By on March 18, 2010

I conduct a car reliability survey at TrueDelta.com. Since we promptly update our results four times a year, we can report on new models ahead of anyone else. Last year, we announced that the 2009 Jaguar XF was faring poorly. This provoked a blistering backlash from owners at a particular Jaguar forum. In the end, threads on reliability were deleted and future ones all but banned in the interest of preserving what remained of the UK auto industry.

The outraged owners argued that TrueDelta’s results could not be correct, since Jaguar had just been declared the most dependable make by J.D. Power. I pointed out that the VDS covers the third year of ownership, 2006 in that case, and that Jaguar had discontinued, redesigned, or replaced every model in its line save the XJ in the interim. So the results did not apply to the XF, or the current XK for that matter.

Well, J.D. Power has now released the 2010 Vehicle Dependability Survey (VDS), which covers 2007s in their third year of ownership, and, as predicted, the redesigned XK has, all by its lonesome, sunk Jaguar’s ranking from 1st to 23rd. And it’ll only get uglier once the XF is reflected in these stats in another two years.

#1 this year: Porsche. Many people will wonder how Porsche fared so well. One likely factor: Porsches are often weekend cars that aren’t driven much. J.D. Power might consider doing what TrueDelta does, and post average odometer readings. A larger factor: THERE WAS NO 2007 CAYENNE—Porsche skipped straight from 2006 to 2008. The Cayenne is likely more troublesome than the sports cars, and is certainly driven more. So don’t expect a top VDS score for Porsche next year, when the Cayenne is again part of the mix.

“Long term” for J.D. Power continues to mean “the third year of ownership.” It used to mean the fifth year, but manufacturers have little use for fifth-year data, and this survey primarily exists to serve manufacturers willing to pay large sums for detailed results.

Many car buyers, though, are much more interested in how cars fare after the 3/36 warranty ends. J.D. Power has no information for them, hoping that car buyers will accept third-year problem frequencies as a sufficient indicator of how a car will perform over the long haul. Unfortunately, in many cases it is not. TrueDelta’s data suggest that all too often cars take a turn for the worse either soon after the warranty ends or after 100,000 miles.

As usual, the public gets brand-level scores rather than model-level scores from J.D. Power. Brand-level scores are of limited use for a car buyer, and can actually misinform as much as they inform. After all, people don’t buy the entire line. They buy a particular model. And the scores of models can vary widely within a brand.

Much is made of which brands did better this year (Porsche, Lincoln), and which did worse (Jaguar). Well, as noted above, the brand averages can be heavily influenced by the introduction of a single new design or the absence of a single old design.

For these and other reasons a focus on model-level scores would be much more valid and useful.

Also worth noting: as in the past most makes are tightly bunched around the average, 155 problems per 100 cars this year. Consumer Reports considers any score within 20 percent of the average in its own survey to be “about average.” Applying this metric to J.D. Power’s results, 21 of the 36 brands are “about average.”

J.D. Power notes that for Cadillac, Ford, Hyundai, Lincoln, and Mercury perceptions of reliability lag reality. No surprise, since (as I’ve found all too often) people often judge (and more often than not reject) data based on how these data fit their perceptions rather than judging their perceptions based on how they fit the data.

J.D. Power’s explicit solution: convince consumers of gains in reliability. The implicit solution: pay to include VDS results in your ads. But are perceptions based on the VDS any more likely to be correct? Or, as seen in the Porsche and Jaguar cases, are they just as often part of the problem?

Michael Karesh owns and operates TrueDelta, an online source of vehicle pricing and reliability data

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59 Comments on “The Truth About JD Power’s 2010 Vehicle Dependability Survey...”


  • avatar
    twotone

    Porsche owners don’t need high reliability as you pointed out they have other cars in the stable. Jaguar, Range Rover, BMW, MB and Audi appeal more to the one-car owner.

    I’ve always wondered how JD, Consumer Reports, Truedelta and others collected their underlying data. Is it from dealer repair departments, owner surveys, etc.? Are independent specialist repair shops included as well? Are true “problems” separated from operator error or consumer dissatisfaction (not a car fault)?

    Thanks!

    Twotone

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      TrueDelta gets its information from volunteers; you can go to http://www.truedelta.com to join and start contributing information. Mr. Karesh emails out every so often and asks you to check in the odometer and also to put in any trips to the shop for non-maintenance work, including a description and total out-of-pocket cost.

      I’ve been participating for a while, and I really appreciate the information from other owners and drivers. You have to reach a critical mass on your particular model for it to get into the quarterly round-up. For example, if you have a 2006 Pontiac G6 GT Coupe with the 3.9, you might be in, whereas if you have a 2006 Chevy Malibu V6 Sedan, you might be out of the broader statistical analysis because there just aren’t enough data points.

      So he has what I think is a nice mix of distance traveled vs. costs incurred, specificity on model, relevance on data points, and you can drill down and see what the real complaints were. (I.e, you can judge if having to replace your brake pads is really a failing of the auto at 25,000 miles, or if maybe that guy just can’t drive…)

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      My Porsche is my only car. And yes… I’m going to look silly driving home from Home Depot with a new hot water heater strapped to the roof rack.

      I have a 2008 Cayman S and, compared to other cars, there seems to be less to break because the car isn’t loaded with a zillion electronic gadgets. That said, the owners I know seem to be more demanding of the driving-related features than a typical car owner.

      • 0 avatar

        I totally disagree. I am an outboard mechanic . The vast majority of engine problems/failure comes from LACK of use rather than using too much. This is Mechanic class 101 BTW. The problem is rather simple and 2 fold if i may:
        1. Gas goes bad in a month these days. Ethanol makes the fuel break down far faster than the older, non-ethanol fuels. Water then settles at the bottom of the tank and can cause a lean condition. Fuel can also cause detonation problems if it is bad.
        2. An engine that is used for only 5k miles a year has been sitting (most likely) far longer than a camry has at 12k miles. This leads to lack of lubrication in hoses, cylinder walls at startup and lots of other problems.
        There are lots more reasons why a car that has been sitting is not going to be as reliable as one that gets used everyday. People often think Ferraris are not reliable. Are you kidding me? They sit around all year, are expected to perform flawlessly when driven hard, and people wonder why they break down when they are not even winterized properly!Also , a Porsche is a superb machine to even be considered as reliable in any way under such conditions. Ill bet even a honda civic would be called a lemon should it be allowed to sit all year.

    • 0 avatar

      I was wondering about the self-selection bias for TrueDelta for a while. Perhaps in case of disasters such as the XF Jag, it does not matter much if gripers are overrepresented. Or is it? TrueDelta is just small in absolute terms. My Lexus IS still has no representation due to low enrollment, while the same car is very common on the road. So I’m surprised that Michael managed to get stats for Jag when it’s obvious that there are more entry-level Lexii around at the street (unless all Jags are in garages, broken down, ha ha ha). The explanation is perhaps that disgruntled owners of Jags flocked to TrueDelta to vent their impotent rage after being banned… and that bias overpowered the magnitude of overall membership. But if so, all numbers at TrueDelta are suspect — with all due respect, of course.

    • 0 avatar

      Pete,

      Have you ever actually taken a close look at how the survey is conducted? If so, I think your concerns would go away.

      Neither the XF or the IS sells in much volume. For low volume cars like these, we rely on forums to get the word out. None of the active Lexus forums have been willing to let me post about the survey, so Lexus owners are under-represented in the survey. Even so, we do partially cover a few years of the IS, though perhaps not your year.

      The survey collects data going forward from the month someone joins, so people seeking to complain about past problems have no significant impact. In the case of the XF, many people joined while still waiting to take delivery of the car.

      In a typical month only about ten percent of participants report any sort of repair trip. For some models the percentage is under five percent. This is not at all consistent with the frequently offered “self-selection of people with something to complain about” hypothesis.

      Also note that every other reliability survey has confirmed our initial stat on the XF.

  • avatar
    JeremyR

    Modern Porsches are, perhaps surprisingly, rather reliable. Unfortunately, when things do break, they tend to do so in a big way (slipped sleeves, “D-chunk” failure and intermediate shaft bearing failure are issues with the M96 engines that are just common enough to make us nervous).

    Are there enough owners of 2009+ models to give TrueDelta an indication of the reliability of the new 9A1 motor?

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

  • avatar
    jmo

    Porsches are often weekend cars that aren’t driven much. J.D. Power might consider doing what TrueDelta does, and post average odometer readings.

    What’s the average 911 or Boxter reading vs. the average Camry?

  • avatar

    I have never trusted JD Power and I don’t pay them any attention at all anymore.

  • avatar
    segfault

    I think it’s petty and picayune that the owners of the Jag forum banned reliability as a topic of discussion. I thought that the purpose of brand-specific forums was to exchange information about that brand’s vehicles.

  • avatar
    william442

    Michael: I am not sure of the relevance of all of this. My 1965 Corvette was a disaster, but I still miss it.

  • avatar
    jmo

    About 5k/year for the Boxster and Cayman. The average for all cars is about 12k/year.

    Interesting question then – how much does reliablity have to do with age and how much has to do with milage?

    • 0 avatar

      I aim to find out. But need more car owners involved to get together enough data.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Good question. Short trip, high cycle cars would have to begin to fare worse after the first 5 or six years. Too bad there isn’t much out there for us high mileage folks where things just begin to get fun after 6 or 10 years…

    • 0 avatar
      Robstar

      I agree with this. My STi is 5 years old come this november and is at 33,000 miles. I doubt I’ll pass 38k unless I do a roadtrip. Total mileage from end of november to today was 1600′ish and change…

      Outside of a valve spring replacement in the engine (at 10k, under warranty), I haven’t had a single issue outside of the alarm chirper when the car was locked/unlocked (happened way before I joined TD) which I don’t care about anyway as I could barely hear it (I wear hearing aides).

      So is my reliability due to only averaging 6k miles/year or is it because it’s a Subaru?

      And no — I don’t beat the crap out of my car either (no clutch dumps).

  • avatar
    65corvair

    Just when I had my wife convinced that I should buy a car the from the company who ranks number one on the J.D. Powers survey! Now she’ll see this. Thanks a lot!

  • avatar
    thalter

    Thanks for blowing the lid on this. JD Power rankings are heavily marketed and influential, despite that a) the results are paid for by the manufacturers and b) the methodologies are suspect and are rarely disclosed in ads.

  • avatar
    chicagoboy

    ttac never had a problem with JD powers data when it matched their perceptions ie Toyota is the best and american cars made by unionised workers had to be crap because Glenn beck said so

    • 0 avatar
      Bancho

      Which site are you reading? This site has pounded on Toyota plenty and I don’t recall the JD Power awards getting a ton of respect either. Are you assuming that just because of the GM deathwatch series that TTAC has been in Toyota’s pocket all along?

      I’ve only been following this site for about 3 years so maybe I’ve missed something.

    • 0 avatar
      thalter

      I would agree. This site has been laying heat on JD Powers for years – almost as long as it has been for GM.

    • 0 avatar

      While both the current and former editor of TTAC have, to my reading, a libertarian tilt, I don’t think there’s any reason to accuse them of jingoism or, for the matter, being Glenn Beck fans. Of course, any excuse is good enough for left wingers to make up reality as it suits them. After all, deeming something to be the case is now considered to be the same as actually doing it.

      It’s really sad how some people substitute “It’s Bush’s fault” and “Faux News” for actual thought.

    • 0 avatar
      thirty-three

      Maybe you need to get your sarcasm detector adjusted. Any praise given to JD Powers/Glenn Beck/Fox News/etc by TTAC is usually in jest.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s important to realize that the editors don’t tell TTAC contributors what to write. There is no “TTAC position.” Only a very selective reading will come to the conclusion that everyone who writes for TTAC has the same opinions and positions. RF was more than happy to post pieces of mine that he did not personally agree with.

  • avatar
    crash sled

    I think J.D. Power has always been about first quality, and longer term durability and reliability isn’t their direct thing, although first quality might reflect upon what you can expect in that regard.

    First quality is important of course, but even a poor showing here isn’t a huge issue, if the OEMs’ dealers take you in and resolve warranty issues promptly. I don’t mind the odd trip into the dealer, if the experience is pleasant. I’ve bundled up 3-4 issues on a new car, and gotten them all fixed up at the same time. J.D. Power would probably call that a disaster, but if my issues are resolved painlessly, I call it a nice sitdown in the waiting room, some coffee, a look around the new models and stickers, a handshake with my salesman and a not unwelcome break in my day.

    Unfortunately, many OEMs are seemingly incapable of providing such a dealership/warranty experience. Further, the OEMs are only a generation removed from selling vehicles with only a 12/12 warranty (meaning a 12 months or 12,000 mile warranty, for you kids too young to remember, and you had to fight them even on that sometimes). That is to say, those makers didn’t have confidence in their quality for anything beyond the initial drive-off, let alone for longer term durability and reliability.

    Most OEMs finally seem to have satisfied the J.D. Power metric, which is a nice first step, and now we can move on to longer term metrics, perhaps like True Delta.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    Michael you make some great points, but the bigger story is the shrinking distance between the worst makes and the best. Every year the Power survey shows improvement in this regard. This year there was a difference of only 1.45 problems between the best and worst makes. In 2006 (for 2003 vehicles) it was 2.58 problems. As I recall the gulf was even greater when this survey first came out in the early 1990s. For the most part, all cars now have very good quality. This is very real in my experience: the late model Jeep I now own with 70K miles has proven more reliable and durable than either of the 1990s Hondas I previously owned.

  • avatar
    davey49

    Consumer Reports has a full black mark for the 2009 XF as well

    • 0 avatar

      The critical difference: we had an initial result for the XF in August 2008. CR didn’t have one until October 2009–fourteen months later. JD Power had their first in June 2009.

      So, how long do you want to wait before learning how a new model is faring?

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Mr. Karesh, I will wait as long as it takes.

      Let’s no go off topic. “Dependability” or, in CR’s term, “reliability” is what we are discussing here. The term implied long term use.

      You may want to call your study a “reliability” study. But actually no. It’s just an initial satisfaction study.

      BTW, J.D.Power’s study is a total joke.

      A modern car are typically operational between 10~15 year. Dependability means dependable in the 1st year, 2nd year, … 10th year. Since most warranties covers 3~4 years. I would say, for practical purposes, dependability = dependable from year 4 to year 10.

      The best source probably would be look at 10 year old models. Is a 2000 Camry dependable? Is a 2000 Passat dependable? You get the idea. Of course, some models got improved and some got worse. However, for most mass market models, it’s pretty consistent, i.e. Camry/Accord/Passat, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      WSN: A key factor in older cars, especially as they reach 8, 10 or more years, is how they are driven, and maintained. CR is a total failure in that regard. I have driven plenty of “used cars to avoid” for many years on the long side of the odometer with few problems, and so have many other people I know. CR used to mention that how a car is maintained becomes more important than new reliability but just as a footnote kind of thing. They want you to focus on their dots. I have to add that to me, “reliability” and “dependability” are related but not interchangeable. A new car that never breaks or needs repairs for four years is reliable like your typical Accord, say. Dependable is a car that after 15 years you still don’t hesitate to take on a 400 mile ski trip. It may have a broken this/that or have an occasion need for repair, but it is trustworthy steed.

      What I have noticed is that consistency among various models is hard to predict. As the car ages, so many more variables come into play that it is tough to make a blanket statement like “a Corolla is the best high mileage car”… It might be, but the Corolla you just bought was abused and neglected for 8 years…how can you tell? Perhaps I am lucky because my source of used cars is often from family/relatives so I know the history before I buy it.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Hmm, Audi won the premium midsize segment with the A6. Nice work. Looks like the Q7 did some serious damage overall though. I’m surprised to see Mercedes do so well.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    JD Power press release = useless
    JD Power full data set that manufacturers get = pretty incredible

    I checked out the earlier version of the vehicle I have on order. Happily, it has pretty much the most reliable engine and transmission of all the 200+ models, so I feel pretty good about getting a good reliable vehicle.

    I think I’ve sorted out how GM was planning on getting Chevy to be a “reliable” brand. They bring new models out as GMC, Saturn, Pontiac, and Buick first and then the next model year, they bring out the Chevy version. Gives them an extra year to work out the “1st year bugs” to essentially give Chevy a 2nd year model as a 1st year. For example, the G6 and Acadia both had 200+ PPHs. I bet the Traverse and Malibu will be significantly better than that because they came to Chevy as 2008 models.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      That’s not a big deal really. Many foreign cars have been sold a year or two in their homeland first…

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      I didn’t say anything about foreign or domestic. Ford releases their triplets at the same time, generally. “High” volume Chryslers are usually at the same time too. Foreign “niche” models, like the xB and such, sure. Sonata, Accord, Camry (the models that carry the weight in JD Power) are typically same model year release.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Uh, I think you missed the point. You had implied that a given manufacturer had a “plan” on how to make its bread and butter line launch with better reliability ratings by delaying introduction to the market. I simply pointed out that others do the same thing, only instead of holding back a corporate “twin,” they simply wait a year to sell in a given country. The intent of the action is the same: Make sure the first year bugs are reduced. No attempt was made here to devolve into the tired US/foreign thing…

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      My point was that, no, most automaker’s high volume cars are not released a year later. Please cite specific examples of 2005+ models (Corolla, Camry, Accord, Civic, Sonata, Altima, etc.) that were released a year later in the US than their home country. I can’t think of any that get a significant pre-release in another country before the US. That is why the fact that the Traverse and Malibu has struck me as so strange. Similarly, GM has done quite a lot of overlap in the past: Silverado classic, cavi & cobalt, malibu classic. Just a strange way of doing business that is probably due to the fact they have/had a glut of factories.

      GM did not do this w/ the Equinox, though. It was an across the board, simultaneous release.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      First one that comes to my mind:
      Ford Fiesta

  • avatar
    JSF22

    Michael’s analysis certainly makes sense, as does his not-so-thinly veiled swipe at the ethical standards of J.D. Power. I do not think they can be bought. However, I do think Power devises enough studies, and changes them often enough, that everyone gets a turn at the top. Power then hopes they will pay the exorbitant price Power charges for advertising rights. The corollary is that everyone ends up near the bottom of something or other, and Power will gladly sell them its consulting services.

    Actually, I interpreted the VDS more simplistically. Lexus is in the top five because its cars are perfect. Buick, Lincoln, and Mercury because their owners are not critical. Porsche seemed like a different story. Its owners are critical, and cars driven less often are more likely to have many types of problems. Porsche’s result actually impressed me.

    • 0 avatar

      Where do I call their ethical standards into question? I do not intend to do this, unless reporting incomplete information such that people are likely to misinterpret it counts as an ethical issue.

    • 0 avatar
      JSF22

      Hello, Michael. Actually I do think reporting incomplete information in a way likely to be misinterpreted is very much an ethical issue. But I was referring most specifically to this statement: “J.D. Power’s explicit solution: convince consumers of gains in reliability. The implicit solution: pay to include VDS results in your ads.” I think you are dead on and I think this is exactly what J.D. Power is up to.

      I think David Power himself was highly honorable. He had a useful idea and a good marketing sense. His successors and shareholders saw only a money machine. I once had dinner with Power and found him honest and interesting. I will always remember asking him what he drove, and his answer: “I drive an Impala SS. [This was in 1996.] I like that it goes like stink, and it does so badly in all my surveys that nobody could possibly think I had been bought.”

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    I always kind of assumed that JD Power was the equivalent of those Who’s Who things you pay sixty bucks to be in. Everybody seems to have some kind of JD Power award or another, like with kindergarten ‘track and field’ days.

  • avatar
    tbp0701

    Thanks for this analysis and explanation. I’ve thought that there is something amiss with JD Power’s ratings, as its data often seems to run counter to my experience. But I have only bought one car new; the rest were all bought used. All of them were kept well past 100K miles (the one I bought new went to 250K).

  • avatar
    LeaperNYC

    Bravo Michael. You’ve earned some legitimate bragging rights here for TrueDelta – a great site and public utility that I enjoy participating in.

    As a Jaguar XF owner and frequent visitor of the XF Forum you mention, your contributions to that community were indeed valuable. I was dismayed by the admin’s actions to bar your posts. But in the end, any online forum belongs to its admin; occasional undemocratic behavior should surprise no one.

    As I reflect on it, what interests me more than build quality per se is longevity. The two are only somewhat related.

    While it’s annoying to have things not work as designed, a visit to an obliging dealer who promptly fixes them can be a fine remedy. Cars without such issues (Hondas and yes, Toyotas) tend to be well into their model cycles, extremely common on the road, and in addition, intrinsically boring.

    Some great automobiles just last forever. Land Rovers for instance – invincible SUVs, 90% of all LRs ever built are still on the road. Or more accurately, I should say they are “still in service” – since many were pressed into service in places where they’ve never met a “road” to begin with!! Subarus, Jeeps and even Chevy trucks belong here. Ask their owners if they care about that ashtray or tailpipe that fell off.

    Other amazing cars endure because of the TLC they get. Think of those brittle and precious exotics, Rolls Royces and Ferraris that seem to last decades past their expiration dates. The Jaguar is an everyday exotic btw, easily as stylish and as rewarding to drive as cars costing double as much, while actually selling for sub Benz/BMW prices. (Anglophile Tata knows a bargain luxury item when they see one.) Certainly I plan to enjoy – and to pamper – my flawless XF for decades to come.

    Sadly my shortest lived cars have been Hondas. I’m replacing the 04 Accord V6 with a Subaru, guess I’ll have to get used to those “low quality” (hard, mismatched and poorly fitting I’m told) dash plastics.. but I’m betting the Subie’s stout hardware makes it a keeper.

    • 0 avatar

      The forum owners behavior was downright irrational. I explained to him at the time that the best chance of improving Jaguar’s scores was to get more recent purchasers into the survey. He kept erecting roadblocks anyway.

      Time has proven me right. In our latest results the 2009 XF has improved so much that it’s now not too far below the average, and the 2010 is a bit better still. But, because of the actions of the forum owner, we don’t have enough participants for the 2010, so that better stat is not visible to the general public on the site.

      I warned him that his actions would have opposite their intended results, and he pursued them anyway.

      The bit near the end was the funniest. He held a third-world style vote–should people still be allowed to post threads on reliability? When the vote didn’t go his way, he shut it down, and disallowed the threads anyway.

  • avatar
    holydonut

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to compare the 2009MY findings of TrueDelta to the IQS study that JD Power runs? We know the VDS is a 3 year look back to the past, but the IQS is split between perceived flaws and actual flaws of the most recent model year.

    It seems almost like a red herring to compare the findings of the VDS to the 2009 MY Jaguars. Maybe there is a “knowledge” issue where the general public cannot discern the difference between IQS and VDS. But I don’t think JD Powers has necessarily sought to trick people about their VDS findings full knowing that VDS measures vehicles that are 3 years old.

    The tough part is getting the breakout of IQS to find what were defects versus what were design flaws. Yes, you have to pay for that level of fidelity – which begs the question why the general public cares at all about IQS or VDS. But the data remains useful to compare model year to model year and vehicle component to vehicle component.

    The TrueDelta results are much more relevant to an end consumer while being mostly trivial for executing design or engineering changes.

  • avatar
    Gottleib

    Owner surveys are the only data the public gets, which is unfortunate because the data that would really present the “truth” is the warranty claim data of the manufacturers. The survey data that is available to the public is really only useful for assessing perceptions. Perceptions are useful for marketing and influencing potential purchasers but doesn’t necessarily provide the “truth.”
    In my years of purchasing cars, and I have purchased and owned more than 20, I was influenced by ownership survey data once, when I purchased a new Honda. I never really enjoyed that car as much as some others which were never rated as high in customer surveys.
    I would like to hear from the Porsche owner that was influenced to purchase a Porsche because of the JD Power or other survey data.

  • avatar
    mtypex

    This thread has inspired me to consider starting a new car forum, which I will operate as a Third-World dictatorship and pay JD Power for a “best run web forum” award.

    Too bad about those European car hiccups. Maybe I’ll start my own third-world automaker too. Do you think JD Power will help, or are in the pay of first-world automakers who still can’t figure it out?

  • avatar

    I think expectations are the big one. I know some Germans were in prior surveys lambasted for things like brake dust on the wheels (?) (!).

    I always thought they were in the business of making nice trophys for car makers, who would then put them all over ads, much like they wish they could do with Consumer Reports.

    Whatever the B and B here may opine, the fact is that many of the general population finds these awards credible and buy their cars by the CR check ratings or JD Power, no matter what.

    I think you either get a “good one” or a “lemon”. Given the fact a car has thousands of parts, and a 1% error rate is possible, if that error is a paint error, or misaligned headlights, no big deal. If that error lives in your computer, or is a bad sensor, trouble.

    The only real information, that you can use and rely upon, is to read the forums of owners of your particular car. If you have an enthusiast marque, or drive an enthusiast car for a non enthusiast marque, you’ll have a wealth of information and fixes other than the dealer “buy a whole new a$$embly” answer. I know a few older BMW’s blow diodes and transistors in certain assemblies, and there is the “send out for a new one” for four figures, or “send to this guy in Ohio” who will replace the diode for a way more reasonable $150.

    If you drive cars that are not enthusiast, you don’t get this information, and then maybe CR and JD are important.

    I never buy anything that does not have an “aftermarket” to supply it, or forums to discuss it. A good car forum on your model will explain that rattle or why the x light blinks when it shouldn’t. This is information that until the net, only lived in the manufacturers’ engineering department (and warranty department).

    Look at all the Prius that sold “because it’s a Toyota”, never mind the slagging Toyota is taking now in the press.

  • avatar
    salhany

    Is it me, Michael, or are there no 2008 results for the XF up on the site? The quote for the 2009 results say “much improved from last year,” but the 2008 results don’t show up.

    Man, reading the repair histories from individual owners of the XF is very, very sobering. Sounds like it’s a fine car that’s terribly assembled. Some of those faults aren’t acceptable in an Aveo fer crissakes. Maybe I’ll stick to my goal of buying a used ’07 or so XJR instead.

  • avatar
    GeneralMalaise

    The Warranty Direct Top 100 Most Reliable Used Cars Of The Past Decade

    1 Honda Accord 2 Subaru Forester 3 Mazda MX-5 4 Mitsubishi Carisma 5 Toyota Yaris 6 Honda Civic 7 Nissan Almera 8 Honda CR-V 9 Toyota RAV4 10 Nissan Micra 11 Lexus IS 200 12 Mazda 626 13 Jaguar X-Type 14 Toyota Landcruiser 15 Volvo S/V40 16 MINI (BMW) 17 Suzuki Vitara 18 Mazda 323 19 Toyota Carina E 20 Saab 9-5 21 Lexus LS400 22 Ford Ka 23 Rover 45 24 Hyundai Lantra 25 Mercedes SLK 26 Citroen Xsara 27 Ford Cougar 28 Subaru Impreza 29 Skoda Octavia 30 Audi A4 31 Nissan Primera 32 Toyota Avensis 33 Volvo 850 34 Vauxhall Corsa 35 Seat Toledo 36 Volkswagen Golf 37 Daewoo Lanos 38 Fiat Brava 39 Hyundai Coupe 40 Mitsubishi Shogun 41 Rover 25 42 Mercedes CLK 43 Fiat Marea 44 Ford Focus 45 Peugeot 106 46 MG MG TF 47 BMW Z3 48 Hyundai Accent 49 Volkswagen Polo 50 Fiat Punto 51 Vauxhall Zafira 52 Mercedes C-class 53 Volvo S60 54 Toyota MR2 55 Mazda Xedos 6 56 Ford Puma 57 Vauxhall Astra 58 Vauxhall Omega 59 Chrysler Neon 60 Audi A2 61 Ford Fiesta 62 Ford Mondeo 63 Vauxhall Corsa 64 Citroen Saxo 65 BMW 3 Series 66 Vauxhall Vectra 67 Isuzu Trooper 68 Mercedes M-Class 69 Subaru Legacy 70 Rover 400 71 Fiat Ulysse 72 Mercedes E-Class 73 Renault Clio 74 Toyota Celica 75 Peugeot 306 76 Peugeot 406 77 Volvo S70 78 Rover 75 79 Daewoo Matiz 80 Peugeot 206 81 Mazda MX-3 82 Vauxhall Tigra 83 Seat Ibiza 84 Peugeot 106 85 Renault Megane 86 Peugeot 406 87 Saab 9-3 88 Audi A3 89 BMW X5 90 Mercedes S-class 91 Toyota Corolla 92 Seat Alhambra 93 BMW 5-series 94 Daewoo Nubira 95 Alfa Romeo 145 96 Saab 900 97 Mazda MX-6 98 Jaguar S-Type 99 Daewoo Leganza 100 Porsche Boxster

  • avatar
    Robstar

    My wife & I are looking to buy a new car and the heaviest weight on opinion goes to the wife herself (the car is for her), secondly to truedelta results and third to CR.

    We use CR as more of a “list of cars that fit a criteria” and then look at TD/CR ratings & see where they agree, and then have the wife test drive if it’s in the budget. Kind of working backwards I guess, but ultimately the “final test” is her test drive.

  • avatar
    jonnyguitar

    I really appreciate the goals of True Delta, as I agree with others JD Powers is write off nonsense, and Consumer Reports only slightly better. The model you’ve developed is definitely better, as it evaluates specific engines and year models to get much more applicable data.

  • avatar
    littlehulkster

    Another thing people forget about JD Power is that squeaky brakes or interior rattles are weighed exactly the same as catastrophic failures. A car with 1000 incidents of glovebox rattles is treated the same as a car with 1000 incidents of failed transmissions.

    Therefore, I’d say their numbers are more than a little skewed.

  • avatar
    Maverick

    With all due respect, Micheal Karesh and his TrueDelta website are trying to be a legitimate competitor to J.D. Power, therefore all of his criticism should be taken with a grain of salt.

    It is patently silly to compare J.D. Power data to TrueDelta. Two different approaches completely.

    One is legitimate market research while the other is a online panel of self-selected people who signed up for a website.

  • avatar
    distantarray

    also don’t forget the details either, average porsche driver drives 5k miles a year, average camry driver drives 12k miles a year, but also remember that you can be 100% sure that more porsches are garaged and more properly maintained than camry’s. Porsches require high octane, and probably gets full synthetic oils on oil change and porsche owners probably never miss oil changes every 3k miles / 6months period either.

    I have 1998 Camry with 150k + miles on it, surprisingly enough even though it’s been in a few small accidents (just cosmetics) I haven’t had to change 1 part of the car to keep it running on the road.

    I’ve even gone 10k miles before an oil change before! I like to see a Porsche survive 10k mile on the same oil….. the thought would probably make a porsche owner have nightmares for weeks.

    Only things I’ve ever done was the factory recommended timing belt change which also includes the water pump done at a toyota dealership at 120k miles (90k recommended), and changed the spark plugs. Shamefully enough I’ve still yet changed ANY of the fluids besides the oil …. still running perfectly on all factory fluids. I haven’t even had a need to do small things like getting the injectors cleaned.

    only non factory parts on the car honestly are ngk sparkplugs, and k&n air filter, and heavy duty oil filter from fram. I don’t know if this has anything to do with it, but I use nothing but premium gas (even though it’s not recommended) and always use mobil 1 full synthetic oil, and K&N or Fram oil filters. I also abuse my car quite a lot to be honest, like taking the car out in category 2 and 3 level hurricanes (Florida) and getting a decent speed and trying to the car sideways and doing donuts in the parking lot of a college, and even going tray sliding in the past in the Camry.

    Only things that have gone wrong in the car is. 1. dash lights went out (probably my fault happened when I self installed a stereo) 2. driver side window regulator died 3. plastic door handles broke inside the car 4. heater died. It’s nice to know after how much I’ve abused my car it still runs in tip top shape, I think the amusing part is people tend to over-rate my mechanic abilities because I do small things myself, but honestly haven’t had to do anything to keep it running, the car is just THAT good.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually the biggest factor isnt that the car is so good as it is used all the time. Fresh gas is always in your tank, engine is always lubricated, battery charged. Pretty simple. Trust me a Porsche can easily go 15k miles without an oil change. If you think you have some superior design in your camry, i feel sorry for you. Its got pistons and rings sliding against a cylinder wall… same as the Porsche. On the contrary … if the camry wasnt used as much , problems would almost certainly crop up. Funny how that works , isnt it?


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