The results are up four from last year's survey, says J.D. Power in the 2017 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study. Overall dependability was determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality. Last year, Subaru scored a total VDS ranking of 166 (Problems per 100 Vehicles) in the 2016 study, and in 2017, the Japanese automaker ranks 164 PP100 which is still below the industry average of 156.
More than 20 percent of all complaints were related to in-car technology, with plenty of owners reporting problems with their infotainment and audio systems, while battery failure was up by 44 percent compared to past year.
"We find buyers are increasingly avoiding models with poor reputations for dependability, so manufacturers can't afford to let quality slip, particularly on their best sellers", said Dave Sargent, vice president, global automotive at J.D. Power. "The good news is consumers don't have to spend a lot of money to get a very dependable vehicle", Sargent said. This translates into a benefit of more than $1.3 billion for the 2014 model year alone. For the past six years straight, Lexus has remained at the top. It was conducted through October, November and December previous year, and aims to nail down the full range of troubles that could befall a new auto, from mechanical failures to smaller tech issues. Trouble with voice recognition systems was also one of the most reported issues.
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With an overall average score of 110, Lexus is once again the most reliable marque in the United States, however this year it tied with Porsche.
New to the top 10 list of problems reported in 2017 is battery failure. While Lexus and Porsche rank the highest in the J.D.Power study among all nameplates, these luxury brands can cost tens of thousands more than the typical Subaru vehicle. Another issue is the battery of each vehicle since it fails to give the energy needed or wore out prematurely. At sixth position (up from 19 in 2016), this is Hyundai's best-ever ranking in the VDS. Despite their bottom-five finishes, Dodge and Ford had the second-largest gains with 21 fewer problems per 100 vehicles, while Land Rover had 20 fewer issues.
The survey ranked carmakers based on a survey of 35,186 owners of model year 2014 cars.