of new-vehicle buyers cite interior comfort as one of the most important factors in choosing a vehicle," he said. "As a result, 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." The study is based on responses from more than 73,000 new-vehicle owners who purchased a 2011 model-year vehicle. The study was fielded between February and May 2011.
Buyers cite design problems in vehicle interiors
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