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Click above for results of the 2010 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study

J.D. Power and Associates has just released its 2010 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS)... and Porsche, Lincoln and Buick have climbed on the podium (Buick, Jaguar and Lexus occupied the top spots in last year's 2009 Vehicle Dependability Study). The German automaker demonstrated a significant jump in quality (up ten spots) with Ford's brand hot on its heels (up six positions). While Buick dropped down, its score was indicative of improved quality – however, the bar had been raised.

This year's VDS found that several brands that perform well in the firm's dependability study are avoided due to public misperception about reliability. These brands include Cadillac, Ford, Hyundai, Lincoln and Mercury – all having the greatest lags between dependability performance and consumer perception. "Producing vehicles with world-class quality is just part of the battle for automakers; convincing consumers to believe in their quality is equally as important," says a J.D. Power and Associates spokesperson.

The Vehicle Dependability Study is designed to accurately measure problems experienced by original owners of three-year-old (2007 model year) vehicles. This year's study was based on responses from more than 52,000 vehicle owners surveys between October and December of 2009. Scores are based on the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with lower scores reflecting higher vehicle quality. The complete J.D. Power press release and charts can be found after the jump and in the gallery below.

[Source: J.D. Power.com]
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J.D. Power and Associates Reports:

Despite Overall Industry Improvement in Long-Term Dependability, Some Vehicle Brands
Don't Receive the Credit They're Due

Japanese Models Capture Nine Segment Awards, While Domestic Models Garner Seven and European Models Earn Three

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 18 March 2010 - Twenty-five of 36 vehicle brands have improved in long-term dependability in 2010 compared with their performance in 2009, continuing a steady trend of industry-wide improvement. However, for some of these brands, consumer perceptions have not kept pace with their actual performance, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS) released today.

The study, which measures problems experienced by original owners of three-year-old (2007 model year) vehicles, includes 198 different problem symptoms across all areas of the vehicle. Overall dependability is determined by the level of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality.

The Vehicle Dependability Study is used extensively by vehicle manufacturers worldwide to help design and build better vehicles-which typically translates to higher resale values-and by consumers to help them make more-informed choices for both new- and used- vehicle purchases. According to J.D. Power and Associates, among new-vehicle shoppers, perception of quality and dependability is the most influential factor in their decision to purchase a specific vehicle model.

The study finds that several brands that perform well in long-term dependability in 2010 are avoided at relatively high rates due to consumer concerns about dependability. Among brands included in VDS, Cadillac, Ford, Hyundai, Lincoln and Mercury have the greatest lags between dependability performance and consumer perception.

"Producing vehicles with world-class quality is just part of the battle for automakers; convincing consumers to believe in their quality is equally as important," said David Sargent, vice president of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates. "It takes considerable time to positively change consumer perceptions of quality and dependability-sometimes a decade or more-so it is vital for manufacturers to continually improve quality and also to convince consumers of these gains."

According to Sargent, approaches that can help reinforce perceptions of high quality in consumers' minds include: providing extended warranties, which demonstrates a brand's faith in its products; incorporating features, materials and finishes in vehicles that have a rich feel; and ensuring that new models launch with better quality than their predecessors. In addition, automakers need to increase communication efforts about their high quality and dependability through social media channels such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter as well as through traditional channels.

Toyota continues to perform well in long-term dependability and garners four segment awards-more than any other nameplate in 2010-for the Highlander, Prius, Sequoia and Tundra. Honda receives three segment awards for the CR-V, Fit and Ridgeline. Lincoln captures two awards for the Mark LT and MKZ. Models by Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and Mercury each receive an award in their respective segments.

Porsche leads the overall nameplate rankings in 2010, which is consistent with its performance in the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Initial Quality Study,SM which measures new-vehicle quality at 90 days of ownership. Lincoln improves by six rank positions from 2009 to follow Porsche in the nameplate rankings. Rounding out the top five nameplates are Buick, Lexus and Mercury. In addition, seven of the 10 models with the lowest incidence of problems in the industry are from Ford and General Motors, including the 2007 model-year Buick Lacrosse, Buick Lucerne, Cadillac DTS, Ford Five Hundred, Lincoln MKZ, Mercury Milan, and Mercury Montego.

Overall vehicle dependability has improved by 7 percent in 2010 to an average of 155 PP100, compared with 167 PP100 in 2009 -a rate that is consistent with historical industry gains. In addition to the improvement in overall dependability, the rate of component replacement has also been reduced from 2009. Approximately 65 percent of owners indicate they replaced a vehicle component in 2010, compared with 68 percent in 2009.

"The improvements in long-term dependability and component replacement rates are good news for both consumers and manufacturers," said Sargent. "Manufacturers benefit from lower warranty expenses, while consumers incur lower maintenance and repair costs, as well as less inconvenience."

The study also finds that long-term dependability has a significant positive effect on repurchase intent. Among owners who say they did not experience problems with their vehicle, 43 percent indicate they "definitely will" repurchase their current brand. This figure declines to 28 percent among owners who say they experienced at least one problem with their vehicle.

The 2010 Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from more than 52,000 original owners of 2007 model-year vehicles. The study was fielded between October and December 2009.

Find more detailed findings on vehicle dependability as well as model photos and specs by reading an article and reviewing brand and segment dependability ratings at JDPower.com.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global information services company meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts, Capital IQ, J.D. Power and Associates, McGraw-Hill Construction and Aviation Week. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2009 were $5.95 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Face it, for the most part, The domestics have finally joined the fight. I still think that the final word has not been written on the US Auto industry, and going forward, one would have to be incredibly stupid and or biased not consider a domestic when shopping for a vehicle.

      To Ford: While I like most of the "Ford" products, it's your Lincoln division that troubles me the most. This is coming from a current Lincoln owner. Design-wise, your entire line up SUCKS. In almost every case, save the MKZ, the "Ford" version of your cars are much more palatable than its Lincoln bretheren.

      Taurus could have easily been badged as a Lincoln, MKS (I find squinting, makes this car more likable)

      Flex though bland, is more likable than the MKT (was the beluga whale your inspiration here?). You would have to be blindfolded to actually buy this car.

      Edge wipes the floor with the MKX (MKX very popular the blue haired ladies in my 'hood).

      An opportunity is really being missed with the Mercury brand. Turn these guys loose. Rebadging euro models is not the answer. This should be your niche market brand, take some risks here that Ford and Lincoln cannot take.

        • 5 Years Ago
        The reason they can't take a chance with Mercury is because Mercury sells more cars than Lincoln, and the dealers need the volume. However bland they may be. As for Lincoln, I do think they need to improve their designs. They are just to ehh. Nothing special and in the case of the MKT downright awful.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Quote: ""Face it, for the most part, The domestics have finally joined the fight. ""

        Finally?? Lincoln and Buick have been placing at the top or near the top of the JD Power ranking for decades.
      • 5 Years Ago
      JD Power and CR seem to get very similar results when they conduct these quality studies. Considering that they have two very different methods of gathering data, I'd say they must be somewhat accurate.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That was meant for Gardiner Westbound, total fail on my part.
      • 5 Years Ago
      they should make a study about how seriously people take these studies in different countries.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is this long term quality study?
      This result show Hyundai surpass Infiniti, Kia surpass Nissan.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The third paragraph tells it all...

        "The Vehicle Dependability Study is designed to accurately measure problems experienced by original owners of three-year-old (2007 model year) vehicles. This year's study was based on responses from more than 52,000 vehicle owners surveys between October and December of 2009."
        • 5 Years Ago
        I believe it is based on 2007 models or 3 years old. Interesting time frame as it usually coincides with the end of a typical lease. This study means very little to me as I drive them until it is no longer economically feasible to do so. My everyday car is 14 years old and approacing 250K miles and costs very little to maintain. Maybe I will consider a new car at 300K miles.
        • 5 Years Ago
        it says 2010 vehicle - so maybe this is the first 3 months of ownership

      • 5 Years Ago
      well, Buick has a much softer suspension tunning than Pontiacs so issues like rattles and such woudl not show up in Buicks for a while longer

      te stiff suspension might also hurt other components more, adn you could have wire harness issues that a soft suspension will not have

      • 5 Years Ago
      Can't make up mind whether the J.D. Power ratings are credible.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yay Subaru and Saab right in the middle lol. I own "middie" cars, sweet.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Chrysler is statistically tied with BMW and Volvo, and a little better than Chevrolet. Dodge is just a little behind Nissan and Audi and statistically tied with Mazda. Only Jeep is in the VW/Suzuki/Land Rover territory. Is that because of the more complex 4wd systems? Or are the customers more demanding (or more abusive)?

      If Chrysler continues to improve the quality of materials like the new Grand Cherokee and Ram and the reliability goes up a few notches they will start to dig themselves out of their hole.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Being slightly better than BMW in quality is nothing to be proud of..."

        I guess you could say the same for Nissan too.

        You're right of course, but if you walked up to someone on the street and said who makes a more reliable car BMW or Chrysler? How many would automatically say BMW? I'm pointing out the perception not the same as reality. At the time Daimler gobbled up Chrysler, everyone, including the media which should have known better, said that Mercedes would "help" Chrysler with their reliability, when in fact Mercedes had scored lower numerous times in the Power surveys.
        • 5 Years Ago
        psch. that's nothing. try loosing active steering on a 545i @ 80, that's fun. I'm not sure how many cars bmw would sell.. erm... i mean lease... were it not for their free maintenance which is, very much, essential.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Being slightly better than BMW in quality is nothing to be proud of. BMW's mechanical quality is top notch but there are a ton of electrical issues. Had a friend that bought a 3 Series (automatic) back in 2005 that stalled out the dealer's lot due to a computer bug.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah Chazz that was an E39. Reliable beast of a car those. Newer Bimmers, not so much. The Bangle era was not kind to BMW's reliability and I see them having problems, perceived and actual, in the coming years as they seem content to use free service plans rather than engineering to address the issue. It's going to demolish their resale value. You can already see it in the 3-series. Early E90's are dropping like rocks while late E46's are stable. And E60 5'ers aren't fairing much better. A shame.

        I'd also be interested if Autoblog could get a hold of Manual vs. Automatic stats from Bavaria as I'd consider that a great gauge of enthusiast vs. rich status buyers.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I question the validity of the study for a car company that sells a lot of second/weekend/fun cars.

      And if you think Porsche did well, you should see how well Ariel did!
        • 5 Years Ago
        They sell 40pct of Cayennes, almost same share of 911. Both of them are perfect daily drivers. 6pct for the Panorama abortion, which also counts as a daily driver if u ask me...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Porsche sells significantly more cars than a lot of other car companies, hence the reason it is even in that list. And I wouldn't call a Porsche Cayenne a weekend/fund car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hey Rick. 110 PP100 is equivalent to 1.1 problems per vehicle. Your statement is not accurate. It is not correct that fewer problems are reported on vehicles that have fewer sales. You may just have smaller sample sizes. The results are an average. Otherwise the study wouldn't be representative from a market research point of view and false claims/statements would be published under the JD Power name.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have always wondered why Buick always or usually claims a top or midlevel spot on JD Powers surveys. Other than being boring looking cars, Buick is just like other GM products, they share platforms, i.e., the engines, transmissions, suspensions, and I am sure other parts, besides the actual body panels, with other divisions like Chevy and the deceased Pontiac. So why would only Buick be considered more dependable than the others? I guess I'm wondering what parts does the Buick Regals have that are more reliable than in Pontiac Grand Prixs , which is basically the same car?
        • 5 Years Ago
        true , old people drive slower and are more careful. they also drive less , a 3 year old pensioner's car will have less miles and is treated more gently than a car used by young people with kids.
        • 5 Years Ago
        One could argue that Buick's older customer demographic is less likely to notice problems with the automobile or they tend to drive their cars much easier than younger owners. Thus, increased 'reliability.'
      • 5 Years Ago
      Land Rover needs to pull itself up.
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