When Americans buy cars, they often turn to car magazines and well-known research firms for reviews. Usually, such reviews include measures of reliability, price value, acceleration, braking, MPG, and, relatively recently, electronic systems that run safety features and navigation. Based on one of these reviews, from Consumer Reports, the most reliable car in America is Lexus.
Leaving aside research and reviews, buying a car in America has become a challenge. A global shortage in semiconductor chips used in car electric systems has caused many manufacturers to halt production lines. Earnings at these companies have been hurt. Most experts believe the chip shortage will go well into next year.
Meanwhile, demand remains strong. The time between when a car is delivered to a dealer and when it is sold was about 60 days on average before the shortage. That number currently sits under 30. That means demand will be pent up for months, if not as much as two years. What has become a difficult year for car companies could be a bonanza in the second half of 2022. (These are the fastest selling cars in America right now.)
The car industry is also in the midst of an unprecedented period of change. The electric car, barely available a decade ago, has been popularized by Tesla. Almost every major car company has started to chase Tesla with electric cars of their own. The number of electric cars could outnumber gas-powered cars some time in the middle of the next decade.
But how to compare car reliability – among electric cars and gas-powered ones? Among the media and research firms most carefully followed are J.D. Power, Motor Trend, Car and Driver, Edmunds, U.S. News, and Consumer Reports.
Consumer Reports, a nonprofit consumer product evaluation organization, recently released its annual auto reliability study. The study drew on the experience consumers had with over 300,000 cars. For car companies, the ratings are critical because they are used to make vehicle purchase decisions. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the Consumer Reports survey to find the most reliable car in America. (This is the world’s least reliable supercar.)
In all, the survey covers 28 brands ranked on a scale of 0 to 100. Three brands at the top of the list scored above 70: Lexus (76), Mazda (75), and Toyota (71). Lexus is the luxury brand of Toyota. Eight of the top nine brands on the list are Japanese. Only Buick cracked the top with a score of 66.
Several luxury models that should have high reliability because of their prices and levels of manufacturing care instead have mediocre scores. These include Porsche (52), Audi (47), Cadillac (47), and BMW (45).
Lexus also did well model by model. The researcher wrote, “Among the top five brands, Lexus stands out because all of its models have average or better reliability this year, led by the long-running GX SUV, which is tied with the Chevrolet Trailblazer as the most reliable vehicle this year.”
Lexus and Toyota have been atop car quality lists for years. The Consumer Reports data is just an extension of that.