J.D. Power & Associates just released their 2012 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study and it has a few surprises. The report results are often used by manufacturers in advertising or dealer commercials to communicate to customers how well built their products are compared to the competition.
For those who may not be familar with the report, it measures problems experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of three-year-old vehicles. That means it is measuring the number of problems reported on 2009 or newer vehicles and is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles, with a lower score reflecting higher quality.
The report noted 25 of 32 brands have improved in dependability from 2011, while only six have declined and one has remained stable. Domestic nameplates have improved in 2012 at a slightly faster rate than imports, narrowing the dependability gap.
As for the brands that make pickup trucks, Cadillac and Toyota rank first with a score of 104, Ford at 124, Honda at 131, the industry average was 132, Chevy at 135, Nissan at 152, GMC at 158, Suzuki at 167, and Ram Truck at 174.
“Despite facing immense challenges in 2009, automakers placed a keen focus on delivering outstanding levels of quality, which they understood would be essential to their long-term success,” said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates. “Three years later, owners of these models are enjoying unprecedented levels of vehicle dependability and manufacturers are experiencing market recovery. This is good news both for owners—who are holding onto their vehicles for longer than ever—and manufacturers, since perception of quality and dependability is a critical factor in vehicle purchase decisions.”
No disrespect aimed at Mr. Sargent, but it may be a little premature to be giving the manufacturers so much credit at a time when consumers could just as likely be reporting fewer problems because they have bigger issues to deal with. Our guess is the more telling numbers will be coming out over the next two and three years as the economy strengthens.
Overall, Toyota continues to do well in the long-term dependability studies, winning eight separate categories. Ford also did well, winning three. Of the two truck categories, Large Pickup and Mid-size Pickup, the Toyota Tundra won the former, while the Nissan Frontier won the latter. The charts are below.
(source: J.D. Power & Associates)