Lexus tops 2014 vehicle dependability list

February 12, 2014 by Dee-Ann Durbin

The race to increase vehicle fuel economy is taking a toll on quality.

Owners of three-year-old vehicles are reporting more problems than they did a year ago, according to J.D. Power and Associates' annual survey of vehicle dependability. It's the first time since 1998 that the average number of problems per has increased.

J.D. Power, a California-based ratings and consulting company, said engine issues accounted for most of the increase in problems reported by the original owners of cars and trucks from the 2011 model year. Owners reported an average of 133 problems per 100 vehicles, up from 126 problems a year ago. Only problems within the prior 12 months are counted.

Automakers are rapidly implementing new engine technology to save fuel, including direct fuel injection and turbocharging, stop-start systems that automatically shut cars down at traffic lights and transmissions with higher gears. But those more complex systems can cause problems. David Sargent, J.D. Power's vice president of global automotive, said the company saw an increase in complaints about engine hesitation, rough transmission shifts and lack of power.

"While striving to reduce fuel consumption, automakers must be careful not to compromise quality," Sargent said in a statement.

The scores could improve in coming years because since 2011, automakers have worked to make new transmissions shift more smoothly, they've refined clunky stop-start systems and improved other fuel-saving technologies.

Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac had the vehicles with the fewest reported problems. Lexus had just 68 problems per 100 vehicles, the only brand with fewer than 100 problems.

General Motors Co. had the most winners in each segment, with eight, including the highest-ranked compact car, the Chevrolet Volt, and the highest-ranked pickup, the GMC Sierra. Toyota Motor Co. was second with seven segment winners, including the Toyota Camry minivan and Lexus ES luxury compact car.

Mini, Dodge and Land Rover had the most reported problems. Mini, the worst performer, had 185 per 100 vehicles.

The survey questioned 41,000 owners of 2011 model year vehicles between October and December of last year.

Explore further: Lexus tops auto quality study as industry improves

Related Stories

Lexus tops auto quality study as industry improves

June 20, 2012

(AP) — Lexus makes the best-quality cars in the U.S., and automakers overall are much better at eliminating problems that land vehicles in the repair shop, according to a new survey of car owners.

Lexus takes top spot in magazine's auto rankings

February 26, 2013

Lexus topped all automotive brands in Consumer Reports magazine's 2013 brand report card. Japanese automakers again dominated the rankings, taking eight of the top 10 spots.

US cars and trucks hit record gas mileage in 2012

December 12, 2013

New cars and trucks sold in the U.S. last year got an average of 23.6 miles per gallon (10 liters per 100 kilometers) in combined city and highway driving, a record that came mainly through improvements to engines and transmissions, ...

Recommended for you

Desktop scanners can be hijacked to perpetrate cyberattacks

March 28, 2017

A typical office scanner can be infiltrated and a company's network compromised using different light sources, according to a new paper by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Weizmann Institute of ...

Self-driving car crash comes amid debate about regulations

March 28, 2017

A crash that caused an Uber self-driving SUV to flip onto its side in a Phoenix suburb serves as a stark reminder of the challenges surrounding autonomous vehicles in Arizona, a state that has gone all-in to entice the company ...

Renewable energy has robust future in much of Africa: study

March 27, 2017

As Africa gears up for a tripling of electricity demand by 2030, a new Berkeley study maps out a viable strategy for developing wind and solar power while simultaneously reducing the continent's reliance on fossil fuels and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.