June 30, 2004

Lexus tops vehicle dependability survey again

Westlake, Village, California – For the tenth consecutive year, Lexus ranked highest in the J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS). The Vehicle Dependability Study, a survey of over 48,000 owners, measures problem symptoms of 3-year-old vehicles, primarily in categories representing malfunctions; noise, vibration and harshness; driveability; dependability; and safety. Scores are measured in Problems per 100 Vehicles (PP100).

Lexus was followed in the rankings by Buick, Infiniti, Lincoln and Cadillac, respectively. The most improved brands over 2003 are Kia (77 PP100 improvement), Suzuki (38) and Audi (23), although all three continue to perform below the industry average.

With seven models topping their vehicle segments and Lexus ranking highest among nameplates, Toyota captures the top corporate ranking. The success of Toyota Motor Sales is further evidenced in the improvements of two of its segment-leading models. The Toyota Corolla, which consistently performs well in the highly competitive compact car segment, improved an impressive 30 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) from 2003. The Toyota MR2 Spyder also made significant improvements, recording 20 fewer problem incidences per 100 vehicles in the sporty car segment.

The Big Three Domestic manufacturers all recorded improvements in their corporate performances in the study over 2003. General Motors, which improved 2 PP100, remains the only Domestic manufacturer ranked above the industry average. However, Ford Motor Company and DaimlerChrysler made significant headway, improving 12 and 9 PP100, respectively. The most improved Domestic nameplates included Ford (improving 19 PP100), Lincoln (18), Mercury (16), Dodge (14), Cadillac (13), Plymouth (13), Chevrolet (10) and Chrysler (10).

“The Domestics are putting their money where their mouths are in terms of consistent long-term quality improvement,” said Joe Ivers, partner and executive director of quality/customer satisfaction at J.D. Power and Associates. “However, while the Domestics continue to outpace the Europeans in long-term quality, the Japanese continue to dominate.”

Segment-leading models highlighting the Domestic quality improvements include the Chrysler Concorde and the Ford Ranger, each improving by more than 20 percent in their segment, and the redesigned GMC Sierra HD in the heavy-duty full-size pickup segment, which improved by more than 30 percent over its predecessor.

The 2004 Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from more than 48,000 original owners of 2001 model-year cars and light trucks.

Connect with Autos.ca