Consumer Reports Auto Reliability Survey: Ford falls while seven Japanese brands top list
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Only two years ago, Ford was Detroit’s poster child for reliability. It cracked the top 10 among brands in Consumer Reports predicted-reliability scores, with more than 90 percent of its models being average or better. This year the top seven spots are all held by Japanese brands.
Several factors contributed to Ford’s decline in Consumer Reports reliability rankings. A few new or redesigned models, including the Explorer, Fiesta, and Focus, came out of the gate with more problems than normal. Ford has also added the MyFord/MyLincoln Touch electronic infotainment system, which has been problematic so far, to many vehicles. In addition, three historically reliable models—the Ford Escape, Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ—are not included in the analysis; the three were redesigned for 2013 and CR doesn’t yet have reliability data on them.
Toyota, on the other hand, has excelled in Consumer Reports latest ratings. Its three brands—Scion, Toyota, and Lexus—swept the top spots. Toyota is clearly setting the pace in reliability. Of the 27 models in the brand’s lineup, 16 earned the highest rating. The subcompact Toyota Prius C earned Consumer Reports top score overall. The hatchback Prius, the larger Prius V, and the new Prius plug-in were also above average.
The Toyota trio was followed by four other Japanese makes: Mazda, Subaru, Honda, and Acura, in that order. All of the models produced by the top seven brands had average or better reliability. And of the 90 Japanese models reflected in Consumer Reports brand comparison, 86 were average or better, with 35 earning the highest rating.
Leading the Europeans, Audi had its best showing ever, moving up 18 spots to eighth place, making it easily the most reliable European make and the top non-Japanese brand.
The findings from Consumer Reports 2012 Annual Auto Survey are based on subscribers’ experiences with 1.2 million vehicles. The organization uses that extensive data to predict how well new cars that are currently on sale will hold up. For full reliability charts and predicted reliability on hundreds of 2012 models, plus a list of what's up and what's down, visit ConsumerReports.org.
Mixed bag for domestics
Cadillac is the top U.S. brand, having moved up 14 spots this year. Its