2012 J.D. Power Report Has Surprises

JD Power Fullsize Pickup

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)

JD Power Midsize Pickup


Qudos to GM/Chevy for improving quality and durability. They've passed the F150 and Ram 1500.
The Tacoma used to be the perennial leader in its class.
The results have really changed from the trends we've seen over the last few years.
I find it really interesting that Silverado and Sierra have different ratings. That lends some credence to the arguement that they aren't rebadged versions of the same truck. The other odd thing is that they are made on the same assembly lines.

This is the greatest comment for us consumers "The report noted 25 of 32 brands have improved in dependability from 2011".

I believe the disparity between the mechanically identical Silverado and Sierra just shows the inaccuracy inherent in these types of "polling statistics" that rely on customers' perceptions and expectations.

This is nothing more than fodder for advertising departments.

Oxymoron is so right.

I bet if Ford, Dodge, Toyota, etc had another brand name for the same pickup you would see different polling.

I also think that people that spend $40,000 or more on a pickup and had tons of pride in it you would give high marks even if it had few small problems.

Nissan Navarra just became the best selling 4 x4 Diesel Pickup in Australia. So Nissan are starting to do something right.

You just got to show Tundra some love for this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=labX4UJT4MQ. Long live the most rugged 1/2 ton pickup the Toyota Tundra and the best 1/2 ton Pickup engine the Supercharged 5.7L iforce V8.

Ill throw another hat in the ring here. The "typical" buyers of certain brands tend to expect more from their vehicles. Example; The "Typical" Toyota/Honda buyer will have a higher expectation of the product they purchased simply because of the reputation of their products vs. your "typical" "detroit" brands. Being that i've worked for Ford and Toyota BOTH, its VERY obvious that there is a typical difference between the AVERAGE buyer, lets not everyone think i'm throwing stones because i'm not, i'm simply stating there is a difference between the 2 types of buyers.

It is funny watching Mark williams make sh!ti up though.
Dance Mark, dance.

Yikes. The truck I was most likely to buy next is ranked less dependable than a dodge ram.

Hopefully tundra does something about their gas mileage and price but when you're consistently number one, I guess they don't really give a darn those things.

It is certain when less truck are sold, less problems are reported.

Congrats to the Winners!!

The reason less are sold could be that the truck is so reliable that people who have not reached 200,000 miles yet have no reason to get a new one.

Im just having fun with you all.

@5.3 LOL,

Sure, keep telling yourself that.


These kids never learn.

It is very funny that the badge hanging off the front grill can cause so many more reliability problems with an otherwise carbon copy vehicle. Shows how inaccurate these studies are.

Likewise, consider how the Ranger dominated the compact catagories.

Actually, consider a few of the highest rated vehicles for accessory/feature reliability are vehicles that have virtually NO accessories or features, like the Ranger, Tundra, or GM twins.

Looks like Ford is still paying for the 6.0L and 6.4L Powerstrokes.

If they honestly think the interior and body is 5/5 on LD chevy vehicles... there is something wrong with them. The interiors are cheap. Their powertrain dependability is also something to laugh at...

I take everything these award distributors say with a grain of salt.

I don't know who they survey for these polls, but I've had several of the trucks in the full-size LD class and have worked at dealerships, but from my experience most of the people having problems with these trucks are either morons or dangerously abusive.
I've modded and pounded on my trucks (Fords and GMs and haven't had any problems with drivetrains. In fact, I'd say for the number of trucks that both Ford and GM have on the market I'd bet their actual rates for problems would be more in line with the other manufactures than these polls lead people to believe.
Besides, we all know from many people who post here that opinions on their choice product can likely skew peoples willingness to report issues equally.

I think Ford would have ranked even higher but from what I understand they got dinged pretty hard for some issues with MyTouch. As for the Ranger, there's something to be said for building the same basic vehicle for eons when it comes to quality. If you don't have a handle on building it after a decade or so you never will.

Interesting. But thers is still room for improvements for all of them I think.

Lou, maybe Silverado and Sierra are build on different shifts.

F150 s still getting dinged on the transmission? Leaking, killing the engine, and shuttering? Can't leave the light?


@Frank- JD Power reports what amounts to a percentage or ratio. A smaller sample may capture less problems but that should be offset by the smaller volume.

@ 5.3L LOL- pushing buttons are we? LOL
High mile trucks should be offset by low mileage ones.

@Big Bob - since these are 3 year old trucks, it would only capture problems with the 6.4 diesel and 5.4 gasser. I do suspect that you are correct. We won't see any data on the 6.7 until 2014.

@fear the voices - I'd like to see how JD Power does its research, and what questions do they ask. I agree that on this forum, it would be unlikely to see anyone post anything thruthful about their own brands due to fear of ridicule.

...and the Tundra is the only pickup in the Top 10 American-Made Index.



If it was Fiat.. I mean "RAM" or Ford with a 5/5 score, you would be braggin' and kissing their A$$.

Funny, I also take your Comments like a "Grain of Salt".


This study is garbage!

Everyone knows the best small pickups are made by Toyota!

Toyota has always built the best most dependable small pickups and those that say otherwise are are just jealous and brainwashed!

@Team Oxi - obviously JD Power doesn't have Oxi on their speed dial ;)

All these trucks score pretty high in quality. A truck brand can receive a lower rate than another brand and still be an outstanding truck. And as TRX4 brought out you can be Ford and get dinged in the ratings if you had some issues with the transmissions or My Touch even though Ford might fix some of these problems and the truck otherwise is excellent. The true test of dependability is after 3 to 5 years. Sometimes it takes a few years to work out the bugs on a vehicle and on redesigned models or with redesigned drivetrains it is better to wait a few years after the manufacturer has had time to get everything worked out. I am sure in a few years My Touch will be a much better more user friendly system. Competition between domestic brands and foreign brands will create a better more dependable car and truck for the consumer. This article is good news for all of us.

When I was tick'd off with my 07 Dakota shocks, and a/c leaking onto the passenger floorboard, I shopped the Frontier. All though what I anticapate towing is within it's rating, it would be too close to max and the little leafs with no arc turned me away as well. If I only planned on towing 4500 or so pounds, that mighta done it, but it's just not the truck FOR ME. But if I was to buy a mid size, that would have been my pick. Glad I bought my 1500 Ram, if I had bought the Nissan it wouldn't have space or capacity to haul the racecar and all the extra parts back from 800 miles away. The Ram did it just fine, not sure I like the way Tow Haul is programmed. But I had no worries on the trip to Washington and back to Colorado Springs so I could hook back up to the trailer, then back to Arkansas with the racecar.

Ford Super Duty Powertrain dependability, LMFAO I'm sorry guys I just couldn't resist, my apologies.

Seriously Ram scored pretty low, but i beg to differ, I have a 2009 Ram thats held up more than well, uconnect, and voice recognition still work

so i honestly think that it all depends on the buyer

proven point

argue all you want but ive seen grimey tundras and impecable ones

same for all other brands.

so dont bash, but J.D. you can stick it!
I hardly believe that Ford, Ram, Or GM. and Tundra score these averages.

I digress, for I am letting my frustration come out in text.

You are living in a bubble, when you argue about facts in front of you and you believe a guy wearing a hat and jeans telling you that FORD is the best on planet earth. Unbelievable, but not really.

@Dav: Actually the Ram 1500 non single cab is higher then Tundra. You can read the window stickers however you want to. The Tundra says 75% US/Canadian parts content, while Ram says 70% US/Canadian and 18% Mexico. Unless I am missing something 88% North American beats 75%. But I have slept since Saturday when i was screwing around looking at Toyotas, Fords, Rams and GMs cause I was bored. If you subtract the number of single cab Ram 1500s from Ram sales, they are still ahead of Tundras sales. By looking at window stickers I would bet theres alot more options on a Ram than all but the F-150. But of course Ram needs to step it up on the accessorys and interior, whatever the problem is. Having a 96 Camry Coupe 2200 5 speed @ 184K I can appreciate the drivetrain durabilty, but the Tundra interiors have less to offer. Or if you look at it the other way, less stuff to go wrong!

Soon it won't matter where the parts are from. Chrysler and Ram are going to be a 100% Italian owned company very quickly.

Fiat urged to buy rest of Chrysler quickly

"and some analysts believe the Italians should move quickly to buy all of the American operation, even if it means selling Ferrari, the jewel in the crown, or Alfa Romeo..."

Italian company Fiat "CEO Sergio Marchionne has already said he planned to do this by 2013."

"Marchionne has already said he planned to do this by 2013"

@Dave - interesting.

@TRX4 Tom

I think that was true for 2010, but not for 2011.

The Made in American index, I believe, follows what 99.99% of people define as "Made in America"--which is made in the USA. Not the phony "Canada and Mexico are part of North American and and Brazil and Ecuador are part of South America so its all American" definition.

I know when I was a US Army light infantry squad leader deployed to Panama, they weren't singing God Bless America... and I wasn't representing the inhabitants... .

Ford Ranger, 90 percent domestic parts content, manufactured in St. Paul, Minn.
Sorry but the Ranger wins again lol

@Dav: since the Tundra window sticker says 75% US and CANADIAN parts content. Pretty sure when I was in the Army at Ft Lewis Washington before sporting events, we also had the Canadian National Anthem (Oh Canada-Correct me if I am wrong, no disrespect intended) So they sure aren't part of the United States either, last i checked (not dissing Canada or Mexico here.) But it does say 70% for Ram and 18% MEXICO, not Brazil, Columbia, etc. Or France Germany or Italy like those Ford Rangers. North American. Vs. what 25% Tundra from Japan? Or?? I also noticed lots of access cab Tacomas, about half of them, Hecho en Mexico. But the way they word them, does it make anybody think its any better cause something is Canadian built vs Mexico? Not that i know of. I also happened into the Ford place, one salesman thought he could pull some crap on me, and tell me all Dodges across town were built in Mexico. No, most of them "across town" were 1500 crew and quad cabs. Made in the states. Sure they have some 2500 and 3500s and a few single cabs. And yeah, the Hemi is built in Mexico, Ford builds its share of stuff in Canada and Mexico. While I dont agree with all the laws and lack of laws, I seen alot of Mexican people work their asses off at the chicken plant.

This study has confirmed what I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO TELL ALL OF YOU FOREVER. Let it be written...let it be DONE! I HAVE spoken!

What a load of crap !

Toyota,seriously,random excelleration,rust,Tundra's camshaft problems,cracking tailgates !!

I really wonder how they get these results !!

In Canada Dodge RAM is the longest lasting most dependable truck !!

@ Dave,

You are forgetting Chrysler merged (bought out) by Mercedes in 1998,and nobody called the Ram a Mercedes Ram or a German truck !! So the same with Ram now,it isnt or never will be a Italian truck..by the way Chrysler was the most profitable car company around,until royally screwed by Mercedes !

Also Fiat (Ferrari ,Maserati ) said it may move its head quarters and stock listing to the U.S. so I guess Fiat will be American !

Nobody covers you better than GM. Not Toyota, not Honda, not Ford. Not anyone.

5 Year 100,000 miles

1 year Onstar

Chevy and GM Total Confidence.

Tundras power systems are great, the build of the truck is kinda cheap, like thin body panels and bumers that crumple under a 1 MPH inpact, but this won't show up on a quality survey.

@trx4 tom

I'm curious if you could elaborate on why the Tundra doesnt have as much to offer as the Ram 1500? I know you like your truck and all but i personally dont think the interior of a Laramie holds a candle in the breeze to my platinum tundra. the fit and finish is night and day different. Heck, just go pull on some handles and push some buttons and it will be obvious to you why i say that. I'm NOT bashing your truck but you should actually get in a limited or platinum tundra and check it out for yourself........

@ Everyone.

To set the record STRAIGHT, here are the FACTS about Toyota trucks

Tundra; Engine, Trans, Body, Chassis, ALL of it was designed and engineered in the States.
Engine is built in Alabama
Transmission is from West Virginia
The parts come from various places like St. Louis and Troy Missouri and Jackson Tennessee as well as Huntsville Alabama.
US/North American parts content 75% last year it was 80%
ONLY 15% comes from Japan
It should also be noted that other than aluminum wheels, ALL of the 75% US/North American Parts for the Tundra are from the USA, and NOWHERE else

Tacoma; same story as above except the 4 cyl. auto trans comes from Japan.
All Engines and transmissions with that one exception are US Built.
ALL tacoma reg. cab and Access cab models are produced SOLELY at the San Antonio Plant TMMTX. 30% of the Double Cab models are produced at TMMBC (Toyota Motor Manufacturing Baja California) also the Beds of ALL Tacomas are produced at TMMBC.
70% US/North American Content
15% Japan parts content

Should be noted AGAIN that the 70% US/North American parts content is ALL USA other than aluminum wheels and the Baja plant TMMBC is NOT counted in the US/North American content.


NO other Manufacturer can claim NEARLY the amount of SOLELY USA content of parts on their trucks like Toyota Can. ALL of the others have TONS of parts imported from Canada in their listing of USA/North American content.

Its great to see a company support US workers instead of just watching out for the bottom line, It costs Toyota ALOT more money to produce vehicles here than it does outside but they make the investment for OUR workers here because people in the USA want USA made cars and Toyota DELIVERS in that area.


Oh, Dav, I didn't say anything about Central America, but just the same I can't complain about my Army time Honduras

Good point. Fiat could decide to keep the Chrysler brand's current headquarters in Michigan. It seems strange to think of Chrysler and Ram as import brands but that would be the truth as after all the Italians own 60% of the company and are buying the remaining 40% from the UAW. An American based world headquarters for Chrsyler would help some to still hang onto it being American.

Fiat the partent company's world headquarters would still be in Italy. I say move all of the headquarters to Italy that way the EU is responsible for the third bailout of Chrysler. Seems odd to think that the U.S. is down to the automotive "Big 2", now.

First, the difference between when Chrysler merged with is Chrysler as a single stand alone company is no more....it is now a division of Fiat which is headquartered in Italy.

With tax laws as they are now, there is no way Fiat will move headquarters here to Michigan. Corporate tax rates here in the United States are the highest int the world. That could change if we get a new President. But for now, Chrysler as a company is gone and the American and Canadian tax payers gave Fiat billions of our tax dollars to take it.


Go check out EVERYONES bumpers, they are ALL built this way now for YOUR safety. the truck will crumple in an accident instead of YOU and YOUR FAMILY.

Thinner sheet metal is because of your wonderful government that keeps pushing efficiency. PERSONALLY I for one would much rather have a truck that has beefy underpinnings and designed correctly. Thick body panels only help careless people from beating up the outside of the truck, i'd rather mine run and work forever........ just sayin

correction to previous post: First, the difference between when Chrysler merged with *Mercedes...

It's not how you play the game. It's if you win or lose.

Ram loses and GM wins again.

Tundra's are not bad trucks, they will just never sell like an Ford/GM/RAM.... ever.


Im sure thats what everyone thought about the Tacoma too................ need i say more?

I think the bigger question is, why WOULDN'T they?
most people that dismiss the Tundra have never been in one and if in one never drove one..........

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