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Consumer Reports reliability survey: Lincoln the only Detroit 3 brand in top 10

Kalea Hall, The Detroit News on

Published in Automotive News

Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln is the only Detroit brand to make of the top 10 in the latest Annual Auto Reliability data from Consumer Reports, the nonprofit research, testing and consumer advocacy organization.

The top five brands in this year's study, released Tuesday during an online press conference with the Automotive Press Association, are Toyota, Lexus, BMW, Mazda and Honda.

Lincoln moved up 14 spots to No. 10. Ford placed at No. 18, down four spots from last year. All of GM’s brands dropped in this year’s study. Buick fell seven spots to No. 11 while Cadillac fell five to No. 17. Chevrolet fell 10 spots to No. 20 and GMC dropped three spots to No. 21. Stellantis NV’s Ram truck brand climbed one spot to rank at No. 16 and Jeep fell one spot, to second to last at No. 23.

The organization found hybrid vehicles and midsize or large sedans among the most reliable. Meanwhile, electric vehicles and full-size pickups are the two most problematic categories. In the top 10, seven of the most reliable brands are Japanese and Korean.

"There's no question that the domestic brands are absolutely capable of building very reliable vehicles," aid Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Reports. "We've seen this in the past. What it appears to be it's just decisions on how their product lines are created. So the big difference we're seeing is some of those Asian brands that are at the top, they're very consistent. There's only a set amount of platforms. They really work out the bugs."

The top five brands are "vehicles that are evolutionary and not revolutionary when they redesign vehicles," Fisher said. "These are brands that aren't necessarily adding a lot of new technology or making a lot of changes and very often keep a lot of shared componentry throughout the product line."

 

The study

Every year, Consumer Reports asks its members about problems they’ve had in 17 areas, including engine, transmission, and in-car electronics. The organization then takes the information to predict reliability ratings for new cars.

This year, Consumer Reports gathered data on more than 300,000 vehicles from the 2000 to 2022 model years, with some newly-introduced 2023 models. Predictions for 2023 models are based on each year’s overall reliability for the past three years if the model hasn’t been redesigned in that time. To predict reliability for brand new models, vehicles redesigned for 2023 and those with insufficient data, Consumers reviews the brand’s reliability history.

A brand's "Overall Score" also includes road-test performance, owner satisfaction survey results, if a vehicle comes standard with key active safety systems, and results from crash tests.

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