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J.D. Power: Vehicles Growing Less Dependable

Lexus builds the most dependable cars for sale in America. Toyota builds the most dependable vehicles available at mainstream prices. But they’re standouts in a struggling industry as overall vehicle dependability, measured after three years of ownership, fell in the 2024 edition of J.D. Power’s U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study.

The COVID-19 pandemic may be to blame.

J.D. Power’s study surveys owners of 3-year-old cars. Researchers asked 30,595 owners of 2021 model-year vehicles whether they’d had problems with 184 specific aspects of their cars.

That means many of the cars studied this year were built during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when manufacturers struggled to get parts amid worldwide factory pauses.

This year, owners reported an average of 190 problems per 100 vehicles — four more than last year. The difference, said Frank Hanley, senior director of auto benchmarking at J.D. Power, “can likely be attributed to the tumultuous time during which these vehicles were built.”

As usual, infotainment systems posed the most problems.” Among infotainment issues, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity (6.3 [problems per] 100) is the top problem, followed by built-in voice recognition (6.1 [problems per] 100),” the researchers said.

Many owners also complained about the safety alerts built into driver assistance systems like lane-centering. “Many would think that after three years, owners would become used to the alerts on their vehicle,” Hanley said. “However, that is not the case.”

Electric cars posed more problems than gas-powered cars — not surprising with a relatively new technology. Electric vehicles (EVs) posed 256 problems per 100 vehicles. Plug-in hybrids, with the complexity of two propulsion systems, posed 191. Hybrids posed 191 — almost the same as the 187 found in gas-powered cars.

Rank by Manufacturer:

Rank Manufacturer Problems Per 100 Vehicles
1 Lexus 135
2 Toyota 147
3 Buick 149
4 Chevrolet 174
5 Mini 174
6 Porsche 175
7 Mazda 185
8 Kia 187
9 BMW 190
10 Dodge 190
11 Jeep 190
N/A Study Average 190
12 Cadillac 196
13 Hyundai 198
14 Subaru 198
15 Nissan 199
16 Genesis 200
17 Ram 201
18 GMC 206
19 Honda 206
20 Acura 216
21 Mercedes-Benz 218
22 Infiniti 219
23 Ford 239
24 Volvo 245
25 Lincoln 251
26 Volkswagen 267
27 Land Rover 268
28 Audi 275
29 Chrysler 310

Tesla does not allow J.D. Power access to owner information in states where permission is required by law, so the company is never ranked and gets unofficial scores based on partial data. This year, its unofficial score was 252 — 10 points worse than last year.

Scores by Model

The vehicle with the highest overall dependability score was the Porsche 718 Cayman/Boxster, which J.D. Power treats as a single model.

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