J.D. Power's 2019 Vehicle Dependability study has some interesting findings.
For years it was Japanese brands, such as Toyota and Honda, that earned top scores in nearly every reliability study. And for years American automakers struggled to catch up. Perhaps those struggles are finally now paying dividends. J.D. Power has just released its 2019 Vehicle Dependability Study and, not so surprisingly, Lexus earned the top spot again, followed by Porsche and Toyota.
But the fourth place winner was Chevrolet. Buick nabbed fifth place. Mini, BMW, Audi, Hyundai, and Kia round out the top ten. Meanwhile, Infiniti, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, and Nissan took the next five spots. At the very bottom was Fiat.
What’s interesting is that only two Japanese brands made the top ten this year, Lexus and Toyota. Another four are from Germany and two from South Korea. In other words, all global automakers, not just American ones, are catching up to the Japanese. "Vehicles are more reliable than ever,” said Dave Sargent, J.D. Power’s vice president of automotive research.
However, there are still issues automakers need to continue working on, such as transmission shifts, battery life, and voice recognition systems. Sargent added that new technologies are literally being stuffed into cars and sometimes this can squeeze the juice out of batteries faster than usual. He also believes advanced safety systems like Automatic Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Warning could potentially further dampen dependability study results for all automakers.
But this year’s breakout star is undeniably Chevrolet. "They’re the star of the GM line-up now,” Sargent said. Of the Chevrolet owners surveyed for this study, there was a reported average of only 115 problems per 100 vehicles. For comparison, it was 108 for Toyota. Interestingly, both GMC and Cadillac received low scores with 161 and 166, respectively. Cadillac "is the most improved of all the premium brands this year.”
There’s no question GM’s brands are improving reliability, but long-time top scorers are not going to lose their positions without a fight.