J.D. Power and Associates continued their now routineÂ praise of Buick, Lexus, and Porsche by giving the brands top honors in the company’s latest annualÂ dependability study.
The survey, which assesses the number of reported problems per 100 vehicles during the first three years of vehicle ownership, resulted in Lexus achieving top marks with only 99 claimed issues. Toyota’s premium brand (which has won seven years running) was followed closely by Porsche with 100 reported problems,Â whereas Buick was the “mass market” brand with the fewest faults at 116.
Issues pertaining to audio, communications, navigation, or entertainment systems continued to yield the highest number of complaints from consumers in 2018. However, the gap between luxury and mainstream brands appears to be closing, as most of last year’s top performers lost a little ground to mid-level mainstream competitors. Infiniti saw the most improvement overall, coming from the bottom of the pack in 2017 to take 4th overall this year. It was followed by Kia, withÂ 122 problems per 100 vehiclesÂ â€” proving that premium levels of quality are not exclusive to premium brands.Â
Speaking of which, suspiciously absent from J.D. Power’s listings was Tesla Motors. The study made no mention of the electric brand whatsoever. When questioned, Power explained that the automaker had not provided access to owner information, adding that a sufficiently large sample was unavailable for Tesla models to be included in the study.
Chevrolet, Hyundai, BMW, Toyota, Lincoln, Nissan, Honda, and Audi all managed to stay above the industry average of 142 problems per 100 vehicles. Mazda and Mercedes-Benz fell just short with 145 and 147 issues, respectively.
No longer positioned exclusively at the bottom of J.D. Power’s dependability list, Fiat Chrysler brands were spread throughout the bottom third for 2018. Dodge fared the best with 166 reported problems within the first three years of ownership, whileÂ Chrysler scored the worst with a lackluster 211Â â€” giving it the dubious honor of being the worst-performing brand in the survey.
Land Rover garnered the second-most reported incidents with 204, followed by Fiat and Jeep. Admittedly, FCA still didn’t do particularly well in 2018. But its overall performance did show notable improvements against last year’s standings.
A complete breakdown of all North American brands is available at J.D. Power’s website. Even a cursory examination reveals marked improvement in overall powertrain dependabilityÂ â€” at least within the first three years of ownershipÂ â€” and an industry that’s still coming to grips with how to help customers understand in-car technologies. Either that, or new tech has become aÂ quagmire for service centers.
“For the most part, automotive manufacturers continue to meet consumers’ vehicle dependability expectations,” explained Dave Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power. “A 9-percent improvement is extremely impressive, and vehicle dependability is, without question, at its best level ever.”