Cars and Drivers

The Best Car Brand in America

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Car companies anxiously wait for the J.D. Power U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study every year. The 2024 edition is out. One of America’s most iconic brands took the bottom spot.

The study looks at factors after cars are owned for three years. The metrics cover 184 possible problems across nine categories:

  • Climate
  • Driving assistance
  • Driving experience
  • Exterior
  • Features/controls/displays
  • Infotainment
  • Interior
  • Powertrain
  • Seats

The study mirrors the results of the J.D. Power Initial Quality, which polls people after they have owned a car for 90 days. Frank Hanley, senior director of auto benchmarking at J.D. Power, commented: “This can likely be attributed to the tumultuous time during which these vehicles were built, and owners are keeping their vehicles for much longer.” (These are the car brands Americans dislike the most.)

The scores are reported based on problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). The average score across all brands was 190. One trend that has not changed over the past several years is that people find infotainment and driver assistance features overly complex and likely to develop problems.

The Best Car Brand in America

As has been the case for decades, Japanese models tend to do well, and this year they took the top two spots. Lexus (Toyota’s luxury brand) finished first with a 135 PP100. Toyota was second with 147.

The Lexus brand was launched in 1989 and was on the market at U.S. dealers that September. Its primary competitors at the time were Lincoln (the luxury division of Ford), Cadillac (the luxury division of GM), BMW, and Mercedes. Two other Japanese luxury car brands entered the U.S. car market at about the same time. These were Acura (a division of Honda) and Infiniti (Nissan).

The Lexus ES is the second best-selling luxury model in the United States after the Tesla Model 3.

According to J.D. Power, these are the five best car brands in America:

  • Lexus (135)
  • Toyota (147)
  • Buick (149)
  • Chevrolet (174)
  • Mini (174)

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