Lexus slips to third in the Power Dependability Study, but still scores a best-ever with its 2006 LS430.
Perennial quality leader Lexus was nudged aside by two determined challengers in the latest study of automotive reliability. Buick and Jaguar led the list of brands that maintain their quality, even after three years on the road, according to the 2009 Vehicle Dependability Study.
The annual study found that Buick and Jaguar are the two new benchmarks in auto reliability, based on more than 50,000 surveys of U.S. motorists driving vehicles from the 2006 model-year. But Lexus still has reason to be proud. Four of its models took top honors in individual product categories – including the LS430, ranked number one among “Large Premium Cars.” In fact, the LS sedan experienced a mere 61 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) on the road, an all-time low, even accounting for changes made to the 2009 VDS survey.
The Dependability Study is one of a series of surveys the California-based Power conducts each year. Perhaps the best known is the Initial Quality Study, or IQS, which asks owners to report on problems they experience during the first 90 days of ownership. That’s become a real battleground among manufacturers, and has seen huge improvements, across the industry, in recent years.
Improving long-term reliability, experts stress, is a much more difficult challenge, and according to Power’s product research director, Neal Oddes, it is likely to have a significant impact, not only on the way an owner perceives a brand, but “it is (also) a good indicator of whether a consumer will repurchase a vehicle and recommend it to their friends.”