A FIAT is available in the United States for the first time in decades. It’s manufactured in Mexico. Volkswagen has an all-new Passat built in an all-new American plant. One of them appears to be defying expectations of unreliability. Which one would you bet on?
We now have an early indicator. TrueDelta has updated the results of its Car Reliability Survey (on our totally redesigned site) to include owner experiences through the end of 2011. Others won’t cover the months since last April until next October.
Our sample sizes are small for both car models—twenty of each. But if the results are at one extreme or the other than a larger sample size would likely yield the same conclusion. And these are at the extremes.
A big surprise: the 2012 FIAT 500. With only a single repair reported for those twenty cars during 2011, and that one back in April, the 500 seems to be much more reliable than anyone expected, at least so far. The calculated stat: 16 repair trips per 100 cars per year. If this keeps up Tony’s going to be about as busy as the Maytag repairman.
Then there’s the new 2012 Volkswagen Passat. Its calculated statistic of 147 repair trips per 100 cars per year is about three times the average. If we had responses for another twenty cars, and somehow none of them required a repair, the stat still wouldn’t be pretty. So Chattanooga has a problem. Or perhaps that’s had a problem? Sometimes manufacturers catch and quash bugs quickly. Other times they don’t.
With the last update we provided such an early indicator for the Nissan LEAF. In the fourth quarter of 2011 the LEAF continued to be virtually fault-free, with no non-software repairs for 56 cars. We don’t count software updates as long as they’re free.
This has helped the 2012 Ford Focus. It remains about average in the updated stats (52 repair trips per 100 cars per year), but would fare considerably worse if SYNC updates counted.
And the redesigned 2012 Honda Civic? About as reliable as the FIAT!
We’ll see how Volkswagen has been doing with those bugs, and whether the 500 continues to have few problems, with the next update, in May. The more people participate, the more models we can cover and the more precise these results will be.
To view the updated repair trips per year stats for over 600 model / model year combinations:
Come across something interesting? Have a question? Post it in the comments.