JD Power and Associates has published its 2009 Vehicle Dependability Study, and the results may surprise you. The most reliable new cars, according to the study, come from Buick and Jaguar.
Autoblog reports, "For the past 14 years, including the most recent 2008 Vehicle Dependability Study, Lexus has sat at the top of the chart. In a significant upset this year, Buick and Jaguar have tied for top ranking (with just 122 problems per 100 vehicles) dropping the premium automaker Lexus (126 PP100) down to third place. The top five are rounded out by Toyota (129 PP100) and Mercury (134 PP100)."
The Detroit News adds, "The study is widely used by automakers, which tout their scores or refine models based on the findings, and consumers use the information when buying new and used vehicles. A vehicle's dependability is gaining importance amid a credit crunch and recession that is keeping buyers from getting new cars and keeping them in used cars longer."
We should also note that JD Power reliability data is part of our own formula for ranking the best cars in each class.
The study looked at 2006 model year vehicles, and did not treat all mechanical problems equally. In a press release explaining the results, JD Power explains, "the frequency and severity of component replacement has a particularly strong impact on customer loyalty intentions. Component areas for which the impact is greatest include the Engine/Transmission category. When engine components are replaced or rebuilt, just 11 percent of customers state that they definitely intend to purchase or lease another vehicle of the same make, compared with nearly 40 percent among owners who report replacing no components."
Domestically, Ford made the best showing. The Detroit News notes that all three of Ford's brands ranked above industry average. "Chrysler LLC, however, only had its namesake brand score above the industry average while Buick and Cadillac were alone among GM's eight brands to score better than the average of 170 problems per 100 vehicles."
The AP breaks the results down by category, naming the most reliable vehicle in each class.