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Reliability Woes Worsen, Warns New J.D. Power Study

Tech issues now make up 20% of reported problems.

by on Feb.24, 2016

Lexus topped the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, the 2013 GS also a segment winner.

Two things seem to be true about the newest cars coming to market these days: they’re likely to have lots more high-tech features than the vehicles they replace. But they’re also likely to have more reliability issues, largely as a result of problems with those new tech features, according to J.D. Power’s 2016 Vehicle Dependability Study.

The VDS queried owners of 2013 model-year vehicles and found that, on average, dependability dropped 3% year-over-year. It found that one in five of the problems owners reported involved audio, communication, entertainment and navigation technology. Collectively known by the acronym ACEN, these systems are, collectively, the single largest source of trouble owners reported.

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“The increase in technology-related problems has two sources,” said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive research at J.D. Power. “Usability problems that customers reported during their first 90 days of ownership are still bothering them three years later in ever-higher numbers. At the same time, the penetration of these features has increased year over year.”

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GM, Audi, Volvo Make Gains, Ford Stumbles in Consumer Reports Reliability Study

Lexus, Acura, Toyota Still Lead – but Toyota Camry loses “Recommended” rating.

by on Oct.28, 2013

Ford's C-Max Energi was the lowest-rated vehicle in the new CR reliability survey.

While Japanese makers continue to dominate the influential Consumer Reports annual vehicle reliability survey, General Motors, Audi and Volvo made significant gains, each cracking into the Top 10 this year.

While Detroit makers, on the whole, have been gaining ground, Ford Motor Co. dipped well below average. The second-largest of the domestic auto manufacturers has been hammered by complaints about its digital infotainment systems – an issue that has been causing grief for many of its competitors, as well, according to the CR survey of 1.1 million vehicle owners.

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The annual survey contained a number of surprises, including some unexpected problems plaguing traditionally Japanese manufacturers. Meanwhile, Consumer Reports announced that some of the most popular Asian products, including Toyota’s Camry, RAV4 and Prius V models, have lost their coveted “Recommended Buy” rating because of their poor performance in new crash tests.

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Lexus Tops Vehicle Dependability Study – But GM Narrows Gap

Today’s cars, in general, are lasting longer than ever.

by on Feb.13, 2013

The Lexus RX350 tops its segment in the VDS.

Today’s vehicles are more reliable than ever, according to a new study, though Lexus remains the king when it comes to long-term dependability.

Nonetheless, the gap between import and domestic brands continues to close, with General Motors giving close chase to Toyota and its luxury brand Lexus, finds the J.D. Power and Associates’ 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study.

“The continuous improvement in long-term dependability means consumers should have more confidence in three-year-old vehicles, whether they are keeping their current vehicle or shopping for a used car, truck, crossover or SUV,” says David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates, or JDPA.

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Based on the responses from 37,000 owners of 2010-model cars, trucks and crossovers, the annual study shows that the number of problems being reported has fallen five percent since the previous report, known by the shorthand VDS.  On average, there were 126 problems for every 100 vehicles, or 126 PP100 in Power-speak, down from 132 in the 2012 study.  That’s the lowest figure since Power launched the widely-quoted measure of vehicle reliability in 1989.

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Toyota Leads as Vehicle Dependability, Overall, Rises Sharply

But perceptions still lag reality for many brands.

by on Feb.15, 2012

2010 Lexus LS 600h L

The 2009 Lexus LS was ranked tops by the latest JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study.

Toyota and its Lexus luxury brand dominate the latest Vehicle Dependability Study, according to J.D. Power and Associates, though the annual VDS study shows that today’s cars, on the whole, are proving more reliable than ever.

But the Power report also reveals that perceptions continue to lag reality for some brands that have made major gains in recent years.

Of the 32 brands covered by the 2012 Vehicle Dependability Study, 25 showed improvements year-over-year, with five declining and one holding steady.  What’s particularly significant is that the latest survey focuses on vehicles built during the depths of the automotive industry’s worst downturn in decades, said Power Vice President David Sargent.

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“Despite facing immense challenges in 2009, automakers placed a keen focus on delivering outstanding levels of quality, which they understood would be essential to their long-term success,” noted Sargent, adding that, “Three years later, owners of these models are enjoying unprecedented levels of vehicle dependability.”

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Lincoln Tops Lexus in Long-term Vehicle Dependability Survey

Japanese still strong, but Detroit, European makers continue making reliability gains.

by on Mar.17, 2011

Lincoln lands the lead in the 2011 J.D. Power VDS with products like the MKZ.

Lincoln, the Ford Motor Co. luxury brand, has snatched the reliability crown away from long-time automotive reliability leader Lexus, underscoring Detroit’s significant improvements in the closely-watched J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Survey.

 

While Japanese brands like Lexus, and its parent, Toyota, remain solidly dependable, according to the annual Power survey of owners of three-year-old cars, trucks and crossovers, European and American – as well as Korean — brands are making significant gains.

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The good news is that vehicle dependability is improving across the board, according to Power.  The average product included in the 2011 Vehicle Dependability Survey, or VDS, had an average of 151 problems per 100 vehicles, down from a score of 170 “PP100” just two years ago.

 

“Automakers, as a whole, have made significant improvements in reducing traditional problems, particularly with vehicle interiors; engines and transmissions; and steering and braking during the past several years,” said David Sargent, vice president of global vehicle research at J.D. Power and Associates.

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Power Finds Dependability Lags Perceptions

Two-thirds of all makers post improvements in reliability.

by on Mar.18, 2010

Brands don't get the credit earned, including Lincoln, which placed 2nd in Dependability.

Perceptions often lag reality, especially in the auto industry, where some brands have far more quality problems than their image might reflect – and other have markedly better reliability than their reputation would suggest.

So, the results of the latest annual Vehicle Dependability Study, from J.D. Power and Associates, may take many folks by surprise.

The 2010 VDS, which looks at problems owners have experienced with three-year-old vehicles, finds Japanese makers capturing nine segment awards, while Detroit makers win seven and Europeans three.  But, more notably, the study reveals that a number of Detroit and Korean brands are performing far better than conventional wisdom might suggest.

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“Producing vehicles with world-class quality is just part of the battle for automakers,  said David Sargent, JDPA’s vice president of global vehicle research.  But, he adds, convincing consumers to believe in their quality is equally as important.”

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