Lexus Ranks Highest in Annual Reliability Study for 4th Consecutive Year

According to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, consumers continue to be frustrated by the in-vehicle technologies offered by most automakers.

Fifty-five percent of the study’s participants said they have experienced persistent problems with Bluetooth connectivity.  Another common complaint among owners was voice recognition systems that consistently fail to interpret their commands.

Findings were based on responses by more than 34,000 original owners of 2012 model-year and later vehicles.

In a statement, J.D. Power vice president of U.S. automotive Renee Stephens said, “As we’ve seen in our Initial Quality Study, owners view in-vehicle technology issues as significant problems, and they typically don’t go away after the ownership honeymoon period is over.”

Stephens said that despite their dissatisfaction, consumers continue to demand cutting-edge technologies in their new vehicle purchases.  “Owners clearly want the latest technology in their vehicles,” said Stephens, “and they don’t hesitate to express their disapproval when it doesn’t work. Their definition of dependability is increasingly influenced by usability.”

Automakers who succeed in meeting their customer’s technology expectations could reap long-term benefits.  “At the three-year point, many owners are thinking about replacing their vehicles,” said Stephens, “and we find that how they feel about their current vehicle’s quality and dependability impacts their intent to consider purchasing the same brand again.”

Over half of the participants who reported no problems with their vehicles’ tech offerings said they “definitely will” purchase from the same automaker when the time comes.  Only 43 percent of owners who reported three or more problems said they would consider buying the same brand again.

Stephens said that many of the problems being experienced by owners can be easily resolved with software updates and Stephens says dealers who are proactive about solving their customers’ issues have an opportunity to “engage with customers in a positive way.”

With 89 reported problems per 100 vehicles, Lexus was rated as the most dependable make for the fourth consecutive year.  The industry-wide average was 147 problems per 100 vehicles.

Buick was rated No. 2; moving up three positions compared to the 2014 study.  Also in the top-5 most-dependable makes were Toyota and Cadillac, with Honda and Porsche tying for the fifth position.

At the other end of the reliability spectrum were Dodge, Jeep, Mini and Land Rover, with Fiat being rated as the least reliable brand.

Please visit The Driving Zone for more auto industry news.

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