Lexus still on top for reliability
With a score of 95 Problems Per 100 vehicles, (95PP100) Lexus retains its leadership position in the annual JD Power US Vehicle Dependency study
For the fifth year running, Toyota's luxury brand has topped the annual JD Power US Vehicle Dependency study but domestic brands are also starting to show improvements in reliability.
With a score of 95 Problems Per 100 vehicles, (95PP100) Lexus retains its leadership position, but Porsche, which last year could only manage fifth place, is now in second (97PP100). Buick is the third most reliable marque (106PP100), followed by Toyota (113PP100) and GMC (120PP100). And when the chart is expanded to the top 10, five US brands have made the cut -- not only Buick and GMC but also Chevrolet (6th), Ram (9th) and Lincoln (10th) -- all of whom ranked higher than Audi, Mercedes or BMW.
However, JD Power found that the average reliability score -- 152PP100 -- has dropped five points since last year and technology rather than turbochargers or transmissions is to blame.
"The increase in technology-related problems has two sources," said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive at J.D. Power. "Usability problems that customers reported during their first 90 days of ownership are still bothering them three years later in ever-higher numbers. At the same time, the penetration of these features has increased year over year."
In fact, problems with voice recognition, Bluetooth and navigation systems now account for 20 percent of reliability issues. Such difficulties with what seem like simple pieces of technology -- most consumers' smartphones can handle all of these tasks without problems -- may make people think twice about connected or autonomous cars.
"The industry clearly has more work to do to secure the trust of consumers," said Stephens. "Right now, if consumers can't rely on their vehicle to connect to their smartphone, or have faith that their navigation system will route them to their destination, they're certainly not yet ready to trust that autonomous technology will keep their vehicle out of the ditch."
The annual study (this year of 33,560 vehicles) tracks original owner experiences of new cars bought in 2013 during their first three years of ownership for a comprehensive picture of day-to-day reliability.
As well as ranking marques in terms of overall reliability, the study also names the best car in each market segment. This year, the best compact city car award goes to the Fiat 500, with the best small car being the Honda Fit. The best midsize car is the Chevrolet Malibu while Buick scooped the award for large car for its LaCrosse.
For more about Lexus, check out the hybrid coupe set to be unveiled at Geneva