Consumer Reports Releases Car Reliability Survey
October 30, 2012

Toyota Tops Consumer Reports Car Reliability Survey, US Brands Fall Behind

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

The most reliable cars in the U.S. auto market are made by Toyota Motor Corp., according to the annual Consumer Reports´ auto-reliability survey released on Monday.

The top seven spots in the magazine´s predicted reliability report are all held by Japanese brands, with three Toyota Motor Corp.´s brands holding the top spots, followed by Mazda Motor Corp.´s Mazda, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.´s Subaru, Honda Motor Co.´s namesake brand and premium Acura.

Volkswagen AG´s Audi brand jumped 18 spots on this year´s list -- the survey´s biggest gain -- to receive the No. 8 ranking, followed by Nissan´s Infiniti and Kia Motors Corp.´s namesake brand in the No. 9 and No. 10 position.

“Toyota being at the top is really nothing new,” said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports, in an interview with Bloomberg News.

“The Japanese have always been up there. They kind of shuffle positions.”

Sixteen of the 27 models in Toyota´s lineup earned the highest rating, with the Toyota Prius C earning the top score overall, Consumer Reports said.

All three major U.S. automakers were shut out of this year´s top ten list. With the exception of Cadillac, most U.S. brands, particularly Ford Motor Co.´s vehicles, were rated well below average.

The magazine attributed Ford´s fall in rankings to problems with the new ℠MyFord Touch´ and ℠MyLincoln Touch´ infotainment and navigation systems, along with defects with some of Ford´s models, such as the Fiesta and Focus.

Ford is “bringing in some new technologies that aren´t really all worked-out,” including the touch-screen systems, Fisher said.

“They´re taking that system and putting it in more and more vehicles, so there´s really not an indication that even next year things are going to get better.”

The exclusion of Ford´s recently updated models -- the Escape SUV, and the Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans -- also hurt the automaker in this year´s survey.  All three vehicles have historically scored as reliable, Consumer Reports said.

“Ford had a pretty mature product line up until just a year or two ago,” Fisher told Bloomberg.

“When you drop those out and start replacing them with new models, new technology and new platforms, this is something that happens.”

German brands were the top rated cars coming out of Europe, with Daimler AG and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG both making small gains. Daimler´s Mercedes-Benz brand inched up four spots to place No. 14 on this year´s list, while BMW rose three notches to No. 16.

Volkswagen´s namesake brand fell two spots to No. 18, while its redesigned Passat scored well. The company´s CC, Eos, and diesel Jetta cars all showed improvement in their rankings.

However, the redesigned Beetle, the Touareg SUV and the GTI edition Jetta performed below average, according to the survey.

Rechargeable cars scored well overall, with the all-electric Leaf rated as Nissan´s best model. GM´s plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt also received above-average reliability ratings for the second year in a row, Consumer Reports said.

The magazine based its report on a survey of subscribers who own about 1.2 million vehicles from the 2010 through 2012 model years. The responses were then used to predict the reliability of 2013 model-year cars.

The survey asked subscribers to report any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the prior 12 months.

The vehicles with the fewest reported problems in each category include:

- Fuel-efficient hatchbacks: Toyota Prius C
- Small hatchbacks: Scion xD
- Small cars: Subaru Impreza
- Midsize cars: Toyota Camry hybrid
- Large cars: Nissan Maxima
- Coupes and convertibles: Lexus IS C
- Sporty cars: Nissan 370Z
- Compact sports sedans: BMW 328i
- Luxury cars: Audi A7
- Wagons: Toyota Venza
- Small SUVs: Mazda CX-5
- Midsize SUVs: Toyota FJ Cruiser
- Large SUVs: Toyota Sequoia
- Luxury Small SUVs: Infiniti EX
- Luxury SUVs: Lexus RX
- Minivans: Toyota Sienna
- Compact pickups: Toyota Tacoma
- Full-size pickups: Toyota Tundra