Automotive Quality Control at All Time Lows Due to Supply Chain Crisis

By Logan Wamsley

The supply chain crisis of the automotive industry have been well documented, and now over halfway through 2022, future outlooks have only become bleaker. Even more concerning, however, is not only has this translated to supply chain disruptions and extended lead times, the issues have also now appear to have had an impact on product quality.

This is the conclusion derived in research firm J.D. Power in their 2022 Initial Quality Study. According to their findings, new vehicle quality declined by 11% this year amid parts shortages, shipping delays, and global trade disruptions. Buick, Dodge, and Chevrolet of General Motors rated highest on their list, while Volvo, Chrysler, and Polestar rated the lowest. The single highest-rated premium model was the Hyundai Genesis; even among the highest-rated makes, however, saw many noticeable signs of quality deterioration that placed them below previous year models.

Overall, in fact, new-vehicle problems, according to the study, have reached an all-time high.

“I knew we’d have challenges this year due to all the supply chain issues and everything else. I didn’t think it would be our worst year ever. We’ve never seen an 11% deterioration before,” said David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power. “The worst we ever saw was 3% year over year. That’s just massive! I didn’t have an appreciation for all of the challenges that everybody was going through until we saw the data and synthesized it.”

The largest sticking point, according to J.D. Power, was the integration of mobile apps and infotainment systems, which is largely representative of the industry’s difficult sourcing quality electronic components and semiconductors.

One of the most overlooked risks of supply chain disruption is reputational risk, which is inevitably in play whenever consumers perceive a drop in product quality. To avoid this issue throughout this supply chain crisis, manufacturers in the auto industry — and all other industries, for that matter — should prioritize inventory ownership strategies that secure the optimal inventory necessary to maintain business continuity with the highest possible quality control.