Porsche edges out Lincoln for vehicle-dependability titleThu, 18 Mar 2010 00:00:00 -0700
Porsche sits atop the annual U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study rankings released by J.D. Power and Associates on Thursday.
The German sports car maker rose from 11th place to top 2009 co-winners Buick and Jaguar and lead the annual study of 3-year-old vehicles. Lexus, which ended its 14-year reign last year, fell to third, in a tie with Buick behind Lincoln.
"It's not ‘What happened to Lexus?' ... the entire industry has gotten very competitive,” said David Sargent, vice president of global research for J.D. Power and the chief author of the study. “No one brand stands out like it used to.”
While vehicles in general keep getting more dependable each year, some U.S. and South Korean automakers don't get the public respect they deserve, Sargent added. Most of the 36 brands surveyed scored fewer problems than they did in last year's study, repeating a long-term pattern. The brands with the biggest perception gaps, according to Sargent: Cadillac, Ford, Hyundai, Lincoln and Mercury.
Manufacturing more dependable vehicles can be easier and faster than convincing skeptical consumers of any improvement.
“It's not an overnight process,” Sargent said. “They just have to keep designing and building quality vehicles and communicate with customers. They're in the process of doing that, but it takes time.”
Each of Ford Motor Co.'s U.S. brands--Ford, Mercury and Lincoln--finished in the top 10 this year, while Hyundai was No. 11 and Cadillac No. 12.
Fourteen brands finished above the industry average score of 155 problems, which improved from last year's average of 167.
The study measures problems experienced by original owners of 3-year-old (2007 model year) vehicles, covering 198 different problem symptoms. The score reflects the number of problems reported per 100 vehicles. The lower the score, the better the apparent vehicle dependability.
All but seven brands scored below 200, meaning less than two reported problems per vehicle over the three years.
In addition to Porsche's rise, notable gains included No. 2 Lincoln, which finished eighth last year, and No. 9 Mercedes-Benz, which climbed 10 spots.
The biggest surprise was Jaguar falling from last year's first-place tie to No. 23 this year. Jaguar's score may have been affected by the introduction of a new model, Sargent said.
Jaguars from the 2007 model year were built by Ford Motor Co., as were Land Rovers. The brands are now owned by India's Tata Motors.
Germany's Audi also plummeted, slipping to No. 26 from No.12 a year earlier.
The same three brands finished at the bottom both years, although in a different order. This year, the lowest score was Land Rover's 255, below Suzuki's 253 and Volkswagen's 225.
2010 Vehicle Dependability Study
J.D. Power and Associates' annual study measures problems experienced by original owners of three-year-old (2007 model year) vehicles. Overall dependability is determined by the level of problems experienced per 100 vehicles. A lower score means better quality.
Industry Average 155
Land Rover 255
By Jesse Snyder- Automotive News