Toyota dominated a prestigious annual study on vehicle dependability, but General Motors was close behind and German automakers improved markedly this year.
Toyota’s luxury Lexus brand took the top slot in the 2019 J.D. Power U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study for the eighth straight year. Toyota’s namesake brand tied for second.
Volkswagen Group’s Porsche shared the second-place spot and won the first-ever award for the most dependable vehicle in the industry: the Porsche 911 sports car.
GM’s Chevrolet and Buick placed fourth and fifth, respectively, among all brands.
The annual J.D. Power study gauges dependability of 3-year-old vehicles over the last 12 months, meaning this year’s survey assessed the 2016 model year.
Dependability is a key point of consideration for shoppers, and it typically factors into long-term resale values.
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The Toyota Tundra is the highest ranked large light duty pickup in J.D. Powers overall dependability study for 2019. TANNEN MAURY, EPA-EFEFullscreenThe highest ranked compact premium SUV is the BMW X3. BMWFullscreenThe highest ranked compact SUV is the Chevrolet Equinox. David Zalubowski, APFullscreenThe 2019 Audi Q3 is the highest ranked small premiun SUV. AudiFullscreenThe Volkswagen Tiguan is the highest ranked small SUV. Volkswagen FullscreenThe 2019 Ford Expedition is the highest ranked large SUV. FordFullscreenThe Chrysler Town & Country is the highest ranked minivan. A.J. Mueller, ChryslwerFullscreenThe highest ranked midsize premium SUV is the Lexus GX. David Dewhurst Photography, Lexus FullscreenThe highest ranked midsize SUV is the Hyundai Santa Fe. Hyundai FullscreenThe highest ranked midsize pickup is the Nissan Frontier. Nissan, NissanFullscreenThe MINI Cooper is the highest ranked compact sporty car. miniusanews.comFullscreenThis Buick Verano is the highest ranked compact car. BuickFullscreenThe Chevrolet Sonic is a the highest ranked small car. ChevroletFullscreenThe Chevrolet Silverado HD is the highest ranked large heavy duty pickup. TANNEN MAURY, EPA-EFEFullscreenThe Buick LaCrosse is the highest ranked large car. Buick FullscreenThis BMW 5 Series is the highest ranked midsize premium car. BMWFullscreenThe Toyota Camry is the highest ranked midsize car. ToyotaFullscreenThe Lexus ES is the highest ranked compact premium car. David Dewhurst Photography, Lexus FullscreenThe 2020 Kia Soul debuted at the Los Angeles auto show and is the highest ranked compact multi-purpose vehicles. Kia Motors, Kia MotorsFullscreenInterested in this topic? You may also want to view these photo galleries:Replay1 of 192 of 193 of 194 of 195 of 196 of 197 of 198 of 199 of 1910 of 1911 of 1912 of 1913 of 1914 of 1915 of 1916 of 1917 of 1918 of 1919 of 19AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext Slide
Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and VW all showed improvement, as every German automotive brand beat the industry average for the first time in the study’s 30-year history.
Fiat Chrysler’s Fiat brand was last, registering nearly 13 percent more problems than the next-worst brand, Land Rover. But the Chrysler brand delivered the most improvement of any brand, falling just short of the industry average.
The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, which made its world premiere, is seen at AutoMobility LA, the trade show ahead of the LA Auto Show, on Nov. 29, 2018, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. (Photo: Frederic J. Brown, AFP/Getty Images)
One brand that wasn’t tracked: Tesla, due to “insufficient sample size,” in part tied to restrictions the company placed on the sharing of vehicle data, J.D. Power spokesman Kyle Reuter said in an email.
Of the 20 major vehicle segments tracked by J.D. Power, Lexus, Toyota, BMW, Chevrolet and Buick were the only brands that earned multiple most-dependable vehicle honors, with two each. (Scroll to the bottom to see the list of the most reliable vehicles in the industry, according to the survey.)
At least three of the nameplates honored in this year’s study have since been discontinued or are poised to go out of production this year: the Buick LaCrosse, Buick Verano and Chrysler Town & Country. Several others have been since redesigned.
Three years later, the 2016 Buick Verano was the most dependable vehicle in its segment, according to J.D. Power. But General Motors has since discontinued the model. (Photo: Courtesy of General Motors)
The study, which measures the number of problems per 100 vehicles, found a 4 percent overall improvement for the industry from the previous year. That makes it the best-ever year for vehicle dependability.
“But I wouldn’t say that everything is rosy,” said Dave Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power, in a statement. “Vehicles are more reliable than ever, but automakers are wrestling with problems such as voice recognition, transmission shifts and battery failures.”
Researchers tracked 177 specific problems in eight major categories.
The industry average was 136 problems per 100 vehicles.
How the major brands ranked:Lexus: 106Porsche: 108Toyota: 108Chevrolet: 115Buick: 118Mini: 119BMW: 122Audi: 124Hyundai: 124Kia: 126Infiniti: 128Volkswagen: 131Mercedes-Benz: 134Subaru: 136Nissan: 137Chrysler: 146Ford: 146Honda: 146Lincoln: 147Mitsubishi: 158Mazda: 159GMC: 161Cadillac: 166Jeep: 167Jaguar: 168Acura: 171Ram: 171Dodge: 178Volvo: 204Land Rover: 221Fiat: 249The most dependable vehicles in each major segment:
Small car: Chevrolet Sonic
Compact car: Buick Verano
Compact sporty car: MINI Cooper
Compact multi-purpose vehicle: Kia Soul
Compact premium car: Lexus ES
Midsize car: Toyota Camry
Midsize sporty car: Dodge Challenger
Midsize premium car: BMW 5 Series
Large car: Buick LaCrosse
Small SUV: Volkswagen Tiguan
Small premium SUV: Audi Q3
Compact SUV: Chevrolet Equinox
Compact premium SUV: BMW X3
Midsize pickup: Nissan Frontier
Midsize SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe
Midsize premium SUV: Lexus GX
Minivan: Chrysler Town & Country
Large SUV: Ford Expedition
Large light-duty pickup: Toyota Tundra
Large heavy-duty pickup: Chevrolet Silverado HD
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.