Loading indicator
News & Reviews
Last 7 Days

by Brett Davis

Ford’s luxury car brand in the US, Lincoln, has topped recent survey for original buyer vehicle dependability. The J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Survey took into account more than 43,700 original car owners of vehicles that were three years old (2008 model year), and recorded any problems that arose in the past 12 months.

J.D. Power uses a fairly simple method to rank cars by using what it calls PP100, or problems per 100 cars. According to the results, topping the manufacturer’s list overall was Lincoln, rated at 101 problems per 100 vehicles, down from last year’s second place score of 114. Lexus followed closely behind in second place with a score of 109, with Jaguar rounding out the top three with a score of 112.

Manufacturer’s ratings take all showroom models from each company into account. The average rating across all manufacturers this year was 151PP100, a new low since the survey first started in 1990.

Topping individual cars was the robust 2008 Porsche 911 with a score of just 68PP100. Toyota also became the leader in the individual car category segment and took home seven lowest PP100-rating achievements with the Lexus RX, Scion xB and the Toyota 4Runner, Prius, Sienna, Tacoma and Tundra all receiving the lowest score in their respective categories. Ford followed next with four of its cars picking up recognition.

According to J.D. Power, many of the problems that came about this year were down to electronic gizmos that are increasingly being fitted to cars. Things like satellite navigation, in-car entertainment systems and handy safety features such as in-car tyre monitors. David Sargent, vice president of global vehicle research at J.D. Power and Associates, said in a recent statement,

“Automakers, as a whole, have made significant improvements in reducing traditional problems, particularly with vehicle interiors; engines and transmissions; and steering and braking during the past several years. However, as manufacturers add new features and technologies to satisfy customer demand and new legislation, they face the potential for introducing new problems.”

Take a look at the results to see how your car shaped up. Keep in mind the survey results are based on US-sold vehicles but the ratings can be taken as a general guide.

  • Lars

    Any study is meaningless unless you know the criteria. Little squeak in dashboard should not be equal to, say, sticking accelerator.

    • http://internode.on.net Old Pete

      Agree … how can Toyota be up there with over 13 million cars recalled?

      • Golfschwein

        Yup. But, as the article says, it’s a simple case of problems per 100 cars of owners surveyed.

        Delving deeper, does it matter if your car has 1.1 problems or 1.9? Probably not. And what might the problems be? A visor squeak or a transmission that finds itself with only two forward gears? Are they just minor problems remedied at the next service under warranty? Toyota makes Scion. Why does Scion rank lowly? Why do Porsches rank lower on a UK survey? Suzukis and Mazdas rank much higher in Australia. Why?

        And so on. And so on. And so on. Time for a big dose of salt.

        • Lars

          Possibly because, say, Mazda 6 AUS is made in Japan. Mazda 6 USA is made in USA. My point is that if you don’t know the study criteria, you don’t compare “apples to apples”

    • F1MotoGP

      The satisfaction percentage score is made of four sections.

      • Vehicle appeal 37%
      • Quality and reliability 24%,
      • Ownership costs 22%
      • Quality of service from dealers 17%.

  • Don Quay

    I have never been able to find out anything about the methodology for these surveys and the definitions of what is a problem. Who do they survey, the dealers and the service records, the manufacturers warranty claims, the owners directly or do they ask the owners to respond? Where do the vehicles come from and are they representative of the whole country and the range of communities? Also, what exactly is a fault? Is a loose glovebox lid weighted the same as the wheels falling off and the gearbox blowing up? What about the reported problems with Toyotas and the effect of all the publicity that recieved? And is it a problem if the owner just doesn’t know how to use the audio or navigation system and can’t be bothered learning? I would like to know, because really, unless these are defined and the methodology noted, the whole exercise is really quite meaningless.

  • brent

    Jaguar have sure come a long way – that’s a few years running now I believe where they have been right up there and best of the sports car manufacturers.

  • Nick K

    This is a bad result for VW… Not good enough Volkswagen Audi Group! However, I am mystified why some brands rate well in the UK or Australia and poorly in the U.S. VW make innovative and appealing product… The reliability of what they make is still under a cloud if this is anything to go by.

    • Golfschwein

      That’s part of what I was getting at, Nick K. Skoda has scored tops in some UK/European surveys. Suspensions, engines and transmissions are all VW. I’ve sat in a Skoda Octavia. Once I got past the familiar window switches and indicator stalks, everything was different to my Golf, yet the same. Same locations for air con, vents, stereo, headlight switch block, you name it. It’s the same cake with different icing, yet scores differently at survey time.

      • http://mazda bangel

        Has a lot to do with who screws them together , czech factory workers are czech , not immigrants as most german factory workers .

        Skoda is a big seller in germany , more reliable than VW , how odd .

        My latest trip to europe stunned me with so many of the new superbs on the streets of paris and munich .

  • http://Caradvice Joshua Morley

    I’m glad to see Jaguar do well again as they have done over the last few years.

  • Mythfrances

    I am not really surprised with the bottom 6’s result at all.

    • carbine

      I’m not surprised with LandRover near the bottom. My last Range Rover was fantastic, but absolutely disastrously put together. Surprised with Mini though – given BMW ownership and design.

      • HSRboy

        Jaguar Land Rover Group. 

        Shouldnt Land Rovers be as reliable as Jaguars? 

  • bryan


  • http://mazda bangel

    Yes the moon is huge tonight its the closest its been to the earth in 18 years .

    The survey is the most respected in the world .

    Sorry the bucked toothed fairy ix35 is not the best in the world that glory goes to the holden cruz .

  • Octavian

    Interesting, the results were not quite what I expected. The results would also be influenced by the average amount and type of use each brand receives. I’m guessing most Lincoln or Lexus owners wouldn’t be driving swiftly or a great distances.


    I think most so-called reliability surveys are mostly about perception than anything else. A car should take you from A to B, all else is of secondary importance.