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<i>Consumer Reports</i>: Ford One of the World's Most Reliable Carmakers

October 29, 2009

Ford has secured its position as the only Detroit automaker with world-class reliability. About 90 percent (46 of 51) of Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln products were found to have average or better reliability, according to Consumer Reports' 2009 Annual Car Reliability Survey. The results were announced today at an Automotive Press Association luncheon in Detroit.

Ford's sustained production of vehicles that are as dependable--or better than--some of the industry's best dispels the notion that only Japanese manufacturers make reliable cars. Other than the Toyota Prius, the reliability of the 4-cylinder Fusion and Milan ranks higher than that of any other family sedan. Both of those Ford Motor Company products continue to beat the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, while the upscale Lincoln MKZ tops its rivals, the Acura TL and Lexus ES.

"It's rare for Consumer Reports to see family sedans from domestic carmakers continue to beat the reliability scores of such highly regarded Japanese models as the Camry and Accord," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' Automotive Test Center. The last domestic sedan that had better reliability than the Camry and Accord was the Buick Regal in 2004, he noted.

Ford's position as the most reliable domestic carmaker includes good scores for its new Ford Flex SUV. But the Lincoln division has had mixed results; some models score below their Ford equivalents. All-wheel-drive versions of the Lincoln MKS, MKX, and MKZ, essentially high-end versions of the Ford Taurus, Edge, and Fusion, respectively, are all below average.

More details, and a list of models with the best and worst predicted-reliability Ratings, will appear first on www.ConsumerReports.org. The reliability report will also appear in the December issue of Consumer Reports, on sale Nov. 3, and in the latest Consumer Reports Cars publication, Best & Worst New Cars for 2010, which also includes predicted-reliability ratings for more than 300 models.

A large margin separates the best from the worst. The least reliable vehicle, the Volkswagen Touareg, is 27 times more likely to have a problem than the most reliable car, the Honda Insight.

In addition to the Insight, small car reliability scores stood out. Twenty of 37 small cars have above-average predicted-reliability including the Honda Fit, Scion xD and Volkswagen Golf. Family cars fared nearly as well, with 21 out of 42 scoring above average. Five of the eight most reliable family cars are hybrids, including the Toyota Prius, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Mercury Milan Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid.

Even good brands falter. Among the least reliable vehicles in their respective classes are the all-wheel-drive Lexus GS, the Nissan Versa sedan, and the Subaru Impreza WRX.

General Motors shows some bright spots, Chrysler still struggles

Some newer GM products are bright spots. Overall 20 of the 48 GM models Consumer Reports surveyed have average reliability scores, while the Chevrolet Malibu V6 has shown better-than-average scores and is on par with the most reliable family sedans. The Buick Lucerne did well in Consumer Reports road tests, and it scores average in reliability.

The Chevrolet Traverse SUV also makes the cut, as does its cousin, the Buick Enclave, but only in the all-wheel-drive version. The reliability scores of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups have improved enough to earn Consumer Reports' Recommendation. CR only recommends vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on the Annual Auto Survey, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test.

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