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Auto blogWed, 12 Feb 2014 13:31:00 EST
For the first time since 1998, J.D. Power and Associates says its data shows that the average number of problems per 100 cars has increased. The finding is the result of the firm's much-touted annual Vehicle Dependability Study, which charts incidents of problems in new vehicle purchases over three years from 41,000 respondents.
Looking at first-owner cars from the 2011 model year, the study found an average of 133 problems per 100 cars (PP100, for short), up 6 percent from 126 PP100 in last year's study, which covered 2010 model-year vehicles. Disturbingly, the bulk of the increase is being attributed to engine and transmission problems, with a 6 PP100 boost.
Interestingly, JDP notes that "the decline in quality is particularly acute for vehicles with four-cylinder engines, where problem levels increase by nearly 10 PP100." Its findings also noticed that large diesel engines also tended to be more problematic than most five- and six-cylinder engines.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
On some level, it's hard to blame Honda for the strategy it took with its new-for-2012 Civic. Executives looked at the key players on the market as the model was being developed, soaked in the growing global economic malaise, and decided that if they wanted to make decent money on their small car, they'd have to find creative ways to take cost out of its build. In light of the financial crisis, consumers and critics would surely understand some belt-tightening in order to secure the company's legendary reliability, resale value and ease-of-use, right?
So Honda took a pass on expensive new technology - more complex transmissions, forced induction, active aero, and so on. And it also substituted in some cheaper interior materials, skimped on sound deadening, creature comforts and found lots of little ways to save money. Surely in a segment where the frankly ancient and moth-eaten Toyota Corolla has consistently ranked among the sales leaders, nobody would care, eh?
Not to be outdone by Lexus and its new LF-CC racecar, Honda is also bringing a little more excitement to the Japanese Super GT racing series with its NSX Concept-GT. Yes, just like the original NSX, this racecar will wear the Honda badge in its home market when it replaces the current offering in that series, the non-production HSV-010 GT, which itself replaced the NSX in the series back in 2010.
Looking exactly how we'd imagine a race-prepped 2015 Acura NSX to look, this racer is mean and sexy at the same time, and it will be powered by a racing hybrid system with a turbocharged four-cylinder mounted behind the driver. No word on power output, but it will compete in the GT500 class, which restricts power output to 500 horsepower. Unlike the Lexus racecar, the Honda NSX Concept-GT will being competing this season starting with this weekend's race at the Suzuka Circuit before running the full 10-race 2014 season. Scroll down for the short press release.