Lexus achieved the highest ranking in vehicle dependability among all car brands in J.D. Power’s 2018 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, while Buick topped the mass-market brands by coming in at No. 3 overall.
The study measures the number of problems experienced over the past 12 months by the original owners of 2015 model-year vehicles. Lexus drivers reported 99 problems per 100 vehicles, while Buick drivers reported 116 problem per 100 cars.
Porsche was the No. 2 brand overall, followed by Buick, with Infiniti at No. 4, Kia at No. 5, Chevrolet and Hyundai tied for No. 6, BMW and Toyota tied for No. 8, and Lincoln and Nissan tied for No. 10.
Overall vehicle dependability improved 9 percent from 2017, the first time the industry score has improved since 2013. And mass-market brands continue to close the gap between their more expensive counterparts.
Dave Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power, said the findings show U.S. consumers are generally satisfied with their cars.
“For the most part, automotive manufacturers continue to meet consumers’ vehicle dependability expectations,” Sargent said in a statement. “A 9 percent improvement is extremely impressive, and vehicle dependability is, without question, at its best level ever.”
The lowest-performing brands were Chrysler (211 problems per 100 vehicles), Land Rover (204 problems), Fiat (192 problems), Jeep (188 problems) and Cadillac (186 problems).
Infotainment problems continue to draw the most complaints, with voice recognition and Bluetooth connectivity leading the list.
Jonathan Banks, vice president of vehicle analysis and analytics at J.D. Power, said dependability rankings can affect sales figures for new cars and the re-sale value of used vehicles.
“Strong dependability scores not only improve demand for used vehicles, but also are a contributor to higher residual values,” Banks said, also in a statement. “Improving dependability ultimately supports new vehicle sales and provides a better perception of the brand.”
Other findings in the study included Fiat being identified as the most improved brand, with its owners reporting 106 fewer problems per 100 cars this year than they did in the 2017 version of the study.
Infiniti jumped from 29th to 4th in the rankings and Nissan drivers reported 37 fewer problems per 100 cars than their counterparts in 2017 did. Ford drivers reported 31 fewer problems per 100 cars than they did in the 2017 study.
Kia (No. 5), Nissan (tied for No. 10) and Dodge (No. 24) achieved their best-ever rankings.
Toyota Motor Corp. models received six of the 19 segment awards, for the Lexus CT, Lexus ES, Lexus GS, Lexus RX, Toyota Prius and Toyota Tacoma. General Motors models, meanwhile, receive five segment awards for the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Traverse and Chevrolet Silverado.
The Audi Q3 was the only model in the 2018 study to receive an award in its first year.
6. (tie) Chevrolet
6. (tie) Hyundai
8. (tie) BMW
8. (tie) Toyota
10. (tie) Lincoln
10. (tie) Nissan
Source: J.D. Power
The top-ranked models in each segment:
Small car: Kia Rio
Small premium car: Lexus CT
Compact car: Toyota Prius
Compact premium car: Lexus ES
Midsize car: Chevrolet Malibu
Midsize sporty car: Dodge Challenger
Midsize premium car: Lexus GS
Large car: Buick LaCrosse
Small SUV: Hyundai Tucson
Small premium SUV: Audi Q3
Compact SUV: Chevrolet Equinox
Compact premium SUV: Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
Midsize pickup: Toyota Tacoma
Midsize SUV: Chevrolet Traverse
Midsize premium SUV: Lexus RX
Minivan: Honda Odyssey
Large SUV: Ford Expedition
Large light-duty pickup: Chevrolet Silverado
Large heavy-duty pickup: Ford Super Duty
Source: J.D. Power