Japan continues to dominate while America just stagnates.
Consumer Reports (CR) has just released the rankings for its 2015 Annual Auto Reliability survey. The survey deals with reliability issues on new cars and is based on data gathered by CR from its subscribers. That data includes 740,000 vehicles, which is quite a large sample size for any survey. One key thing to note is that "reliability issues" don't always equal engine trouble. In fact, one of the biggest issues drivers had in this year's survey came from infotainment centers!
Basically, if something requires a trip to the dealer's service department, it makes the survey. In addition to the infotainment issue Consumer Reports noted a troubling amount of issues with new transmissions, as in those designed to heighten fuel economy. That means you, dual-clutch transmission and CVT. Unsurprisingly the top spot is held by a Japanese brand, Lexus. Coming in at No. 2 is Toyota. In fact, the top five is all Japanese, save for Audi at No. 3. Mazda came in at No.4 and Subaru was No. 5. The only American automaker to crack the top 10 was Buick at No. 7, while two South Korean automakers made the cut with Kia at No. 6 and Hyundai in at No. 9.
Unfortunately the majority of American automakers are comfortably at or near the bottom. The bottom five features three American automakers. Fiat is dead last, followed by Jeep, Ram and Cadillac. However, Fiat and Ram both had small sample sizes, with only two cars apiece, so that might have skewed the numbers somewhat. Transmission failure is a legitimate concern but what can be equally annoying are repeated trips to the dealer to fix an expensive, optional touchscreen. New tech always requires a breaking-in period, so it'll be interesting to see these rankings in a few years. That's when we should know which automaker chose right when it comes to new transmissions and infotainment centers and which ones made a huge mistake.