Toyota tops in dependability

Ford, GM among automakers ranked as most improved
February 16, 2012 12:02 am

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Toyota Motor Corp. led automakers with the fewest problems reported by owners of its 3-year-old cars, while Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. brands were among the most improved, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

Toyota's Lexus luxury brand topped the industry, its Toyota and Scion brands placed in the top five, and the automaker had the most models lead their respective segments for the seventh consecutive year, J.D. Power reported Wednesday.

Strides by Ford's namesake brand and GM's Cadillac and Chevrolet helped the industry average for problems per 100 vehicles fall to the lowest in the study's 22-year history.

Automakers' brand image and their ability to retain buyers are affected by the dependability of their vehicles, according to Westlake Village, Calif.-based J.D. Power. The industry averaged 132 problems per 100 vehicles from the 2009 model year, down from 151 in last year's study and 155 the year before. Of the 32 brands in this year's survey, 25 improved from a year earlier.

"This is good news both for owners -- who are holding onto their vehicles for longer than ever -- and manufacturers, since perception of quality and dependability is a critical factor in vehicle purchase decisions," David Sargent, J.D. Power's vice president of global automotive research, said in a statement.

Toyota's Lexus brand owners reported 21 percent fewer problems per 100 vehicles. The brand topped the industry for the first time since 2008, with 86 problems per 100 vehicles. The Japan-based automaker's Scion brand also reduced problems per 100 vehicles by one third, the biggest percentage improvement in this year's survey.

Ford's namesake-brand vehicle owners reported 11 percent fewer problems per 100 vehicles to 124, the eighth-lowest among in the industry, and its Lincoln luxury brand placed seventh at 116. The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker had three models rank at the top of their segment, behind only Toyota, which had eight.

GM's Cadillac improved with 20 percent fewer problems per 100 vehicles at 104, vaulting the Detroit-based automaker's luxury brand to third in the industry behind Lexus and Porsche AG's namesake with 98. GM's Chevrolet brand owners reported 13 percent fewer problems per 100 vehicles to 135, slightly worse than the industry average.

U.S. automakers narrowed the gap of problems per 100 vehicles compared with import brands to 13 problems from 18 a year earlier, according to J.D. Power.

First Published 2012-02-15 23:25:53

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