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Notable Brand Performances in the J.D. Power 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study

Notable Brand Performances in the J.D. Power 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study

By Jeff Youngs, February 19, 2014
J.D. Power has announced the findings of its 2014 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, which measures the dependability of vehicles after three years of ownership, according to owners who purchased the vehicles new. This year, the study includes vehicles from the 2011 model year, and more than 41,000 original owners of the vehicles responded to the J.D. Power survey.

In the 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study, the performance of the vehicle brands listed was notable year over year; they are presented in alphabetical order.

In the Large Car segment, the Buick Lucerne receives a dependability award for a fourth consecutive year, and both the Buick LaCrosse and the Buick Enclave rank high in their respective segments. As a result, Buick climbs one rank position to become the fifth-most dependable brand in the 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study.

Cadillac climbs 11 rank positions to become the third-most dependable brand in the 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study. All of its nameplates were carryover models in 2011, and three of them ranked above the average score for all Premium-segment vehicles. The Cadillac DTS ties with the Lexus LS as the most dependable model in the Large Premium Car segment, and the Cadillac Escalade receives an award in the Large Premium CUV segment. The brand's volume-selling model, the Cadillac CTS, also ranks above average for dependability, helping to fuel Cadillac's dramatic improvement at the brand level.

This year, the Chevrolet Camaro and Chevrolet Volt receive dependability awards in their respective segments--the Volt in its first year of production with a complex electric drivetrain. However, as a brand, Chevrolet declines one rank position due to the lower performance of other models, including the Chevrolet Cruze and Chevrolet Equinox.

According to findings in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS), owner complaints with the audio/entertainment/navigation systems produce lower satisfaction scores for Ford models. In the 2014 VDS, Ford did not receive any awards, and most of its models rank average or below average.

Older models in the GMC lineup--the GMC Sierra Light Duty, GMC Sierra Heavy Duty, and the GMC Yukon--receive dependability awards in the 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study. However, GMC's overall ranking only improves by one rank position due to lower-performing and volume-selling GMC Acadia and GMC Terrain CUV models.

Honda improves one rank position to become the sixth-most dependable brand in a tie in the 2014 VDS. Honda's volume-selling models--the Honda Accord, Honda CR-V, and Honda Civic--all perform well in the study, with the CR-V receiving a dependability award in its segment and proving itself to be one of the 10 most dependable models overall, irrespective of vehicle segment. Honda receives four additional model awards this year for the Honda Crosstour, Honda Element, Honda Fit, and Honda Ridgeline.

Hyundai's brand ranking falls five positions in the 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study. In 2011, the volume-selling Hyundai Sonata midsize sedan was redesigned, and this model represents more than half of the total survey responses from Hyundai owners in this year's study. At the same time, the Sonata experienced a significant increase in problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), contributing heavily to Hyundai's decline in the overall rankings.

Despite the launch of a redesigned Jaguar XJ flagship sedan in 2011, a model that demonstrates below-average dependability in the 2014 VDS, Jaguar's brand ranking improves by 14 rank positions. Credit goes to the most popular model, the Jaguar XF, which was one of the most improved nameplates in this year's study.

For a third consecutive year, Lexus retains its ranking as the most dependable brand in the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study. Four of its models--the Lexus ES, Lexus GS, Lexus LS, and Lexus RX--receive dependability awards this year, and the LS flagship sedan was the most dependable model of all vehicles included in the study, in a tie with the Cadillac DTS. Additionally, all of the rank-eligible Lexus models included in the study score above the average for premium brands.

Porsche declines seven rank positions from second to ninth among all brands in the 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study. The Porsche Cayenne CUV was redesigned for 2011, accounts for nearly half of Porsche sales, and ranks below the average for premium nameplates. Similarly, the Porsche Panamera ranks below average, and comprises a quarter of all Porsche sales. Notably, however, the Porsche 911 is one of the most dependable models overall, irrespective of vehicle segment.

Ram's decline of 16 rank positions to number 25 in the 2014 VDS is due to two primary factors. First, the dependable Dakota midsize truck accounted for less of the total model mix in the study. Second, the less dependable Ram 2500/3500 HD trucks accounted for more of the model mix.

Toyota declines three rank positions in the 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study, and is now ranked as the sixth-most dependable brand in a tie with Honda and Lincoln. The Toyota Camry, in its final year before a redesign, and the Toyota Sienna, redesigned for 2011, receive awards in the Midsize Car and Minivan segments, respectively. However, volume-selling models including the Highlander CUV and the RAV4 CUV experienced an increase in problems in this year's study.

Additional Research:

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