Most dependable auto brands, 2004 — PinoyExchange

Most dependable auto brands, 2004

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Most dependable auto brands, 2004
Reported problems per 100 vehicles

Lexus 162
Buick 187
Infiniti 189
Lincoln 194
Cadillac 196
Honda 209
Acura 212
Toyota 216
Mercury 224
Porsche 240
Source: J.D. Power and Associates
Chicago Tribune

Dependably, Lexus 1st; 3 U.S. brands in Top 5

By Rick Popely
Tribune staff reporter
Published June 30, 2004

Lexus owners continue to experience the fewest problems among vehicle brands, but three domestic brands placed among the Top 5 in an annual dependability study.

Toyota's luxury division led the industry for the 10th straight year with 162 problems per 100 vehicles in J.D. Power and Associates' 2004 Vehicle Dependability Study. Lexus has placed first every year it was eligible for the study, which measures things gone wrong in 3-year-old vehicles.

General Motors' Buick division was second with 187 problems, and Infiniti, Nissan's luxury division, was third with 189. Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln division ranked fourth and GM's Cadillac fifth, topping Toyota and Honda, Japanese brands known for quality.

Honda ranked sixth and Toyota eighth among the 37 brands measured in a survey of 48,000 owners of 2001 model year vehicles.

Despite their gains, domestic brands suffer from an image of low quality that makes their vehicles harder to sell, said Joe Ivers, Power's executive director of quality and customer satisfaction.

"It takes a long time for a reputation to get healed," Ivers said. "Perception may lag reality by as much as 10 years. Many people just won't consider a domestic product, and the reason is the perception of quality. That's their challenge."

GM spokesman Dan Flores said the No. 1 automaker is trying to combat the quality perception by offering overnight test drives and other lures to get shoppers into their vehicles.

"It is a legitimate issue, and one we generated ourselves," he said. "Our research shows that if we can get people into a GM vehicle, in many cases we can change that perception."

GM, Ford and the Chrysler Group also improved in Power's recent Initial Quality Study, which measures problems in the first 90 days of ownership.

However, the Big Three have continued to lose market share to the Japanese this year despite offering incentives averaging more than $3,500 per vehicle. Through May, domestic share fell 1.2 points, to 59.2 percent, and the Japanese gained 1.7 points, to 30.4. Though the quality perceptions do not account for all the market share changes, they do figure into them.

When automakers report June sales Thursday, analysts expect GM and Ford to post flat or lower results and Toyota, Honda and Nissan to grab bigger chunks of the market.

Among manufacturers in the dependability study, GM ranked fourth behind Toyota Motor Sales, American Honda Motor Co. and Porsche. GM was the only domestic-based manufacturer to beat the industry average of 269.

Nissan dropped to sixth among manufacturers from fourth last year and finished below the industry average.

Ivers cited problems with brake and wind noise, uneven tire wear and seats on the Xterra and Pathfinder sport-utility vehicles in Nissan's decline.

Among brands making quality strides were Ford, whose problems fell 6.5 percent and Chrysler, which improved 3.4 percent.

Though luxury brands dominated the top five, Ford's Jaguar division fell to 25th place from 11th in 2003. Jaguar's problem count rose to 310 from 247 last year primarily because of numerous complaints about its S-Type models, including brake noise, traction control, tire wear and squeaks and rattles.

For the second year in a row, Mercedes-Benz declined, falling one place to 28th, behind DaimlerChrysler's three domestic brands, Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep.

BMW and Porsche were the only European brands to score above the industry average, and Ford's Land Rover unit fell to last place with 472 problems per 100 vehicles.

Land Rover said in a statement that the 2001 models were engineered before its acquisition by Ford and that quality will improve as new models are introduced.

Land Rover had 22 percent fewer problems in this year's initial-quality study.

Ivers said expensive electronic gadgets such as navigation systems that malfunctioned or were hard to operate generated complaints on European vehicles. He predicted manufacturers will stop packing as many devices into their vehicles.

"In general, more componentry means there are more things to fail," he said. "Many European manufacturers that are technology leaders are having to come to grips with this."

Mercedes spokeswoman Donna Boland said the German automaker has not announced a reduction in electronic features but said that may change.

Electronic glitches were not the major problem areas for Mercedes, she said. The top three were excessive brake dust on wheels, uneven tire wear and brake noise.

"I think that says something about the level of expectations our owners have," Boland said.

Mercedes ranked 10th in Power's initial-quality study on 2004 models that was released in April, up from 15th the year before. Boland says that bodes well for future scores in the dependability study.

But not necessarily, according to Ivers.

Take Korean brand Hyundai. It earned a surprising seventh-place ranking in the initial-quality study for 2004 models but ranked 32nd in the dependability study that covered 2001 models.

"They're gotten to the point where they've pretty much mastered initial quality. The results for longer term quality just aren't there yet," Ivers said.

Good initial quality doesn't always result in long-term dependability, Ivers said, but poor initial quality never translates into high dependability scores.

Power says half of car buyers base their decisions in part on long-term quality and one-third rely on initial quality as a factor.,1,4458441.story?coll=chi-news-hed


  • elyserva
    elyserva Crazy Penguin
    Dito sa Saudi, Toyota pa rin! Most reliable and highest resale value of any car make!
  • Yay my car is ranked 7th best=/
  • Lincoln is a ford division... I drive a ford... I guess my car ranks 4th? hehehehehe..

    Dont hate the fords! bwahahahahaha!
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