The J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study now in its 32nd year, measures the number of problems per 100 vehicles experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of three-year-old vehicles. It then uses this data to assign each vehicle brand a ‘PP100’ score, with a lower score reflecting a more reliable and less problem-prone vehicle.
The study asks survey respondents about 177 specific vehicle problems, which are grouped into eight major categories: audio/communication/entertainment/navigation (ACEN); engine/transmission; exterior; interior; features/controls/displays (FCD); driving experience; heating, ventilation and air conditioning; and seats. Because the study measures three-year old vehicles, the data from this year’s edition is based on the reliability of 2018 model year cars, trucks, crossovers and SUVs.
Leading the way among GM brands in this study are Buick and Cadillac, both of which experienced an average of 100 problems per 100 vehicles. Chevrolet lagged behind Buick and Cadillac with an average of 115 problems per 100 vehicles, although this was still well above the industry average 121 problems per 100 vehicles.
GMC was the poorest performing of the GM brands in this study. GMC owners reported an average of 143 problems per 100 vehicles, which placed it near the very bottom of the survey results.
The worst-performing brand in this study by far was Land Rover. Owners of the British marque’s vehicles experienced an average of 244 problems per 100 vehicles. This was significantly more than the next worst performing brand, Alfa Romeo, which experienced an average of 196 problems per 100 vehicles.
The top of the list, meanwhile, is populated by the usual suspects. Lexus leads the way with only 81 problems experienced per 100 vehicles, while Porsche was second with 86. Kia was the best-performing nonluxury brand with an average of 97 problems per 100 vehicles.
J.D. Power says that vehicles are becoming more reliable year-over-year and that is very uncommon for owners to experienced catastrophic mechanical failures with newer vehicles. That said, problems with regard to in-car entertainment and other technology remain, which continue to hamper some brands’ performance in the yearly Vehicle Dependability Study.
“Most owners aren’t experiencing their vehicles breaking down or falling apart but, for many, vehicle technology continues to function poorly or inconsistently,” concluded J.D. Power automotive vice president, Dave Sargent. “If an owner can’t rely on a system to work as they expect, it is also considered a lack of dependability. It affects their overall view of the vehicle and their likelihood of staying loyal to their automaker.”