It’s a continuing love story for most owners and their vehicles as overall dependability for three-year-old vehicles improves 4% from last year, according to the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS), released today.
“Vehicle dependability continues to improve, but I wouldn’t say that everything is rosy,” said Dave Sargent, Vice President of Global Automotive at J.D. Power. “Vehicles are more reliable than ever, but automakers are wrestling with problems such as voice recognition, transmission shifts and battery failures. Flawless dependability is a determining factor in whether customers remain loyal to a brand, so manufacturers need to help customers who are currently experiencing vehicle problems and address these trouble spots on future models.”
The study, now in its 30th year, measures the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100) during the past 12 months by original owners of three-year-old model-year vehicles. The 2019 study measures problems in model year 2016 vehicles. A lower score reflects higher quality, and the study covers 177 specific problems grouped into eight major vehicle categories.
Lexus ranks highest in overall vehicle dependability among all brands, with a score of 106 PP100. This is the eighth consecutive year Lexus ranks highest. Porsche and Toyota rank second in a tie with 108 PP100 each. Chevrolet and Buick round out the top five.
Chrysler is the most-improved brand, with a reduction of 65 PP100 since 2018. Other brands with strong gains include MINI (improvement of 34 PP100) and Subaru (improvement of 31 PP100).
General Motors Company receives five segment awards for the Buick LaCrosse, Buick Verano, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Silverado HD and Chevrolet Sonic.
Toyota Motor Corporation receives four segment awards for the Lexus ES, Lexus GX, Toyota Camry and Toyota Tundra.
Following are additional key findings of the 2019 study:
Vehicle dependability improves but at a slower rate: The industry average for 2019 is 136 PP100, an improvement of 6 PP100 from last year, which is a lower rate of improvement than the 14 PP100 in 2018 compared with 2017.
Mass market brands outperform luxury brands in dependability for first time: Model year 2016 mass market brands average 135 PP100 compared with 141 PP100 for luxury brands.
German brands show notable improvement: Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen all improve this year. Along with Porsche, all Germany brands are better than the industry average, the first time this has happened in the 30 years of the study.
Most Dependable Model: The Porsche 911 is the highest-ranked model in the 2019 study. This is the first year that a Most Dependable Model has been awarded.
“The used-vehicle market is where dealers can see increased profits this year,” said Jonathan Banks, Vice President of Vehicle Analysis and Analytics at J.D. Power. “Stocking dealership lots with vehicles having strong dependability scores will help support new-vehicle sales in the future, create a positive brand perception and drive foot traffic.”
The 2019 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from 32,952 original owners of 2016 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. The study was fielded in October-December 2018.