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by Tim Beissmann

Toyota Motor Corp has dominated the 2012 US Consumer Reports new-vehicle reliability index while Detroit-based manufacturer Ford Motor Co has ungraciously slumped to the bottom of the rankings.

Scion, Toyota and Lexus filled the podium of the independent organisation’s 2012 Car Reliability Survey directly ahead of Mazda, Subaru, Honda and Acura in a result that saw Japanese manufacturers take out the top seven places in Consumer Reports’ rankings.

Every vehicle tested from Toyota Motor Corp’s three brands scored average or better, for predicted reliability according to Consumer Reports’ evaluation, with the city-sized Toyota Prius C hybrid claiming the top overall reliability rating.

The rankings aim to predict the reliability of 2013 model-year vehicles by surveying owners of recently purchased cars. The 2012 survey is based on the responses of 800,000 motorists on 1.2 million vehicles from the 2010-2012 model-years.

While Jaguar finished dead last, the performance of Ford and Lincoln, which limped into second- and third-worst overall, was the most disappointing.

Two years ago Ford was the highest-ranked domestic manufacturer in the reliability survey, achieving a top-10 ranking with more than 90 per cent of its vehicles rated average or better.

In 2012, three in five models from the Blue Oval were rated below average, with the worst particular model rated 226 per cent less reliable than the average car in its segment.

The study reveals Ford was hurt by the release of new and updated versions of the Fiesta, Focus and Explorer, which launched with more problems than normal, while continuing issues with the company’s MyFord Touch/MyLincoln Touch infotainment systems also impacted the reliability measure across several models.

Not helping either manufacturer was the fact that some historically reliable models – the Ford Escape and Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ – were not included in the survey as they were released too late in the year.

Fellow Detroit manufacturer Chrysler Group also struggled in the 2012 rankings, with its four core divisions – Ram, Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep – joining Ford in the bottom 10.

General Motors faired significantly better, with all of its nameplates – Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC – rising in the rankings compared with 2011. Cadillac was the highest-rated US manufacturer, while the Cruze small car, which was rated ‘dismal’ in its first year, improved to ‘average’ for 2012.

The three German luxury brands – Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz – all showed improvement from last year, while Consumer Reports blamed Volkswagen’s mixed results on issues with the Beetle, Golf GTI, Jetta and Touareg.

 

Consumer Reports – 2012 Reliability top 10

  1. Scion
  2. Toyota
  3. Lexus
  4. Mazda
  5. Subaru
  6. Honda
  7. Acura
  8. Audi
  9. Infiniti
  10. Kia

 

Consumer Reports – 2012 Reliability bottom 10

  1. Jaguar
  2. Ford
  3. Lincoln
  4. Ram
  5. Dodge
  6. Chrysler
  7. Mini
  8. Buick
  9. Volvo
  10. Jeep



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