Year after year, the long-term dependability of three-year-old models continues to improve. Now in its 24th year, the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) measures problems experienced during the last twelve months by original owners of three-year-old vehicles. Dependability is determined by the number of problems experienced by 100 vehicles (PP100). Low scores reflect higher quality.
In 2013, models that were new or significantly redesigned for 2012 averaged 116 PP100. Models unchanged from the 2009 model year received a score of 133 PP100. 2013 marks the first year that there are fewer problems reported for all-new or redesigned models than carryover models. The study was redesigned in 2009.
“There is a perception that all-new models that undergo a major redesign, are more problematic than carryover models,” said David Sargent, the vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates.
Overall vehicle dependability averaged 126 PP100, which is a five percent improvement from the 132 PP100 average of 2012. Since the beginning of the study in 1989 there hasn’t been a lower problem count. Twenty-one of the thirty-one of the brands measured improved in dependability from 2012, with domestics improving better than imports.
The fewer problems an owner experiences makes them more loyal to the brand. J. D. Power and Associates Power Information Network found that 54 percent of owners will stay with the same brand when purchasing a new car if they don’t experience any problems. However, when three or more problems are experienced, that brand loyalty drops to 41 percent.
Lexus and Toyota are among the top rated vehicles among all nameplates in the survey, with the Lexus RX having the fewest number of reported problems in the industry at 57 PP100. This marks the first time a crossover or SUV has achieved this. Toyota earned seven segment awards with the Lexus ES 350, Lexus RX, Scion xB, Scion xD, Toyota Prius, Toyota Sienna, and Toyota RAV4. No other automaker in 2013 achieved this many awards. The top five most dependable nameplates are Lexus, Porsche, Lincoln, Toyota, and Mercedes-Benz.
The Vehicle Dependability Study is used by manufacturers to help with design and building higher-quality vehicles. This translates to higher resale values and customer loyalty. The 2013 VDS was based on responses from over 37,000 original owners of 2010 model year vehicles, fielded between October and December 2012.
Source: J.D. Power and Associates