By on February 15, 2012

Today is a turmoil day in the auto industry. Where brands and cars came in on top of the J.D. Power 2012 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, champagne bottles were uncorked and press releases were issued. Where brands landed in the bottom rungs, panic meetings were called, fingers were pointed and resumes were polished.

Overall, it is a good day for the industry.

Never since 1990 have cars been as dependable. On the average, a car has 1.3 problems in the first three years of ownership. Last year, the number stood at 1.5 problems. 25 of 32 brands have improved in dependability from 2011, only six have declined and one has remained stable. Domestic nameplates have improved in 2012 at a slightly faster rate than imports, narrowing the dependability gap to 13 problems per 100 from 18 problems per 100 in 2011. Still, America’s most dependable cars aren’t American.

Most Dependable Cars per Segment

Sub-Compact Car Toyota Yaris
Scion xD
Honda Fit
Compact Car Toyota Prius
Toyota Corolla
Hyundai Elantra
Compact Sporty Car Scion tC
Midsize Car Ford Fusion
Mitsubishi Galant
Toyota Camry
Large Car Buick Lucerne
Toyota Avalon
Ford Taurus
Entry Premium Car Lexus ES 350 (tie)
Lincoln MKZ (tie)
Acura TL
Midsize Premium Car Hyundai Genesis
Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Volvo S80
Compact MPV Scion xB
Compact Crossover/SUV Chevrolet Equinox
Honda CR-V
Toyota RAV4
Midsize Crossover/SUV Ford Explorer (tie)
Nissan Murano (tie)
Toyota Highlander
Midsize Premium Crossover/SUV Lexus RX 350
Lincoln MKX
Midsize Pickup Nissan Frontier
Ford Ranger
Honda Ridgeline
Minivan Toyota Sienna
Honda Odyssey
Large Pickup Toyota Tundra
GMC Sierra HD
Chevrolet Silverado LD

Toyota Motor Corporation received eight segment awards, more than any other automaker in 2012. Ford received three model awards, General Motors and Nissan receive two.

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120 Comments on “America’s Most Dependable Cars Aren’t American...”


  • avatar
    foojoo

    Hyundai is ranked above Honda? That is interesting to say the least.

    • 0 avatar
      JCraig

      I wonder if they are already filming the commercial for the Genesis’ top in class ranking?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Foojoo – as are Cadillac, Buick, Ford and Lincoln and Chevy just 4 points away.

      I am surprised Kia is near the bottom while Hyundai do well. I thought they shared a lot.

      I am also surprised by how poorly other Japanese manufacturers like Nissan and Mazda did. Their reputations have been good in the past. Two German brands are above average, would never had guessed that from comments on TTAC.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Porsche being near the top of the list is a magic trick. In years where their only models that sold in sufficient numbers to publish results were the Cayenne and Boxster, they were both below average while the company miraculously winds up highly rated.

      • 0 avatar
        ppxhbqt

        Well to look at Consumer Reports, two vehicles that are reasonably big sellers for Kia, Sedona and Sorento, are problematic. The Hyundai Entourage held on until 2009, but didn’t account for many sales. It’s likely they didn’t even get enough results for it to include it in Hyundai’s rating; if they did Hyundai should see a bump next year. With 2009 the last year for the old Sorento, Kia should go up a bit next year. Once the Sedona is gone, maybe a good bit more.

    • 0 avatar

      Ford, Lincoln and CADILLAC are above Hyundai LOL.

      I personally prefer Chrysler (SRT8 models), but, the harder I push mine, the more problems I’m gonna have. I accept this fact and move on. I barely had any troubles with the 300 models I’ve owned besides control arms and a blown fuse here/there.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Wow!

        2 low volume, “luxury” brands are above Hyundai.

        And Ford is narely above Hyundai and based on their recent troubles, will probably fall behind Hyundai in JDP’s report in a few years.

        Gee, no mention of how Chevy is below Hyundai – shocking!

  • avatar
    V572625694

    Bottom of the list is Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram. Hard times in Auburn Hills and Torino.

    • 0 avatar
      pgcooldad

      According to Reuters:

      “vehicle dependability survey of owners of 3-year-old cars and trucks as model-year 2009 vehicles improved to record-high quality levels, J.D. Power & Associates said on Wednesday.”

      Therefore: “Chrysler vehicles, made during the tail end of ownership by a private equity firm before it was taken over by Fiat SpA in mid-2009″

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/15/autos-jdpower-idUSL2E8DF68G20120215

      By the way; the company that built those vehicles has gone bankrupt. The new Chrysler has nothing to do with Daimler or Cerberus – Thank God!

      • 0 avatar
        missinginvlissingen

        Right — the new Chrysler has nothing to do with those old, undependable 2009 cars.

        Except that they are made in the same factories, by mostly the same workers, and are the same designs. (Oh, wait – I forgot, the Chrysler 200 is an all-new model, completely unrelated to the Sebring.)

        Until at least 1 Chrysler brand starts climbing out of the basement of lists like these, I will continue to recommend that my friends avoid their products.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        By drunks and druggies, never forget that. http://jalopnik.com/5885039/man-arrested-for-fifth-dui-says-he-was-drinking-all-day-at-chrysler-plant

    • 0 avatar
      kokomokid

      The Chrysler products have 1.8 problems per car, MINI’s have 1.6, and Hondas have 1.3. They are all good enough that I buy what I like. It turns out that my “unreliable” MINI has had no problems in the 2 years I’ve had it.

      Chrysler does need to improve, though. Having all of their brands at the bottom of this list does not look good, even though they are barely lower than Infiniti, which many people think is wonderful.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Cheyv Equinox the most reliable compact crossover? I would have never guessed that.

    Some of the quality winners in their respective classes are also cars no one really wants to buy:

    Toyota Yaris
    Scion xD
    Mitsubishi Galant
    Buick Lucerne
    Toyota Avalon
    Ford Taurus
    Lincoln MKZ
    Scion xB (admit it, the second gen isn’t the same)
    Lincoln MKX
    Honda Ridgeline

    Given the number of niche selling vehicles making the quality list, it makes me wonder if the methodology of the survey puts a bias on low volume vehicles.

  • avatar
    supersleuth

    Since Honda has three individual models on their most-dependable lists, I wonder which Hondas drag the nameplate down to industry-average overall.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      If this is for three-year-old cars, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Accord dinged Honda’s overall rating. The first two years of the current Accord had problems with the brake pads, and people were complaining about the operation of the variable-displacement system on the V-6s.

      • 0 avatar
        supersleuth

        That inspired me to look on TrueDelta, where the 08-10 Accords, while still comfortably in the green, have maybe a bit higher repair-trip #s than I would expect for Honda (and the rear brakes come up frequently in the repair histories). So the Accord does seem like the prime “suspect” (if you can use that term for a car that is still very reliable.) They would do well to have a cleaner launch of the next Accord.

      • 0 avatar
        ckgs

        But how is the TL top and the Accord not? Aren’t they basically the same car built in the same factory?

  • avatar
    minneapolis_lakers

    The Toyota/Lexus juggernaut is back in top form :)

  • avatar
    dejal1

    I wish there was a model breakdown. Chevy 135, GMC 158. The trucks are so bad that it takes Chevy cars to bring Chevys # down to 135?

    Yet GMC + Chevy make the Large Pickup list. Unless their #s are so bad, it’s like being acclaimed the worlds tallest midget.

    Looks like the old Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable #s difference, yet they came off the same line.

    I also wish there were #s for the Most Dependable Cars per Segment list.

  • avatar

    Even more than in the past these scores are tightly bunched. Perhaps next year the worst will be less than double the best.

    With most makes, and especially the Japanese, the numbers tend to be best for small cars and worst for minivans and SUVs.

    Mazda takes a hit with the Mazda5 and CX-7. Possibly also the Mazda6, which was new for 2009.

    Hyundai and KIA remain at least as independent as GM’s divisions were in their heydey. They have almost entirely separate staffs, separate plants (though they do manufacture some models for each other), and different ways of doing things.

    The big surprise here for me is Infiniti. The G, M, and EX tend to have few problems. So the QX must have still been awful in 2009 to drag them down so far. Perhaps the second-gen FX was also buggy in its first model year.

    To see how TrueDelta’s stats compare:

    http://www.truedelta.com/car-reliability

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Interesting about Kia. I assume they will be trying to learn something from Hyundai. I would love to know if they have actually seen higher warranty costs (same warranty for both companies) as that would be definitive data.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Kia back in 2009 was still in the process of switching over to Hyundai’s proprietary build process – so they should close the gap with Hyundai as the 2012MY+ Kias get evaluated.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Cadillac above Toyota, hogwash, I say.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      Alphabetizing

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      How many Cadillacs are bought by older people who don’t drive as much? The DTS, in particular, is a favorite of more mature drivers. Fewer miles means fewer chances to develop problems.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        I don`t know the methodology so you may have a point. But I would have assumed Kia’s were driven as much as Hyundai’s or Mercedes compared to BMW’s so am surprised by the disparity.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “The DTS, in particular, is a favorite of more mature drivers.”

        And livery companies.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        Yet the DTS has the much-maligned Northstar. Could it be that Cadillac actually earned that high ranking?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “The DTS, in particular, is a favorite of more mature drivers”

        Among the individual ratings, only the CTS and STS are rated.

        The CTS gets four on a scale of 2-5, 5 being best. The STS gets a two. There are no 1′s, so the STS is at the bottom, while the CTS is above average.

        I don’t know whether JD Power weights its brand-level scores by relative sales of the individual nameplates. If it does, that would help Cadillac’s overall score, as the CTS outsells the STS by a wide margin.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I lol’d at bunkie’s comment because I thought the same thing.

    • 0 avatar

      When you pay “CADILLAC” money, you should have less problems than you would when you spend “Toyota” money.

      I bought my mom an STS (V6 with tech package) over a year ago and so far, it’s been very reliable. The fuse for the Heated steering wheel went out and the Navigation radio had to be updated. Otherwise, no problems.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Funny how that didn’t stop you from harping on how Cadillac and Lincoln were ahead of Hyundai while ignoring Chevy’s placement.

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        “The fuse for the Heated steering wheel went out and the Navigation radio had to be updated. Otherwise, no problems.”

        These days, that would be enough to land your mom’s Caddy at the very bottom of the list. Two problems in one year = 200 problems per hundred cars, worst than any brand listed here.

        I’m not suggesting the Caddy is an unreliable car, just that modern cars in general are very, very good…

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        If you go by that criteria, then Land Rover should not be near the bottom of the list either.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Except that, if people drove Cadillacs as hard and as often as drove Toyotas, I doubt that Cadillac would still rank ahead of Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        You’re a good son.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Why did that fuse fail?

        It’s one thing to change a fuse… but is there any evidence that Cadillac service actually looked for the root cause of the problem? Do they offer Cadillac levels of service?

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I’m trying to figure out what, if anything, should be taken from the fact that two Scions on the list were in catagories by themselves.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    The list, if it’s really just a count of how many problems there are pr car maker, and not in relation to miles driven or any other factor, really could show what cars are driven most, at least when counted from the top down to the ‘average’ car. Also, just counting ‘problems’ means that 34 squeaky power windows on Kias count as much as 34 complete engine failures on Porshces….
    Jaguar and Chryslers at the bottom is no surprise though…
    (No, I can’t be bothered to look for the source, if you have any insights write them here…:P)

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      I have to wonder the same thing. How many of the problems are catastrophic failures, call the tow truck, get the walking shoes problems? When I hear unreliable I think engine/transmission failure; the car won’t move under its own power, but it seems like things have changed. Now unreliable seems to mean that a button on the radio that you never use, touchscreens notwithstanding, breaks; the car still moves and gets you where you need to go, but the button is shot.

      I’m not old enough to remember the really egregious quality/reliability problems that seem to have plagued most of the domestics, and others, that are written about in the comments by the older drivers out so I probably have a different take on things.

      I bought a Kia last year, it’ll be one year on 02/28, and have had one thing happen that I would consider a problem. I’d heard the stories about Kias being utter crap and not worth the money, but I’d also read about how Hyundai/Kia was on the upswing and took the risk. My friend had an Accent for 100k with no problems; it was killed by a moron who pushed it 20 feet in the parking lot the hard way, with her bumper. Another friends parents have had three Sonatas and the last 2, an ’05 and a ’10, have been pretty reliable save regular maintenance.

      Anyway, the problem that I’ve had, and I consider it fairly minor and it might be my lack of finesse, is that periodically I’ll go to change gear from third to fourth and the shifter will feel like it’s locked out. However, if I let it center again it’ll slide right in. This only happens on the upshift and infrequently. (Piston slap worthy?) Perhaps I’m putting a slight angular force on the shifter and it’s hitting the gate, I will admit that I haven’t had much time with a manual, but I’m getting pretty good at driving them.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “Also, just counting ‘problems’ means that 34 squeaky power windows on Kias count as much as 34 complete engine failures on Porshces….”

      But, what about a car alarm that goes off every night for no reason such that you have to run to the garage and turn it off?

      I don’t know how to rank one 2 day warranty covered engine replacement vs. 6 months of a loud and annoying rattle and squeak they can’t figure out.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    Ford Motor did well.

  • avatar
    MR2turbo4evr

    I love how people on this site like to hate on Toyota. Yet, Toyota/Lexus/Scion scores “best in segment” in 12 of the 14 categories. Way to go Toyota!!

    • 0 avatar
      minneapolis_lakers

      Nothing brings out the haters more than success.

      I’d say it’s a good sign for Toyota :)

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Fair comment. As is “I love how people on this site like to hate on Ford and GM. Yet, Ford/Lincoln/ GM scores “best in segment” in 8 of the 12 categories – ignoring the 2 Scion only categories.”

      As Bertel said, this is good news for most companies with the exception of Chrysler, Jaguar, VW. Chrysler had a lot of reinvented cars in 2011 so the 2014 version of this study may yield some improvement for them.

      Bigtruckseries makes a valid point about more expensive cars should do better, so he isn`t surprised by Cadillac being higher than Toyota. Fair point, but someone should tell Jaguar, Acura, Infiniti, Audi and BMW about that!

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        More expensive cars typically have FAR more to go wrong too. So even if they are 2X better, they may have 3X as much stuff to break. You will never have an ABS module failure in a car without ABS after all. Or a power seat failure, or a sunroof failure, etc. etc. And this is the stuff that usually bites the Germans and the other luxury cars, not the oily bits. BMWs notorious fuel pump issue is an aberation.

        I have had one issue so far with my BMW – the relay control box for the driver’s seat shorted out. This may be my own fault though – I had a pen fall into the seat track and jam it, and I blew the fuse messing with it. I changed the fuse and a couple months later the control box let the magic smoke out. Seems like more than coincedence. Fixed under warranty, no harm, no foul.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        We’re long past the point where power seats, windows, door locks and sunroofs are only installed on luxury cars. It’s the same for ABS. Check out the specifications for a 2008 Civic EX or Accord.

        For that matter, my 2003 Accord EX four-cylinder has all of those features.

        That excuse won’t wash.

        A more accurate interpretation is that all cars are getting more complicated, but the Japanese, and, lately, the domestics, have done a better job of ensuring that the increased complication has had less of an impact on reliability than the Germans have done.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        @geeber

        Yes, you can buy loaded small cars. But relatively speaking, NO ONE DOES. The loaded ones get lost in the shuffle. BMW is an aberration in the luxury market in that you actually CAN buy a jail-cell spec 3-series if you really want one, relatively speaking. And you know what – those stripper 3′s are really, really reliable. I almost DIDN’T get power seats on my car, but decided that the things I wanted purchased separately were nearly the price of the package that included them, so I bought the package. And guess what, the one thing that has gone wrong on the car is the power seat controller! Karma.

        No matter how you spin it, you cannot have an issue with a part that does not exist on the car. Some other examples using my own car of things that are simply not on the average $20K car – a zillion rear suspension links with oil-filled bushings. A rear differential, a very complext multi-part panoramic sunroof. Brakes with the capability of drying themselves in the rain. A rain sensor. A super sophisticated throttleless fully variable valve timing system. Cruise control integrated with the brakes. Auto-dimming mirrors X 3. An electronic thermostat and electric waterpump. Climate control. A buttonless touch entry system. And on and on. Step up to a 5 or 7-series and the complexity grows by an order of magnitude.

        I’m not saying it wouldn’t be nice if the Germans had better quality control, but based on the experience of a couple Lexus owning family members, when you are talking cars of equal content there is not nearly as much difference as you might think. And every year, even on these surveys the difference between the best cars and the worst cars gets smaller and smaller to the point where the differences are nearly meaningless.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        krhodes1,

        I can certainly understand why people buy German cars (well, the BMWs, Benzes and Porsches). But it has been my experience that they tend to be more troublesome than most Japanese cars, or even the best of the domestics, and some of the failures seem to involve pretty basic parts.

        The people I know happily tolerate that for the driving experience, handsome styling and overall excellent finish. But, at this point in my life, with two small children and two working parents, better reliability is more important.

      • 0 avatar
        icemilkcoffee

        And yet Lexus takes the top spot year after year. You can’t tell me Lexus’ have fewer power accessories than the German cars.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      You do know these reliability surveys don’t take into account RECALLS.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      My first Toyota is my 05 xB1. Since new, it has suffered only two failures – a passenger window switch replaced under warranty in 2006, and a bad downstream O2 sensor that I replaced myself for $75.

      It hasn’t seen a dealer since 2006. Reliable? Absolutely.

    • 0 avatar
      Speed Spaniel

      Agree! Toyota deserves it. People ‘cut’ on these cars (okay so do I, sometimes joking that driving a Camry is the automotive equivalent of castration), but the quality of their product can’t be denied. I’m no longer convinced luxury marques are the way to go, so I decided to get a ‘fully loaded’ Toyota as my daily driver. I love my ’11 4Runner Limited, now with 20,000 miles, and not a single complaint/issue from day 1. I love everything about this car. Last summer’s trip from Cape Cod to the Carolinas and the Blue Ridge Mountains was the most comfortable road trip I’ve ever taken. Every morning when I walk into the garage I enjoy admiring how all the body seams line up perfectly, the finish of the paint (unlike the awful orange peel of my ’08 Acura RDX, the WORSE car I’ve ever purchased), and the sense of purpose this truck exudes. I feel like a made a smart purchase and got a lot for my money. Plus it’s so cheap to insure and I love running regular octane gas and getting decent mileage in return for driving a ‘heavy box’. Add to that a buying experience that was by far the most impressive and enjoyable one by far and dontcha know, I just might be (I think the term is) a Toyota fanboy.

  • avatar
    Speed Spaniel

    Audi above Subaru???? (though not by much). Say what!!???

    • 0 avatar
      drylbrg

      I’ve never been overly impressed by Subaru’s quality, though that might be colored by my wife’s Outback needing new head gaskets at 60k. I know the new Forester had a lot of issues with rattles when it came out so that might have had an impact on the numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        Carl in NH

        Double ditto on the Subaru head gasket. My 04 Outback went at about the same (60 ~ 70k ?)

        I will NOT buy another Subaru, despite that the claim is that they “got better” in recent generations.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        Hmmm, I have a friend who just bought a used Outback. Had it a couple weeks when she found it had a leaky head gasket. Not a cheap repair.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      The “inexpensive, and built to stay that way” slogan no longer applies to Subaru.

  • avatar
    TR4

    Why should I care about dependability of a 2012 vehicle? It’s probably under warranty so repair is an inconvenience but not an expense. Far more interesting would be the dependability of 3 to 10+ year old vehicles out of warranty but this data is harder to come by.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Ooops, you typed faster than I did.

      Actaully, the data is not that hard to come by. But that’s not what JDP’s business.

      JDP specializes in identifying defects that will cost the manufatures a lot of money to fix under waranty and collect a fee for that consulting service. Thus, there is no point for JDP to study anything beyond the 3rd year mark.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Just because they don’t publish it does not mean they don’t study it. The data is probably out there, just not in public view.

        The auto companies pay a lot of money for JD Power info, and data on 5-10 year reliability will not make any automaker look any better nor help them sell any new cars; therefor it is under lock and key.

    • 0 avatar
      toxicroach

      Well, you have a legitimate point. However, once past the three year mark you start having major problems. Cars that break not because they are poorly made, but because nobody changed the oil for the last 3 years, or other bad driving/maintenance habits.

      As a rule of thumb the more reliable a car is during the first 3 years should be a fairly decent indicator of how it will do at the 10 year mark. It’s hard to imagine a problem plagued new car somehow turning around and becoming great the older it gets while the really reliable car turns into a lemon, at least in statistically significant numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        “As a rule of thumb the more reliable a car is during the first 3 years should be a fairly decent indicator of how it will do at the 10 year mark.”

        You could be right if there is absolutely no warranty, or if there is always warranty coverage. However, most cars have a 3~4 year warranty, and as a result, there is tremendous human effort to make sure nothing breaks during the warranty period, thus distorting an otherwise smooth defect rate curve.

        It would be more educated to guess that the first 3 years AFTER the warranty period would indicate the car’s dependability for the next 10 years.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “Far more interesting would be the dependability of 3 to 10+ year old vehicles”

      The JD Power Vehicle Dependability Survey is a survey of 3-year old vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        The JD Power Vehicle Dependability Survey is a survey of 0~3 year old vehicles. (And that had zero intersection with the proposed 3-10 year study.)

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “The JD Power Vehicle Dependability Survey is a survey of 0~3 year old vehicles.”

        As is usually the case with you, you have extreme difficulty with getting your facts straight.

        From the 2012 VDS press release:

        “The study, which is based on responses from more than 31,000 original owners of ***2009 model-year*** vehicles after three years of ownership, measures problems experienced during the previous 12 months by those original owners.”

        http://www.jdpower.com/autos/articles/2012-Vehicle-Dependability-Study-Results/

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        OK, you are right that the JD Power Vehicle Dependability Survey is a survey of vehicles from the beginning of year 3 to the end of year 3.

        But that still had zero intersection with the proposed 3-10 year study. (If you understand the context here, by “3″ we meant the end of year 3, when warranty expires for certain brands.)

  • avatar
    wsn

    Say … a three year study doesn’t mean much.

    Even the German brands would still have a 3 year warranty and I am not surprised even the German brands have an incentive to make their products not break in the first 3 years.

    To me, a reliability study should start at the 3rd year mark, not end there.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Agreed, do they (or anybody else) do a 5 or 7 year study?

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      The problem with that is that owner habits would be the dominant factor after the first couple of years, and initial build quality becomes less important as time goes by. As Steve Lang says “it’s not the horse, it’s the rider”

      Note that the difference between the top and the bottom of this list is relatively small – the worst brand has a bit less than two problems per year, the best has a bit less than one. I’ll bet abuse and neglect can cause much bigger differences than that after a few years…

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        Not surprising that bad horses tend to blame their riders.

        From my own observations:
        1) MB owners care about their cars as Lexus owners, and yet MB’s ratings are far worse.
        2) Lexus IS owners are much more agressive than ES owners, and yet both cars have good reliablity ratings.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTheDriver

      Ask and you shall receive … http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/it’s-official-toyota-prius-and-porsche-911-are-germany’s-most-reliable-cars/

      Careful though, as a Porsche hater you are about to have a paradigm shift, WITHOUT A CLUTCH! ;-}

  • avatar
    ajla

    HA! Lucerne wins! Suck on that Impala! H-body forever!

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I find this list a bit hard to swallow. Makes one really question how the data is compiled. A good case in point are two teachers I work with at my school. Teacher A has a 2011 Buick Regal bought new with base 2.4 engine. Teacher B has a 2010 Lexus 350 ES. Both cars are over 20k miles. Teacher A needed to bring in there car once for the replacement of there leather steering wheel which was starting to come apart in places. Teacher B has had her car in the shop 4 times, one of which was a recall. The others involved a check engine light, a brake squeal which involved replacement of front pads and rotors and an under dash rattle. Guess which teacher is complaining that there car is already having major problems and that they now wish they bought foreign?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Anecdote trumping data! This survey may have methodology flaws, but merely quoting one experience you know of (which will actually show up in 2013/2014 since this survey is for 2009 cars) illustrates nothing.
      That is why I like truedelta and wished for something that had a greater number of cars. The German TUV test which Bertel wrote about last year seems like it would give useful data.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      This list is based on cars sold in 2009. It’s a three-year dependability study. The Epsilons will pull Buick’s rating down over the next few years.

    • 0 avatar
      baggins

      So the experience of two teachers you know makes you the survey.

      Have you ever flipped a coin and got heads 2 times in a row?

  • avatar
    stottpie

    pretty sure jd power considers:

    problems PER vehicle PER miles driven PER year

    they’re not stupid, they know that normalizing data is important.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Audi above VW shows that where the car is assembled matters.

    • 0 avatar
      supersleuth

      What does the reliability of the Mexican-assembled Fusion show?

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      While there are differences in quality between plants, I suspect where the plant is located has little, if any, effect on quality.

      Quality of materials, design, and manufacturing processes will have a much greater impact on quality than the location of the plant.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    J.D. Powers survey data is useless.

    It fails to implement proper statistical control methods and it also implements a flawed metric for what or what does not constitute a defect or problem.

    It also relies on highly variable and subjective non-technical responses, and most importantly, utilizes too short an interval to effectively measure what they purport to measure.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      100% agree. This is the first post in this entire thread of comments that wasn’t subjective or anecdotal.

      J.D. Power data can be influenced by many variables. But the disclaimer is the results are survey based. DOE is for absolute controlled experiements. This is random sampling, however. There are no variables that can account for dealership culture, customer expectations and how each brand expectation can skew these results. It’s the closest you’ll come to a head to head comparisson, but it’s still a pile of crap.

  • avatar
    carguy

    This says nothing about the longevity of the car. It also doesn’t discriminate between a firmware upgrade for the radio and an engine failure. It also doesn’t factor in how far the cars are driven (which is how Porsche get its high rating). So much like everything else that JD Power does, its not very informative yet the automotive press regurgitates it every year.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      As far as longevity goes, I can add that our 2008 Japan-built Toyota Highlander Limited 4X4 had ZERO problems in almost 70K miles and has never been back to the dealership for anything. Toyota got this one right, made in Japan.

      My San Antonio, TX,-built 2011 Tundra 5.7 has also been a stellar performer with ZERO defects or problems in over 18K miles and has also never been back to the dealership for anything. Another one Toyota got right, made in the good old US of A.

      Maybe all it took was for GM and Chrysler to go belly up to focus the attention of all the assembly-line workers on doing their job in earnest. Put out crap and lose your job. No job bank or UAW to save your ass if your employer is defunct.

      I’ve never had such a great ownership experience with any of the domestic cars I’ve owned over the past decades and that was the main reason why I joined the mass exodus to Toyota. I’m a happy camper.

      For full disclosure I also have to say that I bought my wife a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee a few months back, but based on its historical track record I would be very pleasantly surprised if it turns out to be as dependable as our two Toyota vehicles have been. If not, we’ll trade it before the warranty expires and buy another Toyota or Lexus product.

      People who own these foreign or transplant vehicles already knew how good their vehicles are. They didn’t need anyone to tell them that. It’s nice to get conformation but greater dependability was why they joined the mass exodus to the foreign brands in the first place.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Wow!

    Nothing like JP Power or Consumer Reports to bring out hurt feels.

    You have to take this data with a HUGE grain of salt.

    The quality gap from top to bottom continues to narrow, which makes the data increasingly pointless.

    This is counting issues per 100 cars. That’s all.

    So a blown head gasket on a Subaru is counted as “one problem” just as a bad window switch on a Camry is counted as “one problem” just as the rear brakes failing on a Honda Accord are counted as “one problem” just as someone who brings in a VW to replace a bad coil or a Ford owner that brings in a Fusion with MyTouch issues. Blow a speaker, blow an engine, counts the same. Drop a fastener on the floor that holds a piece of trim, drop a transmission, it all count as one problem.

    The data doesn’t dive into the severity of these issues by make. So people wringing their hands over Subaru is here VW is there my car is great and the data is wrong – seriously – take a deep breath. It’s not that big of a deal.

    Your buying decision was sound – don’t let a dumb survey which provides only one point of data in time get your panties in a bunge.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The rear brakes on the Accord were not failing. The pads apparently wore too fast, which is still a problem, but a much different problem than complete brake failure.

      At any rate, it’s best to look at ALL sources of data, including Mr. Karesh’s site and Consumer Reports.

    • 0 avatar
      missinginvlissingen

      I agree this is one flawed survey, nothing more. But there’s some useful information.

      Compare it the 2005 results:
      http://businesscenter.jdpower.com/news/pressrelease.aspx?ID=2005089
      (Scroll down for the bar chart.)

      The most striking things?
      * EVERY brand scored better in 2012 than the industry average in 2005.
      * Today’s industry average is better than the #1 brand in 2005.
      * A few brands (Mercedes, Audi, Hyundai) have improved dramatically, but other high/low rankings are fairly persistent.

      Obviously there are problems with any quality measure that counts a blown head gasket the same as a bad switch, but seeing the numbers go downward so dramatically is 100% good news. If you thought your car’s quality was good in 2005, today’s car will almost certainly have fewer “flaws”, however those are defined.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        And for looking at trends, this is good data. Hence my view the biggest take away, EVERYONE has gotten better.

        Seriously all the wasted electrons here on VW sucks GM sucks Toyota sucks Audi sucks Porsche really sucks…

        Bah.

        You can buy the worst car on that JD Power survey and you will very likely have 150K trouble free miles, if you drive the national average 13K miles you’ll almost certainly have five years of trouble free ownership. The quality gap of two decades ago is long gone, it is only nuances. Yes, there are still lemons in every brand that come out of any factory. Crap happens.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    A Galant?!? Don’t reliability surveys need a significant sample size (ie SALES) to be meaningful.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Sadistics, er, statistics that is, can be manipulated in so many different ways. Without the deep-dive background data, I’d reserve judgement on making any real conclusions based on raw numbers like this. Nature and severity of the “problem” can mitigate a lot of this, as has been noted above. In my line of work, I get lots of calls for “faulty” equipment that gets folks all in a wad…look, we had a HUGE failure of XYZ, but in the end, the “failures” might be a very minor concern, not one that impacts mission capability. That being said, I’m sure many of the good folks at the top of this list won’t quibble over such details and are already readying their respective adverts to trumpet their accomplishments.

  • avatar
    Benya

    Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

  • avatar
    kitzler

    Nissan and infiniti being that bad does not surprise me, think of Renault and you will understand why, French influence in car engineering is for the pits, see how they ruined a good Japanese brand like Nissan

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Ruined?

      In 1999 under US accounting laws Nissan would have been bankrupt and liquidated.

      If anything the French influence and Goshen has saved Nissan.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      So you are thinking of French cars from the 80s – right? Take a trip to Europe and rent a Peugeot. The French make some very good cars these days – even going back to the 90s.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I said it in another thread this morning: I hate Toyota and never intend to buy any of their products, but obviously they do a lot of things right, hence they keep winding up at the top of the heap in quality.

    I can’t help but believe something else is going on here though, like perhaps the buyers drive differently than drivers of other brands. Take Kia – everyone’s favorite rental car – at least that’s my impression of them, and people who buy Toyotas? Maybe they are hammered on by the dealership to religiously adhere to the maintenance schedule, thus believing they are that much better than any other OEM? As opposed to Chevy owners, who don’t maintain a thing and drive their car into the ground! At least in my case, that’s not true.

    Just random rambling…

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      I think that buyers who value reliability (through both initial purchase and subsequent maintenance) select reliable brands, then treat them in a manner that keeps them reliable.

      In addition there is probably some reliability bias towards the models and brands that are owned by older drivers. Not only are they easier on their vehicles, but their early automotive experiences were with bias ply tires, manual chokes, un-synchronized gears, body rust within a couple years of purchase, and built by manufacturers and laborers indifferent to quality. By comparison car built today is a miracle of reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        “I think that buyers who value reliability (through both initial purchase and subsequent maintenance) select reliable brands, then treat them in a manner that keeps them reliable.”

        EXACTLY. Count me as one of those.

  • avatar
    marshall

    The really awful part about those ratings is those brands who are rated “worse than Jaguar” for reliability.

    Ram, Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler.

    That’s gotta sting.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    Since Porsche uses Toyota’s production system, top 3 spots are held by Toyota :) Ok third place is shared with Cadillac – really impressive achievement!

  • avatar
    84Cressida

    Good showing Toyota. Keep up the hard work.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    The thing to remember is there isn’t a lot of spread between the bottom and the top of these ratings. Just under 1 visit per car to just under 2 visits per car. Not really that significant.


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