J.D. Power just released its annual Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS). This closely monitored report gives automakers and consumers a good idea of how well the industry is doing when it comes to quality.
VDS focuses on long-term reliability by monitoring defects, malfunctions and design-related issues with three-year old vehicles still being driven by their original owners. Dependability is scored in problems per 100 vehicles. In other words, its a look at the most reliable car brands.
The latest installment of this survey covers issues with cars and trucks from the 2012 model year. It dovetails neatly with the firm’s Initial Quality Study, which monitors problems reported during the first three months of ownership.
For 2015 the folks at J.D. Power have published a number of interesting findings. Not surprisingly the most problem-prone areas of today’s vehicles are related to Bluetooth connectivity and voice recognition. Exterior concerns also popped up as did powertrain issues, namely automatic transmission shift quality. Overall 177 specific problems are monitored in this report.
So, how did car companies do overall? Well, here are the 10 highest-ranked automakers in the 2015 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study based on how they fared over a three-year period.
Making it in the top 10 is Chevrolet. The bow-tie brand ended up with a score of 123 problems per 100 vehicles (tying with GMC), quite a bit better than the industry average of 147; remember, lower is better, just like LDL cholesterol. The Camaro, Malibu and Silverado nameplates each won an award in their respective segments.
Toyota’s youth-oriented Scion brand may be in the doldrums from a sales standpoint but it’s going places in the quality department. It improved to 121 problems per 100 vehicles, dropping by 13 compared to last year’s VDS. Mitsubishi and Ram posted similar improvements, though they didn’t quite crack the top 10. Scion’s tC, xB and xD each won an award.
Luxury means complexity, which often translates into cantankerousness and extra maintenance costs. But the folks in Stuttgart have figured out how to avoid having issues with their feature-laden cars and trucks. Mercedes-Benz drove away with a score of just 119 problems per 100 vehicles. Their E-Class was the highest-ranked midsize premium car topping the Lincoln MKS and Infiniti M. The GLK also won top honors among compact premium SUVs.
Speaking of Ford’s pseudo-luxury division, Lincoln topped Mercedes by one point, ending up with a score of 118. And while it didn’t win any specific awards its MKS and MKZ sedans performed admirably.
Arguably Porsche is the quintessential builder of thoroughbred sports cars. Zuffenhausen knows a thing or two about putting smiles on drivers’ faces, they’ve been doing it for decades. According to J.D. Power they’re also champions of sound engineering, posting a score of just 116 problems per 100 vehicles. Like you needed another reason to buy a 911.
Honda tied Porsche by posting a score of 116. Its boxy Ridgeline was the highest-rated midsize pickup while the Fit and Civic also performed very well. The Capital H has a reputation for quality and they consistently impress day in and day out, year after year ...