The annual J.D. Power study gauges the dependability of three-year-old vehicles. A previous version of this video misidentified Toyota’s ranking.
Toyota dominated a prestigious annual study on vehicle dependability, but General Motors was close behind and German automakers improved markedly this year.
Toyota’s luxury Lexus brand took the top slot in the 2019 J.D. Power U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study for the eighth straight year. Toyota’s namesake brand tied for second.
Volkswagen Group’s Porsche shared the second-place spot and won the first-ever award for the most dependable vehicle in the industry: the Porsche 911 sports car.
GM’s Chevrolet and Buick placed fourth and fifth, respectively, among all brands.
The annual J.D. Power study gauges dependability of 3-year-old vehicles over the last 12 months, meaning this year’s survey assessed the 2016 model year.
Dependability is a key point of consideration for shoppers, and it typically factors into long-term resale values.
Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and VW all showed improvement, as every German automotive brand beat the industry average for the first time in the study’s 30-year history.
Fiat Chrysler’s Fiat brand was last, registering nearly 13 percent more problems than the next-worst brand, Land Rover. But the Chrysler brand delivered the most improvement of any brand, falling just short of the industry average.
One brand that wasn’t tracked: Tesla, due to “insufficient sample size,” in part tied to restrictions the company placed on the sharing of vehicle data, J.D. Power spokesman Kyle Reuter said in an email.
Of the 20 major vehicle segments tracked by J.D. Power, Lexus, Toyota, BMW, Chevrolet and Buick were the only brands that earned multiple most-dependable vehicle honors, with two each. (Scroll to the bottom to see the list of the most reliable vehicles in the industry, according to the survey.)
At least three of the nameplates honored in this year’s study have since been discontinued or are poised to go out of production this year: the Buick LaCrosse, Buick Verano and Chrysler Town & Country. Several others have been since redesigned.
The study, which measures the number of problems per 100 vehicles, found a 4 percent overall improvement for the industry from the previous year. That makes it the best-ever year for vehicle dependability.
“But I wouldn’t say that everything is rosy,” said Dave Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power, in a statement. “Vehicles are more reliable than ever, but automakers are wrestling with problems such as voice recognition, transmission shifts and battery failures.”
Researchers tracked 177 specific problems in eight major categories.
The industry average was 136 problems per 100 vehicles.
How the major brands ranked:
1. Lexus: 106
2. Porsche: 108
2. Toyota: 108
4. Chevrolet: 115
5. Buick: 118
6. Mini: 119
7. BMW: 122
8. Audi: 124
8. Hyundai: 124
10. Kia: 126
11. Infiniti: 128
12. Volkswagen: 131
13. Mercedes-Benz: 134
14. Subaru: 136
15. Nissan: 137
16. Chrysler: 146
16. Ford: 146
16. Honda: 146
19. Lincoln: 147
20. Mitsubishi: 158
21. Mazda: 159
22. GMC: 161
23. Cadillac: 166
24. Jeep: 167
25. Jaguar: 168
26. Acura: 171
26. Ram: 171
28. Dodge: 178
29. Volvo: 204
30. Land Rover: 221
31. Fiat: 249
The most dependable vehicles in each major segment:
Small car: Chevrolet Sonic
Compact car: Buick Verano
Compact sporty car: MINI Cooper
Compact multi-purpose vehicle: Kia Soul
Compact premium car: Lexus ES
Midsize car: Toyota Camry
Midsize sporty car: Dodge Challenger
Midsize premium car: BMW 5 Series
Large car: Buick LaCrosse
Small SUV: Volkswagen Tiguan
Small premium SUV: Audi Q3
Compact SUV: Chevrolet Equinox
Compact premium SUV: BMW X3
Midsize pickup: Nissan Frontier
Midsize SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe
Midsize premium SUV: Lexus GX
Minivan: Chrysler Town & Country
Large SUV: Ford Expedition
Large light-duty pickup: Toyota Tundra
Large heavy-duty pickup: Chevrolet Silverado HD
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.
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