American Brands Shine In J.D. Power Dependability Survey

March 18, 2010
2010 lincoln mkz 018

2010 lincoln mkz 018

No, buying American won't get you an undependable disaster-on-wheels; in fact, it's likely to get you a more reliable, trouble-free car.

In the latest proof of this, from marketing-information authority J.D. Power and Associates, seven of the ten models with the lowest number of problems, on average, come from Ford and GM.

That list of most dependable vehicles, from J.D. Power's 2010 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), includes the Buick LaCrosse, Buick Lucerne, Cadillac DTS, Ford Five Hundred, Lincoln MKZ, Mercury Milan, and Mercury Montego.

The study gauges dependability by counting problems experienced—broken into 198 different classifications—by the original owners (more than 52,000 in all) of three-year-old (2007 model year) vehicles. From that, J.D. Power calculates the total number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles to find overall dependability.

Power pointed out that Cadillac, Ford, Hyundai, Lincoln, and Mercury all do well in dependability but their consumer perceptions lag and these brands are often avoided as a result, as the firm has found in its annual Avoider Study.

J.D. Power ranked vehicle models in 19 different segments, such as "large pickup" or "compact premium sporty car," and within those Toyota still claimed the most awards, with the Toyota Prius, Tundra, Sequoia, and Highlander all topping their respective segments.

2010 Cadillac DTS

2010 Cadillac DTS

GM had its conquests, too; most notably, the Cadillac DTS outperformed the Lexus LS 460 in its segment, along with a host of other large luxury sedans.

"It takes considerable time to positively change consumer perceptions of quality and dependability-sometimes a decade or more-so it is vital for manufacturers to continually improve quality and also to convince consumers of these gains," said David Sargent, J.D. Power's VP of global vehicle research, in a press release accompanying the results.

While Porsche was the top-performing luxury brand, Toyota was the top-performing full-line brand (not counting Mercury or Buick) for dependability, followed by Honda and Ford. Land Rover was solidly at the bottom of the list, followed by Suzuki, Volkswagen, and Jeep.

Chrysler remains the exception, with all three of its U.S. brands at the time—Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep—falling well below the industry average.

Vehicles overall have steadily become more reliable and dependable, but there's still a vast difference between vehicles of one brand versus another. For instance, Land Rover owners experienced more than twice the number of problems per 100 vehicles than Porsche or Lexus owners did, and Suzuki and Volkswagen owners saw nearly double the number of issues as Toyota owners.

Below is a complete list of the most dependable vehicles in each segment. Remember we're referring to 2007 models, so some model names might be discontinued or different today.

2010 Honda Fit Sport

2010 Honda Fit Sport

Honda Fit
Toyota Prius
Mazda MX-5 Miata
Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Buick LaCrosse
Mercury Montego
BMW Z4
Lincoln MKZ
Audi A6
Cadillac DTS
Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
Honda CR-V
Toyota Highlander
Toyota Sequoia
Toyota Tundra
Honda Ridgeline
Ford Freestar
Lexus GX 470
Lincoln Mark LT

[J.D. Power and Associates]

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