The annual U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study of the J.D. Power and Associates found that automakers built much improved cars three years ago, during the worst period of the global financial crisis. The study found that the improvement in dependability of three-year-old 2009 vehicles from the previous year was one of the biggest ever measured. J.D. Power's vice president of global vehicle research, David Sargent, said that throughout the industry, owners posted an average of 132 problems per 100 in vehicles they had owned for three years. This figure is 13% lower than the previous year.
He acknowledged that cars improve each year but the improvement for that year was “even greater” as the automakers focused on making better vehicles. J.D. Power measured 32 brands. Of this number, 25 brands improved vehicle dependability from the previous year. One stayed even while six experienced a drop. The top three spots were taken by luxury brands. After three years, Lexus owners reported the fewest problems with 86 per 100.
Porsche was second and Cadillac came in at third. Toyota is No. 4 and Scion is ranked fifth. Also seen at the top 10 are Mercedes-Benz, Lincoln, Ford and Buick, and Hyundai. The only other companies that posted above the industry average of 132 were Acura and Honda.
Meanwhile, Chevrolet, Volvo, Audi, Smart and Subaru finished with fewer problems than last year's industry average of 151. Chrysler Group's four brands ended up at the bottom of the list, with between 174 and 192 problems for each 100. However, Sargent describes them as a reflection of the industry's continuous quality improvement over the last 20 years.