A list of the top 10 car models that receive the most customer complaints about safety issues includes eight models built by two of the Detroit three. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) nabs the top four spots, as well as the sixth and eighth slots. Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) places two models on the list, in the seventh and ninth spots.
General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), absent from the list of most safety complaints, placed its two pickup trucks, the Chevy Silverado and the GMC Sierra, on the list of vehicles receiving the fewest complaints. Ford’s F-150 was the only other vehicle from the Detroit Three to make this list.
The study was conducted by auto data and research company ISeeCars.com. Researchers analyzed vehicle complaints from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) database of consumer complaints for cars from model years 2005 through 2016. To be included in the study a model had to have 750,000 total sales over the period that were still on the road.
The 10 vehicles with the most safety complaints per 10,000 units sold were:
- Chrysler 300: 66.7 complaints per 10,000 sold
- Jeep Grand Cherokee: 63.6 complaints
- Chrysler Town & Country: 63.3 complaints
- Jeep Wrangler: 60.9 complaints
- Toyota Motor Corp.’s (NYSE: TM) Prius: 51.4 complaints
- Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan: 49.6 complaints
- Ford Edge: 49.2 complaints
- Dodge Charger: 48.1 complaints
- Ford Fusion: 42.4 complaints
- Nissan Murano: 38.5 complaints
That the Toyota Prius is on this list may be the biggest surprise. According to ISeeCars:
Owners filed complaints about exterior lighting, brake problems, and issues with acceleration, particularly with 2006 and 2010 model years. Forty-eight percent of the Prius’ complaints come from these categories, and some of these reports regarding sudden uncontrolled acceleration and failing brakes ultimately led to high-publicized recalls for Toyota.
Electrical problems accounted for 18% of all complaints about the Chrysler 300, the most complained-about car on the list. Nearly as many (17%) complaints were lodged about the Jeep Wrangler’s fuel system.
The 10 brands receiving the fewest safety complaints were:
- Kia Forte: 3.5 complaints per 10,000 sold
- Kia Soul: 6.5 complaints
- Chevy Silverado 1500: 6.5 complaints
- GMC Sierra 1500: 8.6 complaints
- Nissan Sentra: 9.3 complaints
- Ford F-150: 9.3 complaints
- Subaru Forester: 9.4 complaints
- Lexus RX: 10.6 complaints
- Toyota 4Runner: 10.8 complaints
- Nissan Rogue: 11.1 complaints
By vehicle type, pickup trucks receive by far the fewest safety complaints per 10,000 vehicles sold — 12.9 — compared with an average for all vehicles of 26.8, an average of 27.5 for passenger cars, and an average of 31.9 for sport utility vehicles, crossovers and minivans.
At the brand level, Jeep and Chrysler had 57.1 and 57 safety complaints per 10,000 cars sold, followed by Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) with 49.8. Tesla dropped “Motors” from its original name on Wednesday.
The study noted the highest complaint rate of all models studied: Tesla’s Model X received the most safety complaints: 27.9 per 1,000 cars (yes, an order of magnitude difference), though the car has not sold enough units to be included on the list of models with highest number of complaints. The more widely available Model S sedan received 42.2 complaints per 10,000 units sold, but again, total sales were not high enough for the car to make the most-complained-about list.