Problems with new cars on the rise: JD Power

Buyers of new cars and trucks reported more problems with their vehicles for the second-straight year, according to the annual J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality Study.

Overall, the initial quality survey found an average 116 problems per 100 vehicles. That's up slightly from last year when the survey found 113 problems per 100 vehicles.

Some of the biggest headaches resulted from the latest high-tech gadgetry that's become a must on today's new vehicles. But the report also suggests that the harsh weather that plagued much of the country over the last year has contributed to some of the problems, especially when it comes to engine and climate control systems.

JD Power's 'Initial Quality Study' out
JD Power's 'Initial Quality Study' out

"The main issue for many buyers continues to be with tech features not always working as expected," said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive quality at J.D. Power. "Voice recognition, Bluetooth pairing and other features are areas where new vehicle owners see problems."

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Traditional mechanical systems also gave drivers problems, particularly in those parts of the country that suffered from excessively warm or cold weather, said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power.

"Heating and ventilation systems have more work to do, engines and transmissions aren't as smooth when cold, and exterior moldings and paint all take some punishment," he said.

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The study is based on the responses of 86,000 new vehicle buyers who were surveyed after owning their vehicle for three months.

Fiat 500
Source: Fiat

Although the number of complaints about new vehicles increased, Stephens said overall quality has steadily improved. The real issue with brand new models is that they're pushing the use of technology further, which is bringing along with it some kinks.

"As automakers make these vehicles more capable to handle safety-related technology, we're seeing the industry is still in a learning curve," she said.

Porsche earns top honors again, as Fiat lags

For the second year in a row, Porsche owners said they had the fewest problems with their new vehicles.

They reported 74 problems per 100 vehicles, a decline of six from the prior year.

Jaguar, Lexus, Hyundai and Toyota rounded out the top five.

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Despite a series of recalls on its older models, three of the four General Motors brands had fewer problems reported than the industry average of 116 problems per 100 vehicles, according to the survey. Only Buick was worse than the industry average, at 120.

The three brands where owners reported the most problems were Mitsubishi, with 145 problems per vehicle, Jeep, with 146, and Fiat, which had 206 problems per 100 vehicles.

—By CNBC's Phil LeBeau. Paul A. Eisenstein also contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter@DetroitBureau or at

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