Yawn! Chalk up another win for Lexus, on yet another J.D. Power survey: the 2006 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) released today. Thats 12 in a row for the automaker.
J.D. Power & Associates surveyed 37 brands to determine problems found by owners of 2003 model-year cars. The survey showed a fairly even mixture among luxury cars at the top (typically those with more technology) and non-luxury brands. Lexus, Cadillac, Acura, Jaguar, BMW, and Infiniti made the top ten list, but so did Mercury, Buick, Toyota, and Honda. (Power ranks Buicks as non-luxury cars.)
"In general, [tech features do] not have a very large impact on the vehicle dependability experience," says Neal Oddes, director of product research and analysis for J.D. Power. He noted that there was less technology on 2003 cars than there is now. "As penetration [increases], maybe a couple problems will come up."
More important, the dependability gap is narrowing between luxury and non-luxury vehicles. "The industry continues to make improvements in long-term vehicle quality, and not just among luxury makes that benefit from smaller production volumes on the assembly line," Oddes said. "Many high-volume, mass-marketed brands have acquired a foundation of quality products from which to challenge the normally strong performances of the luxury brands.
"What this means for consumers is that they dont necessarily have to spend a lot of money to get a high-quality used vehicle, and vehicles with high long-term dependability ratings retain more of their original value than brands with lower dependability ratings. This pays off for the consumer when its time to trade in their vehicle," Oddes said.