Scion earned top honors in Consumer Reports' annual rel... Scion earned top honors in Consumer Reports' annual reliability survey, and the xD, above, ranked as its most reliable model. (Toyota).
Automakers have made substantial gains in building sturdier engines and transmissions over the past five years, according to a Consumer Reports study on automotive reliability released Monday.

But they ran into substantial trouble adding electronic equipment and computer systems into their vehicles, the Annual Reliability Study also found.

The problems negated the improvements, said Jake Fisher, the director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports. "Overall, reliability is about the same as it was five years ago," he said Monday at a press conference to announce the findings in Detroit.

Toyota swept the top three spots in the reliability rankings. Its Scion brand captured the most-reliable spot for the second consecutive year, while the flagship Toyota brand ranked second and its Lexus luxury brand took third. More than 90 percent of its models tested ranked average or better.

Japanese automakers carried the top seven spots in the rankings.

But the biggest story that emerged from the findings was Ford's plunge. The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker finished 27th of 28 brands ranked. Only two years ago, Consumer Reports had hailed Ford as a "poster child" of reliability. Fisher attributed Ford's rapid descent to problems in new versions of the Explorer, Fiesta and Focus as well as widespread hiccups with its MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch infotainment system.

"Ford had a really bad year this year," Fisher said.

He said customers reported problems that were not minor. Often, cars equipped with the infotainment systems needed to go back to the dealerships to get the car computer completely rebooted.

Consumer Reports' bases its study on information collected from car owners on the Consumer Reports National Research Center database, and is based on the three most recent model years, so long as the models were not redesigned for 2013.

That exception could hurt Ford further in the years ahead, because the '13 Escape was not included in the rankings--a vehicle that has already been recalled three times since its launch.
Sixty-percent of Ford-branded models and 50-percent of Lincoln models fared below average in predicted reliability, and none fared above average, according to the study.

Ford said the Consumer Reports results matched internal data the company had received, although officials added that the company made major improvement earlier this year, and that the survey lagged behind current trends.

"Consumer Reports is hugely important to Ford; you can't dismiss Consumer Reports in any way," said Ford spokesperson Mark Schirmer. "We offered a major improvement to MyFord Touch in the spring and began offering new transmission calibrations this summer. Unfortunately, there are still some bugs in the system that we are working through."

It was bleak news overall for American automakers. No American brands finished in the top 10, and there are no new models offered by Detroit's Big Three that fell on Consumer Reports' recommended list. Cadillac was perhaps the lone success story, jumping 14 places in the rankings to No. 11, the first American car on the rankings.

Its CTS coupe ranked as the most reliable domestic car. Several other GM nameplates – Buick, Chevrolet and GMC – also moved upward. The Chevy Volt continues to have above-average reliability (significant since there is so much technology in the Volt), according to Consumer Reports, while the Chevy Cruze, improved to average.

Other notable items from the survey: Audi earned the biggest climb in the rankings, rising eighteen spots to No. 8 overall. Consumer Reports says that Mazda, fourth overall, is "hot on the tail" of the three Toyota brands ahead, and lauded the all-new CX-5 crossover as "much better than average." Subaru's standing improved, with a redesigned Impreza boosting its status.

Sharon Silke Carty and Scott Burgess contributed to this story.

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      • 2 Years Ago
      I had to file the lemon law,. businesses are not allowed to file for arbitration with Ford. Had a problem with the vehicle coming out of gear and losing power . They treated me like I was crazy until finally I was pulled over and received a warning ticket from the local police because the back up lights were blinding the people behind me. At that point the dealership figured out that I was not fabricating my story (since they could never " re-create the problem" in the numerous times the car was at the dealer) Well come to find out the part they replaced 6 months in was improperly installed yet I was forced to drive a vehicle that was unsafe during that one year period and pay over $3200.00 in rental car fees and lost time. Needless to say this is my last Ford ! I recently purchased my first Nissan van for field use There were other numerous problems in this time frame fuel injector failed, tail lights constantly peeled, service bulletin on brakes now paint is coming off the door handles.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Toyota just recalled ANOTHER 5.3 million cars for fires, on a problem they and the NTSB has known about for 4.5 years. Who is more reliable, recall them as soon as you find a problem or let it go on for years. And how much does Toyota pay the NTSB?
      • 2 Years Ago
      These"reports" are mADE up by a bunch of Japanese Rice burner lovers and do NOT influence me whatsoever..FORD is the best...Toyota,Nissan,et al SUCK!
      • 2 Years Ago
      My experience with Toyota Camry has been worse than with Ford Taurus. Not that Fords don't have problems, but the Toyotas have more problems (suspension, strutts, exhaust and cooling systems) and cost a lot more to repair .....
      Zombie Zapper
      • 2 Years Ago
      Only traitors drive jap. Real Amercans do not.
      Zombie Zapper
      • 2 Years Ago
      Only traitors drive japanese. Real americans do not
      • 2 Years Ago
      To quote a famous "fictional chief engineer of the most famous starship known" - "The more they over make the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain." - Referring to the much hailed and "highly superior" U.S.S. Excelsior that he simply took out of commission by removing a handful of tiny components out of her "Transwarp computer drive"......Technology isn't always what it's cracked up to be and we shouldn't always blindly put our faith in it.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Exactly as i predicted ford will be dead with-in the next year as will g.m as well just another same senario as 08.. japanese sales runs them out of business..for toyota and honda and kia are now the cars once again with these idiots in america...Oh and in japan there loyalty remains with there products..just the opposite in america as we love anything asian owned or made..
      • 2 Years Ago
      FORD- Found On Road Dead
      Aviation Finance
      • 2 Years Ago
      You might believe this article if it wasn't "bought & paid for"..... Altogether a VERY misleading "report".....
      • 2 Years Ago
      Toyota one of best brand for car's and most reliable , but it was shock to hear that no american brand stood in top ten
      • 2 Years Ago
      I've driven German cars for 25 years. I've had Audis, VWs, BMWs, and Mercedes. I bought a Ford Edge five years ago. It was my first American car in decades. In the years I've had my car, the only repairs I've had were three light bulbs(brake and turn signal) and new front brake pads--almost all my driving is stop and go city driving. I don't think I've ever owned a better car.
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