Ram tops 2021 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study as Tesla tanks again

Technology remains a bugaboo for carmakers

Ram’s trucks have climbed the mountain.

The all-truck brand took the top spot on the 2021 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study ahead of every other make currently on sale in the U.S. with a score of 128 problems per 100 vehicles.

Ram moved up from its fourth place result last year and knocked its Stellantis sister brand Dodge from first to second ahead of Lexus, Mitsubishi and Kia in the top five.

The owner survey tracks the number of problems reported in the first 90 days of ownership. Issues can range from major component failures to user dissatisfaction with the design and functionality of features like infotainment systems, which were responsible for the most complaints at 25 percent.

"Full-size pickups are complex vehicles and not easy to build with exceptional quality. So Ram’s performance is especially notable as they only have full-size pickups in the study. In fact they are the only brand to rank #1 while having full size pickups in their line-up," J.D. Power Vice President of Automotive Quality Dave Sargent told FOX Business.

Ram's lineup is currently comprised of full-size pickups and vans. (Ram)

Every premium brand aside from Lexus, Genesis and Buick scored below the industry average of 162 problems due largely to their abundance of technology. This includes Tesla which is listed third from last on the list with 231 problems, an improvement from 250 problems and a last place ranking in 2020. Tesla’s score comes with an asterisk, however, as Tesla refuses to grant J.D. Power permission to survey its owners in the 15 states where it is required.

"The primary reason is that premium vehicles in general have more technology and features, and often more complex feature than mass market vehicles," Sargent said.

"The more things that can go wrong means that more things will go wrong"


Among individual models, the Nissan Maxima had the best score of 85 problems per 100 vehicles while Hyundai Motor Group (Hyundai, Kia, Genesis) had the most segment winners with seven.