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Toyota named America’s most dependable car-maker

Number one: Lexus has reclaimed its title as America’s most dependable brand, according to JD Power.

Lexus tops US vehicle dependability study as three Toyota brands place top ten

17 Feb 2012

TOYOTA has been named America’s ‘most dependable’ car-maker, despite conducting the world’s largest recall to fix sticking throttles and other problems in more than 10 million of its vehicles globally in 2009 and 2010.

The Japanese giant emerged victorious in the latest annual JD Power and Associates US Vehicle Dependability Study, which was topped by its Lexus luxury brand and also included stablemates Toyota and Scion in the top ten.

Lexus, which reclaimed overall dependability leadership after placing just fourth last year, topped the charts with surveyed owners reporting just 86 problems per 100 vehicles in their first three years of ownership.

The result easily bettered second-placed Porsche, which posted 98 problems and was the only other brand to score less than 100.

Cadillac and Toyota were tied in third place with 104 problems, ahead of Scion (110), Mercedes-Benz (112), Lincoln (116), Ford (124), Buick and Hyundai (125), with Acura (129) and Honda (131) the only other brands to better the industry average 132.

 center imageFrom top: Porsche 911, Toyota Corolla, Chrysler 300C and Dodge Nitro.

The latter represents a 13 per cent reduction in the number of reported problems per 100 cars, continuing the steady improvement in build quality suggested since the 2007 study, when the industry average was 216 problems per 100.

Beyond the top 12 brands that exceeded the average score, the next five brands finished with fewer problems than last year’s industry average of 151: Chevrolet, Volvo, Audi, Smart and Subaru.

While most brands improved their JD Power dependability ranking over last year, with 25 of the 32 marques surveyed doing better than before, six fared worse and one remained static.

JD Power surveyed more than 31,000 US owners of 2009 model-year vehicles between October and December 2011 – immediately following the collapse of the Lehmann Brothers investment bank that triggered the global financial crisis which led to the bankruptcy of General Motors and Chrysler.

“Cars get better every year, but this year that improvement was even greater,” said JD Power vice-president of global automotive, David Sargent. “Despite all the turmoil, auto-makers were able to focus on building better vehicles.”

This year Lexus reclaimed the number one title it held for 14 years until 2009, when Buick and Jaguar became joint top-dogs, before Porsche and then Ford premium brand Lincoln claimed top honours.

While four Detroit brands placed in the top ten and GM’s Chevrolet finished just below the industry average in 13th, at the other end of the scale was Chrysler, which finished last with 192 problems per 100 vehicles – narrowly ahead of its three other brand Ram (174), Jeep (179) and Dodge (183).

“This was the worst possible place for Chrysler, with old vehicles developed without much money and on the brink of bankruptcy,” said Mr Sargent. “And yet these vehicles would have been among the best cars just a few years earlier.”

While Toyota topped the Japanese brands, Ford was the next best mainstream manufacturer in eighth place, just one problem ahead of Korean giant Hyundai.

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