J.D. Power Reports Vehicle Dependability Is On The Rise

February 13, 2013
If you’ve ever shopped for a new car, chances are good that someone has passed along this bit of automotive wisdom: never purchase a new or redesigned model in its first year of release.

While that may have been true in years past, the latest vehicle dependability data from J.D. Power and Associates shows that it’s no longer true today. Based on three years worth of accumulated data, new or redesigned cars released in 2010 show fewer reported problems than carry-over models.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg for good news concerning vehicle dependability, too. Overall, the three-year (what J.D. Power considers long-term) dependability of automobiles has increased year-on-year, with the 2013 numbers showing a five percent improvement over the 2012 numbers.

In fact, the latest data shows just 126 problems per 100 vehicles, representing the lowest problem count since J.D. Power began conducting the study in 1989. That speaks volumes about the potential reliability of vehicles coming off lease, and it should also give peace of mind to owners with expiring warranties.

While both domestic brands and imports have seen increases in reliability, the once-pronounced gap between the two is narrowing. General Motors, for example, has received four segment awards for dependability, with honors going to the Buick Lucerne, the Chevrolet Camaro, the Chevrolet Tahoe and the GMC Sierra HD.

The greatest improvement in year-on-year dependability also came from a domestic manufacturer, with Chrysler’s Ram trucks improving by 52 problems per 100 vehicles. The most reliable vehicle, however, is the Lexus RX, which saw just 57 problems per 100 vehicles.

Overall, Lexus ranks highest in dependability among all nameplates for the second year in a row. Toyota’s luxury division racked up just 71 problems per 100 vehicles, followed by Porsche (94), Lincoln (112), Toyota (112), Mercedes-Benz (115), Buick (118), Honda (119), Acura (120), Ram (122) and Suzuki (122).

At the bottom of the list, however, are Volkswagen (174), Jeep (178), Mitsubishi (178), Dodge (190) and Land Rover (220), which would seem to indicate that not every manufacturer has stepped up its dependability.

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