J.D. Power survey highlights best in automotive reliability

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J.D. Power automotive awards on a shelf.

Ford and GM headlined the latest J.D. Power and Associates automotive reliability survey results. (Photo Credit: CC BY/Ford Motor Company/Wikipedia)

Results of the most recent iteration of the J.D. Power automotive reliability study have been released, and Ford and General Motors are sitting pretty, reports the Detroit Free Press. Four of the top 10 brands listed in the J.D. Power and Associates study belong to Ford or General Motors. Overall, the level of automotive reliability in the study was at the highest level since J.D. Power began the reliability study in 1990.

Automotive reliability in a time of trouble

The global automotive industry is still looking to reclaim its previous place of glory in the public spotlight, and the reliability results are a step in the right direction, noted J.D. Power and Associates Vice President of Global Automotive, David Sargent.

“The fact that almost every brand improved … at a time when the industry was really hurting is impressive and frankly surprising,” he told the Detroit Free Press during an interview.

Of the automotive brands that appeared in the J.D. Power study, U.S. automakers like Cadillac did not fare well, posting the third lowest total reliability score, behind both Lexus and Porsche. Lincoln, Ford and Buick posted better results, claiming positions six through eight in the survey, respectively.

Problems per 100 cars and trucks purchased

The J.D. Power and Associates study measures the number of reported problems per 100 cars and trucks that were purchased during the year 2009. Measuring performance in the vehicles up to the present day, the intent is to underscore the long-term degree of automotive reliability which consumers can enjoy. On average, per every 100 survey vehicles had 132 problems, an improvement over vehicles purchased in 2011 by 13 percent.

According to Sargent, the automotive reliability improvement is “surprising,” particularly since the recession and waves of recalls have impacted many major automakers. Auto sales in 2009 were at their lowest since 1970, which put severe pressure on the entire industry. That quality did not suffer can be considered a testament to automakers’ dedication and resiliency.

Chrysler brands ranked lowest in study

Initial quality impressions for Chrysler brands apparently could not be separated from the negative public perception surrounding its 2009 bankruptcy, noted Sargent. Ram, Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler all fared poorly, with Chrysler finishing at the bottom of the survey. This is in spite of the fact that each brand finished with better scores in this year’s J.D. Power survey than the previous year.

“There is no getting away from the fact that they are the four lowest ranking brands,” said Sargent. “(Yet) the vehicles that they are bringing out now are significantly better than the vehicles they were building a few years ago.”

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Japanese automakers go top 10

All of Toyota’s automotive brands – Toyota, Lexus and Scion – hit the top 10 in the J.D. Power and Associates automotive reliability survey. Eight individual models from that brand stable finished first or tied for the honor in their vehicle class. Scion made significant strides in particular, cutting problems per 100 cars from 166 in 2011 to 111 this year.

“This is something Toyota has demonstrated over many years — it’s pretty impressive,” Sargent said. “What’s a little new this year is Scion, which improved significantly.”

Ford reliability dinged by Consumer Reports


Detroit Free Press

J.D. Power


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