DETROIT – Buicks are right up there with Lexus and Porsche when it comes to the top three brands for dependability, a new J.D. Power survey finds.
The news is certain to be cheered at General Motors as its Buick division takes over the third-place spot behind Lexus and Porsche, according to J.D. Power's 2018 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, which ranks vehicles based on the number of problems reported in 3-year-old vehicles.
Last year, third place belonged to Toyota, which this year slips to ninth.
Infiniti, Kia, Chevrolet, Hyundai, BMW, Toyota and Lincoln rounded out the top of the list.
Chrysler, Land Rover, Fiat, Jeep, Cadillac, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Ram, Dodge and Volvo were the 10 brands with the most problems reported in the survey. However, J.D. Power noted that overall dependability — up 9% from 2017 — had increased for the first time since 2013.
“For the most part, automotive manufacturers continue to meet consumers’ vehicle dependability expectations,” Dave Sargent, vice president of Global Automotive at J.D. Power, said in a statement. “A 9% improvement is extremely impressive, and vehicle dependability is, without question, at its best level ever.”
Tesla is notably absent from the rankings.
David Amodeo, senior manager of global automotive at J.D. Power, said the automaker had "not granted J.D. Power access to owner's information so that a large enough sample of Tesla models can be included in the Vehicle Dependability Study."
Despite a relatively low ranking in the survey, Fiat Chrysler's Fiat brand was most improved when it came to eliminating defects or issues. Infiniti, Nissan, Ford, Kia and Dodge were also noted for their improvements. Dodge and Nissan scored their best rankings in the survey's 29 years, according to Power.
The study results are based on responses from 36,896 original owners of 2015 model year vehicles from October through December. The most common problems reported by the owners were with built-in voice recognition and Bluetooth connectivity.
When it came to individual models, the rankings were split into 19 segments, with winners ranging from the Kia Rio for small car to Ford Super Duty for large heavy-duty pickup.
Brands from Toyota and General Motors, respectively, took the top spot in the most segments.
The study found that "mass-market brands continue to close the gap with luxury brands," with the mass-market average at 143 problems per 100 vehicles compared with the luxury average of 136 problems per 100 vehicles.
2018 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study rankings
Lexus 99 (problems per 100 vehicles)
Industry average 142
Land Rover 204
Top models per segment
Small car: Kia Rio, Chevrolet Sonic, Nissan Versa
Small premium car: Lexus CT, BMW 2 series
Compact car: Toyota Prius, Buick Verano, Nissan LEAF
Compact premium car: Lexus ES, Infiniti Q40, BMW 4 Series
Midsize car: Chevrolet Malibu, Toyota Camry, Buick Regal
Midsize sporty car: Dodge Challenger, Chevrolet Camaro
Midsize premium car: Lexus GS, BMW 5 Series
Large car: Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Impala, Ford Taurus
Small SUV: Hyundai Tucson, Chevrolet Trax, Volkswagen Tiguan
Small premium SUV: Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA
Compact SUV: Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, Ford Escape
Compact premium SUV: Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class, Porsche Macan, Lexus NX
Midsize pickup: Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier
Midsize SUV: Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave (tied for second), Hyundai Santa Fe (tied for second), Toyota Venza (tied for second)
Medium premium SUV: Lexus RX, Lincoln MKX, Lexus GX
Minivan: Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Town and Country
Large SUV: Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Tahoe
Large light-duty pickup: Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150
Large heavy-duty pickup: Ford Super Duty, Chevrolet Silverado HD