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Most dependable 2007 models

Despite improvement in long-term dependability, some vehicle brands don't receive the credit they're due

Twenty-five of 36 vehicle brands have improved in long-term dependability in 2010, compared with their performance in 2009, continuing a steady trend of industry-wide improvement. However, for some of these brands, consumer perceptions have not kept pace with their actual performance, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 US Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) released in March 2010.

2010 Vehicle Dependability Study ranks the most reliable 2007 models.The study, which measures problems experienced by original owners of three-year-old (2007 model year) vehicles, includes 198 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 Vehicle Dependability Study is used extensively by vehicle manufacturers worldwide to help design and build better vehicles -- which typically translates to higher resale values-and by consumers to help them make more-informed choices for both new- and used- vehicle purchases. According to J.D. Power and Associates, among new-vehicle shoppers, perception of quality and dependability is the most influential factor in their decision to purchase a specific vehicle model.

The study finds that several brands that perform well in long-term dependability in 2010 are avoided at relatively high rates due to consumer concerns about dependability.1 Among brands included in VDS, Cadillac, Ford, Hyundai, Lincoln and Mercury have the greatest lags between dependability performance and consumer perception. (Editor's note: The Mercury brand is no longer sold in Canada.)

Toyota continues to perform well in long-term dependability and garners four segment awards -- more than any other nameplate in 2010 -- for the Highlander, Prius, Sequoia and Tundra. Honda receives three segment awards for the CR-V, Fit and Ridgeline. Lincoln captures two awards for the Mark LT and MKZ.

In addition, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and Mercury each receive a model segment award.

Porsche leads the overall nameplate rankings in 2010, which is consistent with its performance in the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Initial Quality Study, which measures new-vehicle quality at 90 days of ownership. Lincoln improves by six rank positions from 2009 to follow Porsche in the nameplate rankings.

Rounding out the top five nameplates are Buick, Lexus and Mercury.

In addition, seven of the 10 models with the lowest incidence of problems in the industry are from Ford and General Motors, including the 2007 model-year Buick Lacrosse, Buick Lucerne, Cadillac DTS, Ford Five Hundred, Lincoln MKZ, Mercury Milan, and Mercury Montego.

The 2007 Cadillac DTS has the fewest problems in the industry for that model year.The Cadillac DTS has the fewest problems in the industry, with just 76 problems per 100 vehicles. This marks the first time in more than a decade that a model from a domestic automaker has achieved the lowest PP100 score in the Vehicle Dependability Study.

Overall vehicle dependability has improved by 7% in 2010 to an average of 155 PP100, compared with 167 PP100 in 20092 -- a rate that is consistent with historical industry gains. In addition to the improvement in overall dependability, the rate of component replacement has also been reduced from 2009. Approximately 65% of owners indicate they replaced a vehicle component in 2010, compared with 68% in 2009.

The study also finds that long-term dependability has a significant positive effect on repurchase intent. Among owners who say they did not experience problems with their vehicle, 43% indicate they "definitely will" repurchase their current brand. This figure declines to 28% among owners who say they experienced at least one problem with their vehicle.

The 2010 Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from more than 52,000 original owners of 2007 model-year vehicles. The study was fielded between October and December 2009.

1 Source: J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Avoider Study
2 Due to a change in the problem battery in 2010, PP100 scores for 2009 have been adjusted to allow for comparison with 2010 PP100 scores.

© Posted June 18, 2010.

Most dependable 2007 models:

Top Three Vehicles per Segment

Small/Midsize/Large Cars

Subcompact Car
Honda Fit
Toyota Yaris
Hyundai Accent

Compact Car
Toyota Prius
Toyota Corolla
Pontiac Vibe

Compact Sporty Car
Mazda MX-5 Miata
Saturn Sky
Pontiace Solstice Convertible

Compact Premium Sporty Car
Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class

Midsize Sporty Car
Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Toyota Solara
Ford Mustang

Premium Sporty Car
Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
Porsche 911
BMW 6 Series

Entry Premium Vehicle
Lincoln MKZ
Acura TSX
Cadillac CTS

Midsize Car
Buick LaCrosse
Mercury Milan
Honda Accord

Midsize Premium Car
Audi A6/S6
Lexus ES 350
Cadillac STS

Large Car
Mercury Montego
Buick Lucerne
Ford Five Hundred

Large Premium Car
Cadillac DTS
Lexus LS 460
Lincoln Town Car
Trucks/Minivans,SUVs, Crossovers

Ford Freestar
Toyota Sienna
Buick Terraza (tie)
Chrysler Town & Country (tie)

Compact Multi Activity Vehicle (Crossover)
Honda CR-V
Subaru Forester
Hyundai Tucson

Midsize Multi Activity Vehicle (Crossover)
Toyota Highlander
Toyota 4Runner
Ford Freestyle

Midsize Premium Multi Activity Vehicle (Crossover)
Lexus GX 470
Lexus RX
Infiniti FX-Series

Large Multi Activity Vehicle (SUV)
Toyota Sequoia
GMC Yukon
Ford Expedition

Large Premium Multi Activity Vehicle (SUV)
Lincoln Mark LT
Lincoln Navigator
Cadillac Escalade EXT

Midsize Pickup Truck
Honda Ridgeline
Dodge Dakota
Ford Ranger

Large Pickup Truck
Toyota Tundra
Ford F-150
Chevrolet Silverado

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