The Toyota Prius was first in reliability in the Compact Car segment, with 141 PP100 (problems per 100 vehicles) in the most recent J.D. Power survey. That makes it one of the most reliable cars on the road, which is even more remarkable given the number of tech toys in the Prius.
You could probably guess that Lexus was the number one brand on the list, but would you be able to guess Mercury would come in second? Cadillac came in third, while Toyota came in fourth.
The study asks the original owners of 2005 model year vehicles three years later. Not surprisingly, as the number of issues climbs, the satisfaction level drops, and so does the customers likelihood of buying from the same brand or recommending the vehicle to a friend.
Press Release Follows:
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Aug. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Deterioration in vehicle quality during the first three years of ownership -- determined by comparing long-term dependability rates to initial quality problem rates -- strongly affects overall customer satisfaction as well as customer willingness to recommend their vehicle model, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Vehicle Dependability Study(SM) (VDS) released today.
The study, which measures problems experienced by original owners of 3-year-old (2005 model year) vehicles, finds that, on average, customers report experiencing 75 percent more problems in the third year of ownership than during the first 90 days. Those models with the largest increase in problem levels show the most pronounced declines in satisfaction and the likelihood of owners to recommend their vehicle model. In addition, while no model has fewer reported problems in the third year of ownership compared with the first three months, those models that average less than 35 percent problem growth actually demonstrate improvement in overall satisfaction during the three-year period.
"Understanding and minimizing quality deterioration is critical for manufacturers, as it is a key driver of owner satisfaction and word of mouth recommendations," said David Sargent, vice president of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates. "It is imperative that manufacturers design models that not only achieve high levels of initial quality but also attain high levels of longer-term dependability. Vehicle models that stand the test of time will help automaker profitability through superior owner satisfaction and recommendation rates."
The study also finds that five of the top 10 problems reported industry-wide in the 2008 Vehicle Dependability Study were also among the top 10 most frequently reported problems in the 2005 Initial Quality Study, suggesting that the problems are identified by owners during the initial ownership period, but have not been rectified by automakers during the three-year ownership period.
The problems include:
1. Excessive wind noise
2. Noisy brakes
3. Vehicle pulling to the left or right
4. Issues with the instrument panel/dashboard
5. Excessive window fogging
"Although automakers have achieved tremendous gains in initial quality and dependability in recent years by specifically addressing customer concerns, these particular problems still prove challenging for manufacturers," said Sargent. "The fact that these problems have endured throughout the industry for many years suggests that additional focus on these issues prior to vehicle launch would benefit not only consumers, but also automakers through increased customer satisfaction."
For a 14th consecutive year, Lexus ranks highest in vehicle dependability, improving by 25 problems per 100 vehicles since 2007 to achieve a score of 120 PP100. Following in the top five rankings are Mercury, Cadillac, Toyota and Acura, respectively.
In addition, Lexus garners six segment awards -- the most of any nameplate in 2008 -- for the ES 330, GX 470, IS 300, LS 430, LX 470 and SC 430. Toyota follows with five segment awards for the Highlander, Prius, RAV4, Sequoia, and Tundra. Ford and Honda each capture two awards. Ford models receiving awards are the Crown Victoria and Ranger, while Honda earns awards for the Element and S2000. Models by Buick, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Mazda and Mercury each rank highest in one segment.
SAAB is the most improved brand in the study, although it continues to rank below the industry average. SAAB improves by 65 PP100 since 2007.
The study finds that long-term vehicle quality has improved by 5 percent industry-wide in 2008 -- with an overall decrease of 10 problems per 100 vehicles -- compared with 2007. More than 60 percent of the 38 nameplates included in the study improve in 2008, compared with 2007. Among the 19 segments included in the study, the midsize premium MAV segment demonstrates the most improvement in 2008 -- 36 PP100 fewer than in 2007. The compact car and midsize car segments also have much lower problem levels in 2008 than in 2007, and together account for more than one-half of the overall industry improvement.
"The gains in dependability for compact and midsize vehicles are good news for consumers who are downsizing their vehicles due to increasing fuel prices," said Sargent. "Consumers who purchase these smaller vehicles benefit not only from immediate gains in fuel economy, but also from improvements in long-term dependability, compared with previous years."
The 2008 Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from more than 52,000 original owners of 2005 model-year vehicles. The study was fielded from January through April 2008.
Find more detailed findings on vehicle dependability as well as model photos and specs by watching a video, reading an article and reviewing brand and segment dependability ratings at JDPower.com.
2008 Nameplate VDS Ranking Problems Per 100 Vehicles Lexus 120 Mercury 151 Cadillac 155 Toyota 159 Acura 160 Buick 163 BMW 164 Lincoln 165 Honda 177 Jaguar 178 Porsche 193 Mitsubishi 197 Hyundai 200 Ford 204 Infiniti 204 Industry Average 206 Audi 207 Mercedes-Benz 215 Nissan 224 Pontiac 225 GMC 226 Mazda 228 Subaru 228 Chrysler 229 Dodge 230 MINI 233 Chevrolet 239 HUMMER 241 Scion 243 Volvo 244 Saturn 250 Jeep 253 Volkswagen 253 SAAB 254 Isuzu 274 Kia 278 Suzuki 302 Land Rover 344 Note: Maserati is included in the study but not ranked due to small sample size. Top Three Models per Segment Car Segments Sub-Compact Car Highest Ranked: Hyundai Accent Scion xA Chevrolet Aveo Compact Car Highest Ranked: Toyota Prius Mitsubishi Lancer Toyota Corolla Compact Sporty Car Highest Ranked: Mazda Miata Toyota Celica Subaru Outback Sport Midsize Sporty Car Highest Ranked: Chevrolet Monte Carlo Toyota Camry Solara Coupe/Convertible Mitsubishi Eclipse Midsize Car Highest Ranked: Buick Century Mercury Sable Toyota Camry Sedan Large Car Highest Ranked: Ford Crown Victoria Mercury Grand Marquis Buick Park Avenue Compact Premium Sporty Car Highest Ranked: Honda S2000 BMW Z4 (tie) Porsche Boxster (tie) Entry Premium Vehicle Highest Ranked: Lexus IS 300/IS 300 SportCross BMW 3 Series BMW X3 Midsize Premium Car Highest Ranked: Lexus ES 330 Lexus GS 300/GS 430 Acura RL Large Premium Car Highest Ranked: Lexus LS 430 Lincoln Town Car Cadillac DeVille Premium Sporty Car Highest Ranked: Lexus SC 430 Ford Thunderbird Porsche 911 Top Three Models per Segment Truck / Multi-Activity Vehicle (MAV) Segments Compact MAV Highest Ranked: Honda Element (tie) Toyota RAV4 (tie) Honda CR-V Midsize MAV Highest Ranked: Toyota Highlander Buick Rainier Mercury Mountaineer Large MAV Highest Ranked: Toyota Sequoia Chevrolet Suburban Ford Excursion Large Pickup Highest Ranked: Toyota Tundra Ford F-150 LD Dodge Ram Pickup LD Midsize Pickup Highest Ranked: Ford Ranger Toyota Tacoma Dodge Dakota Van Highest Ranked: Mercury Monterey Ford E-Series GMC Savana Midsize Premium MAV Highest Ranked: Lexus GX 470 Lexus RX 330 Volvo XC70 Large Premium MAV Highest Ranked: Lexus LX 470 Cadillac Escalade EXT Cadillac Escalade/Escalade ESV