Best Car Brands for Dependability

Most reliable car brandGetting a great deal on a car that is not reliable may not be such a great deal at all.

It’s a fact that some car brands are more reliable than others, but which ones? Results of the new J.D. Power 2012 Vehicle Dependability Survey of thousands of actual car owners gives us the answers.

J.D. Power and Associates is a well respected research firm that conducts product quality and customer satisfaction surveys in a wide variety of industries, including the automotive industry.

In the latest survey, J.D. Power rates all car brands in three areas — Powertrain Dependability, Body and Interior Dependabiity, and Feature and Accessory Dependability — and then summarizes in its Overall Dependability, all on a 1-5 scale (stars) with 5 being highest and best.

Here is a summary of the results of the survey:

Lexus was the overall winner with 5 stars . The Lexus LS was the highest scoring model.

Brands getting 4 stars, indicating better than average dependability, were Scion (Toyota), Cadillac, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Toyota.

Holding up the bottom of the list, with just 2 stars (no brand received only 1 star) were all the Chrysler brands — Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and RamJaguar, BMW, GMC, Infiniti, Kia, Suzuki, Mazda, Mini, and Volkswagen.

All other brands, including Honda (typically rated higher) received three stars — Average dependability.

Does this mean that you’ll have no problems with any Lexus you buy or lease? Or that you’ll have nothing but trouble with any Chrysler vehicle?

Certainly not.

It only means that, according to actual owners, you’ll have a smaller chance of having problems with the higher rated brands than with brands at the bottom of the list. J.D. Power also warns that consumers’ perceptions of quality and reliability can be out of line with reality. Furthermore, the survey was based on three-year results on 2009 model-year vehicles. Since overall quality and reliability have been generally improving every year, the survey may not reflect accurately on current-year vehicles.

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