J.D. Power: Lexus, Lincoln—And Porsche 911—Found Most Trouble-Free

March 17, 2011
2008 Lexus RX 350

2008 Lexus RX 350

2008 Porsche 911 Carrera

2008 Porsche 911 Carrera

Looking back three years, Toyota has the most dependable vehicles, while Ford and GM again showed that many domestic-brand vehicles are far less trouble-prone than average.

That's as measured by J.D. Power and Associates, as part of its annual Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), which tallies problems in the third year of vehicle ownership.

On a brand basis, Lincoln and Lexus topped this year's metrics, while Jaguar, Porsche, and Toyota rounded out the top five brands for dependability.

The Porsche 911 had the fewest problems among individual models. Toyota has the most segment winners, with the Lexus RX, Scion xB, Toyota 4Runner, Toyota Prius, Toyota Sienna, Toyota Tacoma, and Toyota Tundra all having the fewest number of problems compared to other vehicles in their class.

Power noted that, on average, domestic cars have fewer problems than imports (135 PP100 versus 147 PP100). The Ford Fusion, Ford Mustang, Lincoln MKZ, and Lincoln Navigator all topped their segments, giving Ford Motor Company [NYSE: F] the second-highest number of model awards. Honda winners included the Acura RL, Honda CR-V, and Honda Fit; and the Buick Lucerne, Cadillac DTS, and Chevrolet Tahoe represented three dependability wins for GM. Other model winners included the BMW X3, Mazda MX-5 Miata, and Mercedes-Benz GLK.

MINI, Jeep, Land Rover, Dodge, and Chrysler had the most problems—all over 200 problems per 100 vehicles.

Overall dependability was measured by J.D. Power at just 151 problems per 100 (PP100). Just two years ago the overall rate was at 170 PPM.

While that sounds impressive, Power notes that even though automakers have reduced problem rates for traditional issues like engines, transmissions, fluid leaks, electronic features such as audio, entertainment, and nav systems—as well as newer safety systems like tire-pressure monitoring—have caused a slowdown.

Fewer problems, according to J.D. Power, is a good thing as, perhaps counterintuitively, it leads to more customers returning to the dealership for scheduled service visits. With more problems, the firm says, owners are more likely to use non-dealer shops.

Specifically, the study totals issues experienced over a twelve-month period of ownership for more than 43,700 original owners who have three-year-old (2008 model-year, in this study) vehicles, and asks about 202 different potential problems.

[J.D. Power and Associates]

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