Buick and Lexus Predictably Top J.D. Power's Dependability Survey

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
buick and lexus predictably top j d power s dependability survey

J.D. Power and Associates continued their now routine praise of Buick, Lexus, and Porsche by giving the brands top honors in the company’s latest annual dependability study.

The survey, which assesses the number of reported problems per 100 vehicles during the first three years of vehicle ownership, resulted in Lexus achieving top marks with only 99 claimed issues. Toyota’s premium brand (which has won seven years running) was followed closely by Porsche with 100 reported problems, whereas Buick was the “mass market” brand with the fewest faults at 116.

Issues pertaining to audio, communications, navigation, or entertainment systems continued to yield the highest number of complaints from consumers in 2018. However, the gap between luxury and mainstream brands appears to be closing, as most of last year’s top performers lost a little ground to mid-level mainstream competitors. Infiniti saw the most improvement overall, coming from the bottom of the pack in 2017 to take 4th overall this year. It was followed by Kia, with 122 problems per 100 vehicles — proving that premium levels of quality are not exclusive to premium brands.

Speaking of which, suspiciously absent from J.D. Power’s listings was Tesla Motors. The study made no mention of the electric brand whatsoever. When questioned, Power explained that the automaker had not provided access to owner information, adding that a sufficiently large sample was unavailable for Tesla models to be included in the study.

Chevrolet, Hyundai, BMW, Toyota, Lincoln, Nissan, Honda, and Audi all managed to stay above the industry average of 142 problems per 100 vehicles. Mazda and Mercedes-Benz fell just short with 145 and 147 issues, respectively.

No longer positioned exclusively at the bottom of J.D. Power’s dependability list, Fiat Chrysler brands were spread throughout the bottom third for 2018. Dodge fared the best with 166 reported problems within the first three years of ownership, while Chrysler scored the worst with a lackluster 211 — giving it the dubious honor of being the worst-performing brand in the survey.

Land Rover garnered the second-most reported incidents with 204, followed by Fiat and Jeep. Admittedly, FCA still didn’t do particularly well in 2018. But its overall performance did show notable improvements against last year’s standings.

A complete breakdown of all North American brands is available at J.D. Power’s website. Even a cursory examination reveals marked improvement in overall powertrain dependability — at least within the first three years of ownership — and an industry that’s still coming to grips with how to help customers understand in-car technologies. Either that, or new tech has become a quagmire for service centers.

“For the most part, automotive manufacturers continue to meet consumers’ vehicle dependability expectations,” explained Dave Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power. “A 9-percent improvement is extremely impressive, and vehicle dependability is, without question, at its best level ever.”

[Image: Lexus]

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  • Thornmark Thornmark on Feb 15, 2018

    JD Power - I'd like to see how their "ratings" stack ag/ their client billings. I'd rate JD Power near the bottom of "research" firms. " J.D. Power obtains the majority of its revenue from corporations that seek the data collected from J.D. Power surveys for internal use.[1] Companies which have used J.D. Power surveys range from automotive, cellphone, and computer manufacturers to home builders and utility companies. To be able to use the J.D. Power logo and to quote the survey results in advertising, companies must pay a licensing fee to J.D. Power. These advertisement licensing fees form a small part of J.D. Power's revenues but a substantial portion of earnings.[1]" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J.D._Power_and_Associates

    • See 1 previous
    • El scotto El scotto on Feb 17, 2018

      @NormSV650 All sorts of data is being collected for free. Every keystroke you've inputted on the 'net and every time your cell phone stopped moving was collected data. Finding a market for my comments, and anyone who really cares, written on TTAC and the fact I stopped at Arby's at approximately 1230 is whole other thing. J.D. Power and whoever hires them are widely considered to be in an act of mutual masturbation. The print rags proudly turn into self-licking ice cream cones for whoever buys the most ad space. Consumer Reports (CR) has its flaws, discussed on here many times, but it is considered an "Honest Broker" by many. CR does technically collect their data for free. Yes, people subscribe to their snooze-fest of a magazine. CR runs test and collects data on various objects and hopes the consumer wants to buy their results. Their annual Car Review usually sells well. Report this year's best mullet trimmer? Not so much.

  • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Feb 18, 2018

    The Buicks do have higher-quality interior materials, at least that’s what I took away from the auto show last week. In particular, the cheap membrane steering-wheel controls in the Chevvies are replaced by actual buttons in the Buicks. (There was a Regal liftback on the floor, but I couldn’t find the hatch release switch! Pawed around the door, in the glovebox, and center console looking for it.) Is the Regal GS liftback only available in red over black? (The one with a V6?) I do like the adoption of LED interior lighting across the GM lineup — classy! Didn’t get to see Caddys or HyundKias, as that dealer group didn’t show anything. (No Rincolns either.)

  • Dusterdude @El scotto , I'm aware of the history, I have been in the "working world" for close to 40 years with many of them being in automotive. We have to look at situation in the "big picture". Did UAW make concessions in past ? - yes. Do they deserve an increase now ? -yes . Is their pay increase reasonable given their current compensation package ? Not at all ! By the way - are the automotive CEO's overpaid - definitely! (That is the case in many industries, and a separate topic). As the auto industry slowly but surely moves to EV's , the "big 3" will need to be producing top quality competitive vehicles or they will not survive.
  • Art_Vandelay “We skipped it because we didn’t think anyone would want to steal these things”-Hyundai
  • El scotto Huge lumbering SUV? Check. Unknown name soon to be made popular by Tiktok ilk? Check. Scads of these showing up in school drop-off lines? Check. The only real over/under is if these will have as much cachet as Land Rovers themselves? A bespoken item had to be new at one time. Bonus "accepted by the right kind of people" points if EBFlex or Tassos disapproves.
  • El scotto No, "brothers and sisters" are the core strength of the union. So you'll take less money and less benefits because "my company really needs helped out"? The UAW already did that with two-tier employees and concessions on their last contract.The Big 3 have never, ever locked out the UAW. The Big 3 have agreed to every collective bargaining agreement since WWII. Neither side will change.
  • El scotto Never mind that that F-1 is a bigger circus than EBFlex and Tassos shopping together for their new BDSM outfits and personal lubricants. Also, the F1 rumor mill churns more than EBFlex's mind choosing a new Sharpie to make his next "Free Candy" sign for his white Ram work van. GM will spend a year or two learning how things work in F1. By the third or fourth year GM will have a competitive "F-1 LS" engine. After they win a race or two Ferrari will protest to highest F-1 authorities. Something not mentioned: Will GM get tens of millions of dollars from F-1? Ferrari gets 30 million a year as a participation trophy.