Westlake Village, California – While numerous vehicle brands have improved in their long-term dependability, many consumers still have doubts about them, according to a new report by J.D. Power and Associates.

The report, 2010 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, found that 25 of 36 brands have improved in long-term dependability in 2010, compared with their performance in 2009, but for some of the brands, consumer perceptions have not kept pace with their actual performance.

The study measures problems experienced by original owners of three-year-old vehicles (2007 model year), including 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 study found that brands that performed well but are avoided at relatively high rates due to consumer concerns about dependability include Cadillac, Ford, Hyundai, Lincoln and Mercury (a brand no longer sold in Canada).

“Producing vehicles with world-class quality is just part of the battle for automakers,” said David Sargent, vice-president of global research. “Convincing consumers to believe in their quality is equally as important. 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.”

Toyota continued to perform well in long-term dependability, with four segment awards, more than any other nameplate in 2010, while Honda received three segment awards. Porsche led the overall nameplate rankings, while Lincoln improved by six positions to second place, followed by Buick, Lexus and Mercury.

The Cadillac DTS had the fewest problems in the industry, with just 76 PP100, the first time in more than a decade that a model from a domestic automaker has achieved the lowest PP100 score in the study. Seven of the ten models with the lowest incidence of problems were from Ford and General Motors; the others were the 2007 Buick LaCrosse (sold as the Allure in Canada), Buick Lucerne, Cadillac DTS, Ford Five Hundred, Lincoln MKZ, Mercury Milan and Mercury Montego.

Overall vehicle dependability has improved by seven per cent in 2010 to an average of 155 PP100, compared with 167 PP100 in 2009. In addition, the rate of component replacement has also been reduced from 2009, with approximately 65 per cent of owners reporting that they replaced a vehicle component in 2010, compared with 68 per cent in 2009.

In order, the 2010 nameplate rankings by PP100 were:
Porsche – 110
Lincoln – 114
Buick – 115
Lexus – 115
Mercury – 121
Toyota – 128
Honda – 132
Ford – 141
Mercedes-Benz – 142
Acura – 143
Hyundai – 148
Cadillac – 150
Infiniti – 150
Subaru – 155
Saab – 158
Saturn – 164
BMW – 165
GMC – 165
Chrysler – 166
Kia – 167
Volvo – 167
Hummer – 169
Jaguar – 175
Chevrolet – 176
Nissan – 180
Audi – 182
Dodge – 190
Pontiac – 192
Mazda – 195
Scion – 201
Mitsubishi – 202
Mini – 203
Jeep – 222
Volkswagen – 225
Suzuki – 253
Land Rover – 255

The top three models per segment, with models in order of placement, were as follows (segments with fewer than three models indicate that no other vehicles rated above the segment average):

Subcompact car – Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris

Compact car – Toyota Prius, Toyota Corolla, Pontiac Vibe

Compact sporty car – Mazda MX-5 Miata, Saturn Sky, Pontiac Solstice

Midsize sporty car – Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Toyota Solara, Ford Mustang

Midsize car – Buick LaCrosse (Allure), Mercury Milan, Honda Accord

Large car – Mercury Montego, tie: Buick Lucerne, Ford Five Hundred

Compact premium sporty car – BMW Z4

Entry premium vehicle – Lincoln MKZ, Acura TSX, Cadillac CTS

Midsize premium car – Audi A6, Lexus ES 350, tie: Cadillac STS, Infiniti M Series

Large premium car – Cadillac DTS, Lexus LS 460

Premium sporty car – Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, Porsche 911

Compact multi-activity vehicle – Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Hyundai Tucson

Midsize multi-activity vehicle – Toyota Highlander, Toyota 4Runner, Ford Freestyle

Large multi-activity vehicle – Toyota Sequoia, GMC Yukon, Ford Expedition

Large pickup – Toyota Tundra, Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado Classic Heavy-Duty

Midsize pickup – Honda Ridgeline, Dodge Dakota, Ford Ranger

Midsize van – Ford Freestar, Toyota Sienna, tie: Buick Terraza, Chrysler Town & Country

Midsize premium multi-activity vehicle – Lexus GX 470, Lexus RX, Infiniti FX

Large premium multi-activity vehicle – Lincoln Mark LT, Lincoln Navigator, Cadillac EXT

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