Are Chinese EVs, PHEVs well-built? BYD, Zeekr star in quality study

Posted on July 9, 2024Comments Off on Are Chinese EVs, PHEVs well-built? BYD, Zeekr star in quality study

J.D. Power has put the magnifying glass on Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) to see which are the most trouble-free.

The 2024 China New Vehicle Energy Initial Quality Study SM is based on responses from 9791 vehicle owners across 81 Chinese cities who purchased their cars between July 2023 and January 2024.

Owners who had had their vehicles for between two and six months were asked about defects and malfunctions, but also design-related problems. These were across everything from the infotainment system to the powertrain.

While 105 vehicles were included from 48 different brands, only 74 models had sufficient sample sizes. That also meant only vehicles built in China ended up featuring.

The study found an overall average quality rating of 210 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), up 37 PP100 from last year – driven by an increase in the number of design-related problems (up 35 PP100).

Vehicles manufactured by domestic startups had the fewest quality problems (201 PP100, up 31 PP100), while international brands had the most (218 PP100, up 54 PP100).

Complaints about infotainment systems were up 6.9 PP100, with owners grumbling about unresponsive touchscreens and inaccurate voice recognition.

Driver assist system-related complaints were up 7.2 PP100, with owners complaining about issues such as loud radar alerts and poor-quality reversing cameras.

J.D. Power notes the main quality complaints, for the sixth consecutive year, are around interior smell and excessive road noise – though the number of complaints for these decreased.

“The competition in the NEV market is intensifying, with automakers constantly launching new models to capture market share,” said Elvis Yang, general manager of auto product practice at J.D. Power China. 

“This has led to significant challenges in quality management as development cycles shorten. 

“This year’s study shows that design-related problems significantly outnumber defects.

“Automakers must prioritise user experience and perceived quality during R&D and focus on thoroughly validating high-tech features to enhance the user experience.”

Many of the vehicles included in the study aren’t sold here or are sourced from other countries. 

Below, we’ve included the Chinese-built vehicles either already on sale in Australia, confirmed for launch here, or otherwise expected to land here. 

We’ve also included how they compare with the average score for their respective segments, and the highest-performing vehicles for each segment – regardless of whether they’re coming here or not.

Compact EVs

There wasn’t a large enough sample size for the MG 4 to be included.

Model Problems per 100 vehicles
Geometry A Pro 180
BYD Dolphin 205
Segment average 207

Compact EV SUVs

The BYD Atto 3 was tied with the Aion V Plus for the top spot in this segment.

Mid-sized EVs

Nio has yet to announce an Australian launch, though it has entered the European market.

Mid-sized EV SUV

While the Audi Q4 e-tron is coming to Australia, it won’t be sourced from China.

Leapmotor has also yet to confirm which vehicles it’ll bring to Australia.

Large EV

Zeekr has yet to confirm the 001 for Australia, while Xpeng hasn’t locked in the G9 yet.

MG has previously indicated it plans to bring models from fellow SAIC Motor brand IM to our market.

Model Problems per 100 vehicles
Zeekr 001 171
Segment average 184
Xpeng G9 206
IM LS6 223

Premium EV

The Zeekr 009 is due in Australia this year, while the BMW iX3 is already on sale. It’s BMW’s only Chinese-sourced vehicle in Australia.

Model Problems per 100 vehicles
Nio ES8 177
Zeekr 009 181
Segment average  199
BMW iX3 209

Mass-market PHEV SUV

Other segment winners

Segment Model PP100
Small EV Geely Panda Mini 202
Small EV SUV Geometry E 219
Premium PHEV Li L9 (EREV) 174
Mass-market PHEV  BYD Seal PHEV 191
Mass-market PHEV MPV Denza D9 PHEV 191