Yonkers, New York – Honda and Toyota still dominate in reliability, but Ford and General Motors are catching up, according to Consumer Reports’ 2010 Annual Auto Survey. The magazine also noted that some European companies are among the lowest in the ratings.

The magazine said that while some GM nameplates had been among the least reliable brands in past years, they now rank above such competitors as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Factors include new models that are proving reliable from the time they were launched, and the discontinuation of many models with sub-par reliability, such as from Saturn, Pontiac and Hummer. However, the major Asian automakers are still out in front of the company.

Among the three domestics, Ford continues to build the most reliable vehicles, while Chrysler lags behind the other two. GM made the most progress of the three in the survey, with 69 per cent of its models showing average or better reliability, and Cadillac improving the most by rising seven places from last year’s ranking. Chevrolet had 83 per cent of its models rated average or better scores in predicted reliability, up from 50 per cent.

In the new survey, based on 1.3 million vehicles, 90 per cent of Ford and Lincoln models have at least average reliability. As a brand, Ford now outranks Mazda and Nissan, and ranks just below Lexus.

Despite recent safety recalls, Toyota, Scion and Lexus remained among the most reliable, earning top scores in five categories: Yaris for small car, FJ Cruiser for midsize SUV, Lexus LX for luxury SUV, Sienna V6 FWD for minivan, and Tundra V6 for full-size pickup. Only the all-wheel drive Lexus GS and new Lexus IS 250 convertible scored below average, while the redesigned 2010 Toyota Prius scored only average.

Hyundai and Kia continued to do well, with only the Kia Sedona minivan rated below average. All six new models for 2010 – the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Sonata and Tucson, and Kia Forte, Sorento and Soul – had average or better reliability, which the magazine said was an impressive first-year showing.

Nissan rated average or better for the Altima, Maxima, Murano and Pathfinder. The Titan and Nissan Cube were rated below average. Infiniti models were all average or better. Subaru received a top rating for the four-cylinder Legacy sedan and non-turbo Forester SUV; only the WRX rated below average.

The magazine said that while European reliability had been improving, momentum seems to have stalled. All Porsche and Volvo models rated average or better, but BMW had five of its eleven models scoring below average; six of Mercedes-Benz’s 13 models were below average, and nearly three-quarters of the Audi models analyzed were below average. Volkswagen’s Golf and Jetta models scored average or better.

The Porsche Boxster had the best predicted reliability score in the survey, while the Audi A6 3.0T and Jaguar XF were rated the worst.

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