Overall vehicle dependability improved 9 percent in the J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, marking the first year-over-year increase since 2013.
The study, now in its 29th year, measured the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100) during the past 12 months by original owners of 2015 model-year vehicles. A lower score reflects higher quality, and the study covers 177 specific problems grouped into eight major vehicle categories.
The overall industry average improved by 14 PP100 to 142 PP100 from 156 PP100 in 2017, according to J.D. Power.
“For the most part, automotive manufacturers continue to meet consumers’ vehicle dependability expectations,” said Dave Sargent, vice president, global automotive, at J.D. Power. “A 9-percent improvement is extremely impressive, and vehicle dependability is, without question, at its best level ever. For people looking for a new or used model, now is a good time to find that special vehicle.”
While overall vehicle dependability is improving, consumers still aren’t happy with their infotainment systems. The two most common problems relate to built-in voice recognition (9.3 PP100) and built-in Bluetooth connectivity (7.7 PP100), according to J.D. Power.
The other headline is that mass-market brands continue to close the gap with luxury brands. The mass-market average (143 PP100) now is just 7 PP100 behind the luxury average (136 PP100), according to J.D. Power.
Lexus ranks highest in overall vehicle dependability among all brands, with a score of 99 PP100. This is the seventh consecutive year that Lexus has led the rankings. Porsche ranks second with 100 PP100.
Buick ranks highest in overall vehicle dependability among mass-market brands, with a score of 116 PP100, and third overall.
Fiat is the most improved brand, with owners indicating 106 fewer PP100 than in 2017. Still, Fiat has the third-worst overall score for vehicle dependability (192), only ranking higher than Land Rover (204) and last-placed Chrysler (211).
Infiniti shows the biggest improvement in rank, moving from 29th to 4th.
The 2018 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from 36,896 original owners of 2015 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. The study was conducted in October-December 2017.