Buick and Jaguar each rank highest in vehicle dependability in a tie, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 vehicle dependability study (VDS) released March 19. Buick improves from a sixth-place ranking in 2008, while Jaguar improves from 10th place. Following in the top five rankings this year are Lexus, Toyota and Mercury.
Toyota garners five segment awards-more than any other nameplate in 2009-for the Highlander, Prius, Sequoia, Solara and Tundra. Lexus follows with four segment awards for the ES 330 (in a tie with the Acura RL), GX 470, LS 430 and SC 430. Lincoln captures two awards for the Mark LT and Zephyr. Models by Acura, Buick, Dodge, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Mercury, Nissan and Scion each rank highest in one segment.
The study, which measures problems experienced by original owners of three-year-old (2006 model year) vehicles, has been redesigned to include 202 different problem symptoms across all areas of the vehicle. Overall dependability is determined by the level of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality. The study is used extensively by vehicle manufacturers worldwide to help design and build better vehicles-which typically retain higher resale values-and by consumers to help them make more informed choices for both new and used vehicles.
The study finds that the frequency and severity of component replacement has a particularly strong impact on customer loyalty intentions. Component areas for which the impact is greatest include engine and transmission. When engine components are replaced or rebuilt, just 11 percent of customers state that they definitely intend to purchase or lease another vehicle of the same make, compared with nearly 40 percent among owners who report replacing no components.
The study also finds that Buick, Lincoln, Mercury and Jaguar owners are less likely to replace components than owners of other vehicle brands. While component replacement rates are similar for premium and non-premium makes, there are notable differences between vehicle segments. Owners of models in the premium sporty vehicle segment are least likely to replace components, while owners of models in the van segment are most likely to replace components.
The 2009 Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from more than 46,000 original owners of 2006 model-year vehicles. The study was fielded in October 2008.
Find more detailed findings on vehicle dependability as well as model photos and specs by reading an article and reviewing brand and segment dependability ratings at JDPower.com.