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Reliability Surveys

Two organisations attempt to measure who produces the most dependable cars. One has been established for many years- J.D. Powers, in the USA, and the other is a well respected insurance company in the UK.


1. J.D. Power

Their annual Vehicle Dependability Survey is based on responses from over 30,000 car owners who have owned their car for three years. They also do an Initial Quality Survey which looks at defects incurred in the first 90 days of ownership. Interestingly, JD Power says that both these figures bear a pretty close resemblance.

2. Warranty Direct.

There are substantial differences between Warranty Direct and JD Power. Warranty Direct pays out millions of dollars a year in car repair bill insurance claims, and their results are primarily based on their own data. They rank reliability on a number of factors includingthe number of times a vehicle fails, the cost of repair and average time spent off the road to be repaired. It also covers a wider age span as vehicles up to 6 years old are included.

There are other surveys, too, notably Which Car? which uses its subsciber members to contribute towards its conclusions.


One thing is abundantly clear, and substantiated by all research groups:- modern cars are much more reliable than ever before!

JD Power commenced their surveys over 25 years ago. Both their Initial Quality Survey and Dependability Surveys produced better results this year then any previous figures- the most reliable on record. In 1998, for instance, they recorded 278 faults on average per 100 vehicles, but by 2012 the faults figure had fallen by more than 50 percent to 134 faults per 100 vehicles.

JD Power says that the best performers in the latest survey were as follows:-

TOP TEN VEHICLES( Problems per hundred vehicles shown in brackets)

1. Lexus  (86)
2.   Porsche  (98)
3.   Cadillac  (104)
4.   Toyota  (104)
5.   Mercedes Benz (112)
6.   Lincoln  (116)
7.   Ford  (124)
8.   Buick  (125)
9.   Hyundai  (129)
10.   Honda  (131)

The worst performers were Chrysler (192), Dodge (183), Jeep (179), Jaguar (172) and Volkswagen (169), but notice that all these cars’ results were far better than the average performer just a few years ago.

(Note: Cadillac is owned by General Motors who produce Holden branded cars in Australia.)

Surveys from the UK differed considerably. Whilst General Motors and Toyota performed well, so did Honda and other Japanese brands. The big surprise was Kia from Korea who outperformed everyone.

On the other hand, Mercedes Benz, who did well with J.D. Power were amongst the worst reported by Warranty Direct.

The results from both Kia and Hyundai in all surveys reflect the huge improvements made with the quality of Korean cars since they first appeared in Australia 20/30 years ago.

Whilst China has become the world’s largest auto maker, its cars have not been featured in any of these surveys as numbers sold in these survey bracketsin the USA and UK have been insufficient.

Also, and this is our main gripe, Australians are still in the dark as far as Australian made cars are concerned!

No local insurance company or auto magazine seems to want to produce their own survey, and the local car companies refuse to make industry quality surveys public.

Yet these very same companies benefit from millions of dollars worth of tax dollars showered upon them by the Australian Government – that’s our tax dollars – so don’t you think they have an obligation to divulge how well they make their cars with our money? We’d like to know how you feel, so click here to write your views.