J.D.Power’s 2010 US Initial Quality Study does make not bedtime reading for Land Rover Executives as their cars perform worst of all surveyed cars. (see graphic) Not just worse a little worse but substantially worse than their next rival Mitsubishi. Is this a problem for Land Rover? Not necessarily as there are two types of Land Rover owner: those who buy for prestige and those who buy for performance. Those who buy for prestige and who opt for Range Rovers do not seem to care about the quality and love the Columbian Cartel chic. There is another type of owner who buys the Discovery because it is practical for shopping and the kids (these are the people who think the streets are a mini Beirut where driving a tank is your only hope of survival) and for them, the constant gearbox failures and wonky electronics will turn them off the brand for life. Bad news for new owner Tata.
A quick glance tells you something else: British car manufacturers still don’t get quality with Jaguar and Mini in the bottom five. That makes three out of five for British cars: enviable, NOT. The interesting thing to note is that these are prestige cars without an awesome reputation for design and style (except maybe for the Jaguar). They are bought for looks and possibly not for reliability. However, we have been here before with English cars… poor mechanics impacting long term sales. The Japanese built their market on reliability and service and the British lost their for the same reason.
What does the survey tell us: that owners of Land Rovers are more pissed off than other owners after 90 days! Closely followed by Mini. One reason may be that there is a perception in the market of quality which is not experienced. Bad news: early problems are predictors of long term problems with a car. Next time a Range Rover Vogue with darkened windows swooshes past you, remember, he is probably just driving to the garage!