by the Editors of MSN Autos
In a study of three-year-old vehicles, models from General Motors and Ford win top spot in most segments.
Toyota's Lexus brand was the top-ranked nameplate for the eleventh consecutive year, and the LS 430 had the lowest number of reported problems.
The Porsche brand was one of the most improved in this year's study, ranking second among name brands.
The Buick LeSabre, ranked the best Premium Midsize Car, was one of eight vehicles from General Motors to be named a segment winner.
Ford's classic-looking Thunderbird was ranked the most dependable Entry Luxury Car.
Eight different models from General Motors earned the top score in their individual categories, while Lexus earned the top brand ranking in the J.D. Power and Associates 2005 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS).
The Vehicle Dependability Study measures problem symptoms experienced by original owners of three-year-old vehicles (2002 models). The vehicles are scored based on the number of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100).
Overall, the auto industry showed a remarkable 12 percent improvement in long-term dependability, according to the study. The industry average improved 32 PP100 compared to 2004, and 84 percent of vehicle models included in the 2005 VDS also showed year-over-year improvements. The most significant improvements include ride, handling and braking; engine; and interior.
"While the Initial Quality Study [IQS], which measures problems experienced in the first 90 days of ownership can be an indicator of how models will perform over time, our studies consistently show that long-term durability is a tremendously important factor to consumers," said Chance Parker, executive director of product and research analysis at J.D. Power and Associates. "As the number of problems owners experience with their vehicles increases, repurchase intent and the number of recommendations owners will make to others decreases. The study also finds that long-term durability can have a significant impact on a vehicle's retained value."
Toyota's Lexus brand was the top-ranked nameplate for the eleventh consecutive year with just 139 PP100. With the largest percentage improvement year over year—38 percent— Porsche was ranked second for 2005. Lincoln, Buick and Cadillac filled out the top five spots, respectively.
Also showing great improvement was Hyundai. The Korean automaker improved an impressive 115 PP100. "Hyundai experienced similar levels of improvement in the 2002 Initial Quality Study when these vehicles were new, which shows a successful effort by Hyundai in translating short-term quality improvements into higher long-term quality," said Parker. "Even though there is still room for improvement, Hyundai is a great example of an automaker that is making strides toward improving vehicle quality by paying close attention to owner feedback and designing products with both short- and long-term quality in mind."
The world is turned upside down