Toyota top in 2013 reliability but US marques show resurgence

Chris Davies - Feb 13, 2013, 10:15 am CST
Toyota top in 2013 reliability but US marques show resurgence

Auto reliability is up 5-percent overall, J.D. Power has declared for 2013, with some surprises for US manufacturers including General Motors, though Toyota stands clear as the overall winner despite its accelerator hangover. The Japanese firm dominated in seven segments, across all three of its Lexus, Toyota, and Scion brands, in the 2013 vehicle dependability study, based on 37,000 reports from 2010-year vehicles.

Singled out for praise were the Lexus ES 350, Lexus RX, Scion xB, Scion xD, Toyota Prius, Toyota Sienna, and the  Toyota RAV4, with the Lexus RX topping the chart for the fewest reported problems. Porsche, Lincoln, Toyota, and Mercedes Benz close out the top five marques.

However, it’s not just Lincoln flying the flag for American auto companies. General Motors snatched four awards in total, with the Buick Lucerne, Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Tahoe, and the GMC Sierra HD all getting segment awards. Ford’s Ranger clinched an award in its segment, too, while Chrysler’s Ram saw the biggest year-on-year improvement in reliability.

If there were any doubts that reliability affects repurchasing behavior, J.D. Power’s findings dismiss them. 54-percent of owners stick with their current brand when buying their next vehicle, assuming they’ve had no problems with their existing vehicle. However, that brand loyalty drops to 41-percent after three or more issues; it’s even more of an issue among premium car brands, owner loyalty for which drops to 39-percent under the same circumstances.

That’s worth remembering for marques like the Lincoln Motor Company, which are attempting to refresh their image with a more luxury feel. However, it’s also a reality-check for the potential impact of high-profile safety recalls, as Toyota in particular has suffered from in recent months. In January, the company was forced to recall 1.1m cars worldwide, while the month before it paid out a $1.1bn settlement over acceleration lawsuits.

Despite Toyota cars bouncing back to the service centers like ping pong balls, that doesn’t appear to have negatively impacted its showing in the J.D. Power survey.

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