Ford Slides, As Jeep Gains Traction As Most Reliable Domestic Brand

October 25, 2011

Ford has taken a significant tumble in reliability due to some of its latest vehicle technologies, while Jeep is now the most reliable domestic brand, according to the latest annual-survey data from Consumer Reports.

Both of those pieces of news might come as a bit of a surprise. Consumers have finally caught on to the excellent products coming from Ford [NYSE: F] nowadays; but it seems that some of the same features that might be drawing shoppers in are also negatively affecting reliability.

Consumer Reports points to issues with the MyFord Touch infotainment and connectivity interface—which the organization had already called “frustrating” and a “complicated distraction when driving”—and also points to issues with the new PowerShift automated manual transmission used throughout the 2011 and 2012 Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus lineups.

MyFord Touch had already been blamed for Ford's plunge in J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey (IQS), earlier this year. So far, MyFord Touch and its sibling system, MyLincoln Touch system, have been installed in the Ford Edge, Lincoln MKX, Ford Explorer, and Ford Focus; but versions of the system are due within the next year for many more models in the Ford lineup, including the 2013 Ford Taurus.

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Jeep, on the other hand, was bolstered by good reliability indications so far for its redesigned Grand Cherokee SUV. That's a significant achievement, as the previous-generation Grand Cherokee, as well as others before it, carried unimpressive reliability records.

The annual Consumer Reports reliability results were revealed today at an Automotive Press Association lunch in downtown Detroit. They're based on responses to the Consumer Reports 2011 Annual Auto Survey, for 1.3 million vehicles owned or leased by CR subscribers.

Meanwhile, as Ford sees some technology teething pains, Chrysler vehicles are finally doing better, reports the organization. Jeep has become the most reliable domestic brand, moving up seven spots to 13th overall. Chrysler jumped 12 spots—with a 'well above average' rating for the Chrysler 200, so far, bolstering the brand's showing—while Dodge improved its ranking by three, aided by the Durango.

GM slips, somewhat

GM also took a tumble in reliability, but not nearly as much so as Ford. CR cites the Buick LaCrosse, Buick Enclave AWD, and Cadillac SRX as examples of vehicles that had been at least average last year but are no not recommended. Additionally, the Buick Regal and Chevrolet Cruze, two all-new models introduced in the past year, landed below average in reliability.

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