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Consumer Reports Auto Reliability Survey Shows Japanese Rising, Ford Falling

Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports has released their annual reliability rankings (subscription required to view full rankings), with Japanese automakers, led by the Toyota brands, taking the top seven spots on the list. Ford meanwhile, sank towards the bottom of the list, finishing next-to-last, with their premium brand, Lincoln, only one slot higher.

Toyota, which had suffered some highly-publicized setbacks in recent years, including issues with unintended acceleration, is surely buoyed by these results, with Scion, Toyota and Lexus landing the top three spots in the ratings. Another feather in the Toyota cap: the top vehicle overall was the Toyota Prius C.

Filling out the top seven brands are, in order: Mazda, Subaru, Honda, and Acura. Of all the makes in the top seven, none of their nameplates had a rating lower than average. Mazda’s new CX-5 crossover and its much-better-than-average rating helped lift them into the fourth spot. Likewise, Subaru was helped by the new Impreza.

Ford, which in the past had been in the top 10 brands for reliability, was stung by new models such as the Explorer, Fiesta, and Focus, that had more problems than typical. In fairness to Ford, many of these problems were associated with their innovative but finicky MyFord/MyLincoln Touch infotainment systems. While those problems can be annoying, they won’t leave you stranded, and most likely can be addressed with software updates.

Another hit to Ford was the exclusion of three of their most popular vehicles, the Ford Escape and Fusion, and Lincoln MKZ. These vehicles were redesigned for 2013, and not enough data was available for them to be included in the rankings.

As for the other domestic brands, Cadillac ranked highest, having moved 14 spots up. Buick, Chevrolet and GMC also saw improvements. Chrysler brands slid some. Dodge was hurt on two fronts; a well-below-average rating for the Charger, and the removal of Ram trucks from the Dodge nameplate.

Of the European makes, Audi captured the highest ranking at eighth, up 18 slots, right behind the top seven Japanese brands. Six of their seven models were rated average or better, giving Audi their best ranking ever. The other Germans, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen also improved, but with mixed results for some of the vehicles. Volvo dropped 10 places.

For more information on the Consumer Reports reliability rankings and their methods, check out their press release.

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