Lexus and Porsche Lead New JD Power Dependability Study

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Lexus and Porsche were the winners in the J.D. Power 2017 Vehicle Dependability Study, one of the benchmark reviews in the auto industry. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) brands took up several of the bottom spots.

The study looks at vehicle dependability of 2014 models as measured over the past 12 months. Ratings are based on problems per 100 vehicles. The study covered 33 brands, and the industry average score was 156. Lexus and Porsche each scored 110.

Rounding out the top 10, Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) posted a score of 123, followed by Buick at 126, Mercedes-Benz at 131, Hyundai at 133, BMW at 139, Chevrolet at 142, Honda at 143 and Jaguar at 144.

At the very bottom of the list, Fiat posted a rating of 298 problems per 100 cars. The next worst brand was another division of Fiat Chrysler: Jeep at 209. That was followed by Nissan’s Infiniti at 203; another Fiat Chrysler division, Dodge, at 187; and the Fiat Chrysler truck division Ram at 183. Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) tied Ram with the same score.

Dave Sargent, Vice President, Global Automotive at J.D. Power, said:

We find buyers are increasingly avoiding models with poor reputations for dependability, so manufacturers can’t afford to let quality slip, particularly on their best sellers. … While many expensive and niche vehicles do have excellent quality, the fact is that most consumers are shopping in the high-volume mainstream segments. The good news is that consumers don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a very dependable vehicle.

In the luxury car segment, German manufacturers did well. Mercedes ranked fifth, BMW seventh and Audi 16th. Among Japanese luxury brands, Lexus ranked first, Acura ranked 22nd and Infiniti 31st. U.S. brands Lincoln and Cadillac ranked 12th and 15th, respectively.

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Methodology: The study, now in its 28th year, examines problems experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of 2014 model-year vehicles. Overall dependability is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality. The study covers 177 specific problems grouped into eight major vehicle categories.

The 2017 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from 35,186 original owners of 2014 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. The study was fielded from October through December 2016.