By on February 22, 2010

TrueDelta has once again updated the results of its Car Reliability Survey. Based on over 15,000 responses for the first time, the new results cover owner experiences through December 31, 2009. Elsewhere, results continue to be based on an April 2009 survey. Thanks to these prompt quarterly updates, TrueDelta can provide reliability stats on new or redesigned models sooner, and then closely track cars as they age.

Among the highlights: the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain have required 94 repair trips per 100 cars per year—similar to the Lambda large crossovers and VUE compact crossover at this point and worse than average. Owners have reported a variety of minor problems. The new Chevrolet Camaro has fared better: with 41 repair trips per 100 cars it’s about average, and the most common repair has involved loose bolts for the rear spoiler. The redesigned 2010 Ford Fusion is also about average, at 42 per 100, a step back from the first generation. The most common problem, hard starting fixed with a grounding wire, should only affect early cars. The Kia Soul, with 39 per 100, would be better than average except for common problems with the speakers’ “mood lights.” The Genesis Coupe, with 71 repair trips per 100 cars, is “about average” but close to “worse than average.” Common problem areas include panel fits and rattles. The new Audi Q5, Honda Insight, Mazda3, Nissan cube, Subaru Legacy / Outback, and Toyota Prius are all clearly better than average, even in their first model year. Toyotas continue to score well in general, despite all of the talk about declining quality. The least reliable cars in the survey continue to be older European models.

TrueDelta also updated the “nada-odds” and “lemon-odds” stats, which report the percentage of cars with no repairs and those with three or more repair trips during in the past year. No one else provides stats like these. The best models continue to have nada-odds over 90, and most have lemon-odds less than one. TrueDelta doesn’t have enough data on many older cars yet. One for which just enough owners responded: the 2001 BMW 3-Series, only eight percent of which required no repairs in the past year—the lowest in these results. The 2004 Volvo S60 / V70 had the highest reported lemon-odds, with 14 percent requiring three or more repair trips in the past year.

TrueDelta will have further updates in May and August. As more car owners join and participate, the quantity and quality of these results will continue to improve.

Car Reliability Survey Results

Lemon-odds Results

Michael Karesh owns and operates TrueDelta, an online provider of auto pricing and reliability data

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14 Comments on “TrueDelta Updates Car Reliability Survey...”

  • avatar

    Now THAT guy’s got life figured out.

  • avatar

    “The redesigned 2010 Ford Fusion is also about average, at 42 per 100, a step back from the first generation.”

    Quality that can’t be beat by Toyota or Honda…but apparently Kia.

  • avatar

    Fusion’s record is still way better than your precious GMs, Z71. Do you have to be such an obvious troll?

    • 0 avatar

      You should do some research before making such an absurd statement.

      2010 Fusion – 42 trips per 100 cars.
      2009 Malibu – 22 trips per 100 cars.

      Ford…where quality is still a myth.

  • avatar

    Toyotas continue to score well in general, despite all of the talk about declining quality.

    Thank you for bringing this up. I’ve been yammering on about objetive quality versus blogosphere chatter and it’s nice to get a little professional vindication.

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      psarhjinian, Did you look at the survey end date (12/31/09)? This survey data before the pedal shim and brake recalls. It will be interesting to see the Toyota data in the August 2010 survey.

    • 0 avatar

      Recalls aren’t included in the stats as long as they’re proactive–fix a problem that hasn’t happened yet. No need to give manufacturers more reason not to recall cars to proactively address a potential problem. The number of cars that actually have this problem is very small.

    • 0 avatar

      Pedal shim and brake recalls aren’t quality items, so it ought not to have an effect.

      People seem to misunderstand this: if you bring your car in for a recall that you have not experienced the symptoms of it doesn’t do much vis a vis quality rankings. If many people’s cars break down because of a known issue but you get no warranty support because the manufacturer isn’t issuing a recall, it does matter.

    • 0 avatar

      Quality is not only quantitative but also qualitative. If you ask most people about a safety recall effecting the quality of the vehicle or manufacture, most people would say yes. If the car had large amounts of ugly hard plastic, most people would say that the quality of the car isn’t as good as a car with nicer materials.

      By those definitions, Toyota’s quality has slipped. I had a Toyota Camry rental about 6 months ago when I was traveling on business in Canada. It had a very ugly dash with tons of plastic. It really left me scratching my head reading tons of reviews about cheap plastics in GM vehicles… and here is this Camry with tons of plastic. The quality of the materials has gone down.

      Besides, quality and reliability are 2 different things.

    • 0 avatar

      Quite true on reliability vs. quality. But usually when the average person talks about a car’s quality, they mean how often it requires a repair.

      On the quality front, both Toyota and Honda are now outdoing Detroit in the hard plastic dept.

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      Michael, I thought your survey asks if the vehicle was brought to the service department for a repair? I was thinking that if all those Toyota owners include their trip to the dealer to get the pedal shim, the Toyota numbers might shift.

      The data on the Equinox and Terrain shows that GM has opportunity to improve. I plan on using that info as leverage. Thanks for this summary.

    • 0 avatar

      One question on the survey asks how the car owner learned that it had a problem. One of the choices is a recall. If that is selected, the repair isn’t included in the analysis.

      If the car owner experienced the problem prior to the recall, then they learned of the problem by experiencing it, and the repair then does count.

      The survey is here, if you want to look at the questions on it:

      I’ve seen the same pattern repeatedly with GM vehicles: spotty first year, then an improvement to average. I suspect that the Equinox will go down the same path.

      No sign of any widespread hard-to-fix problem yet. The Lambdas had very troublesome roof leaks, and the 2008 had chassis vibrations. Nothing like either of these with the Equinox so far.

    • 0 avatar

      Quite true on reliability vs. quality. But usually when the average person talks about a car’s quality, they mean how often it requires a repair.

      My experience is that cost to own is as important or more so than frequency of repair, and that customers will be annoyed by things (premature wear or warping of brake discs, suspension component wear, various motors or sensors wearing out) that gearheads dismiss but tend to be indicative of poor parts durability.

      Things that cost them real money, like transmission or major engine repairs, will sour a customer instantly.

    • 0 avatar

      This is one of many things that would be interesting to measure. But it’s a relatively rare event, so we need more people involved first.

      As we gain participants, we’ll be providing additional stats. Started with the stat with the smallest required sample size.

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