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2013 Vehicle Dependability Study Finds Vehicles Are More Dependable Than Ever

By Jeff Youngs, February 13, 2013
View the results from J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study

According to results of the J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study,SM (VDS) released on February 13, 2013, vehicles are more dependable now than at any time since the inception of the study in 1989. The study measures problems experienced by owners of 3-year-old vehicles in the previous 12 months. For 2013, more than 37,000 owners of 2010 model-year vehicles who had owned them for at least 3 years were surveyed, and vehicle dependability across all makes and models has improved 5% from 2012.

"The continuous improvement in long-term dependability means...that owners who keep their vehicle beyond the manufacturer's warranty period are able to have greater peace of mind that vehicles are becoming increasingly more dependable," said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates.

The 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study also finds that owners of 2010 models that were new or redesigned that year report fewer problems than do owners of 2010 models that had been carried over from 2009 with few or no changes. "There is a perception that all-new models, or models that undergo a major redesign, are more problematic than carryover models. Data from the 2013 VDS suggests that this is not the case," Sargent explained.

There are implications for consumers who may not be able to afford a new vehicle, or prefer to buy used vehicles. With dependability of 3-year-old models at an all-time high, Sargent said vehicle buyers "should have more confidence in 3-year-old vehicles, whether they are keeping their current vehicle or shopping for a used car, truck, crossover, or SUV."   

For automakers, the 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study serves as a bellwether for customer loyalty. According to J.D. Power and Associates, when vehicle owners experience fewer problems with a new vehicle, they are more likely to remain loyal to the brand when the time comes to buy a new vehicle. "By combining our consumer research with trade-in data, we see a clear correlation between dependability and loyalty," said Sargent.

By correlating the results of the Vehicle Dependability Study with vehicle trade-in data supplied by the J.D. Power and Associates Power Information Network(R) (PIN), J.D. Power finds that 54% of new-vehicle owners who experience no problems with a new vehicle buy another vehicle of the same make, while 59% of new-vehicle owners who experience three or more problems with a new vehicle switch to a different make when the time comes to purchase a new vehicle.

The most dependable brands, according to the 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study, are, in rank order, Lexus, Porsche, Lincoln, Toyota, and Mercedes-Benz. Individual vehicle segment awards are given to the following models, listed in alphabetical order:

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