Nissan Motor Co. is set to overhaul its quality control system amid lower than expected showing in the recent U.S. based 2011 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Survey.

With the Japanese giant finishing 25th in the dependability survey for a second year in a row (below industry average but still ahead of other big name brands such as Mitsubishi and Volkswagen), Kazumasa Katoh, senior Nissan vice president in charge of global quality, is set to unveil the company’s latest quality-focused business plan in November.

According to a recent interview with Automotive News, Katoh said the initiative was partially fuelled by Nissan’s worse than expected performance in the J.D. Power survey.

In 2010 Nissan came 12th in the quality survey (now 24th) and managed an above average place of 18th for dependability in 2008 (now 25th).

The company is expected to focus on two areas for improvement: perceived quality and soft quality. The first relates to customer perception of quality more than anything else, which in this case is most likely in regards to touch and feel. The second is attention to fit and finish and improved internal controls (air conditioning, audio/visual).

It’s fair to point out that some of these so called quality issues are not actually issues so to speak, they are likely to be annoying implementation of features. For example, customers in the U.S. have complained that Nissan’s climate control system is too complicated, requiring far too many buttons to get things started.

Additional complaints in regards to its satellite navigation and entertainment systems is also playing against Nissan as the company believes more of its customers are likely to pick high-tech options than those buying competitor cars.

For example, a Nissan Maxima with a high-end satellite navigation system may get more complaints when compared to a Toyota Camry with no sat-nav simply because of user frustration at understanding how the system works. The additional complaints per car may, in this example, have little to do with the overall quality of the car itself.

The company plans to be in the top three non-premium brands (in North America) for dependability and  quality by 2016.

  • kazuo

    JSM Nissan got really high quality finish compared the exported one. the one we get in Aus are lower quality, but really reliable.

  • maximark

    How about the CVT transmission’s failure? My Xtrail has 2 CVT gearboxes preplaced and still have the same problem. Lots of other Xtrail CVT owners also have problem with their CVT trans as well. My first and last Nissan ever.

    • kazuo

      really?they should issue a recall on that, must b some engineering fault, same happen to my parents euro trash

      • Alex

        You get what you pay for.

  • Wayne Kerr

    Just goes to show that even the Japanese are not immune to complacency.

    • Aqc

      The reason for this is because the majority of Nissan’s are made outside of Japan.. Notice how Infinity the luxury badge of Nissan is only Made In Japan and as a result has above average quality in the J.d.. Way above Nissan..

      • maximark

        My Xtrail was made in Japan, all Xtrails in Australia are imported from Japan.

  • Freddo

    Hired a tiida on a recent holiday to Tasmania. Brake shudder and a creaking dash with under 10,000klm is pathetic.

  • Mark

    Why buy a CVT in the first place mind you when I was buy my V35 sedan I got told to avoid the GT8.

    I am on my 3rd Nissan and I have never had a problem with them. My V35 is a pearl of a car.

    The Americans are need to stop complaining and grow up.

  • Westie

    I’m guessing no more Spanish built Navaras?

  • Your not taking the Kingswood

    I can assure you the Yanks are telling the truth. Anyone who thinks current Nissans are fine, reliable and great cars are totally kidding themselves, especially the lower end cars. Nissans decline began when the company announced it would offshore some manufacturing, but more importantly source components outside the usual high quality brands, like Hitachi, Denso etc and use Weng Fung and the like, Nissans Mr Gosn quite bluntly said Nissan will be able to cut costs by using cheaper components from China, Taiwan and Thailand, what this has brought, is Nissans with faulty transmissions and plenty have been stranded on the side of the road due to a failed widget here and there, which will destoy your cvt. Its a good sign Nissan is looking at is quality finally, they have really dropped well below Mitsubishi and Hyundai. Give them two years or so and they might be worth a look again, but not yet a while.