Japanese and South Korean luxury brands beat the Germans at their own game.
The annual JD Power vehicle dependability survey was topped by Lexus and Genesis, the luxury offshoots of Toyota and Hyundai. Kia, which is also part of the giant Hyundai Motor Group, came in third.
The US survey, now in its 34th year, canvassed more than 30,000 owners and ranks brands based on the number of problems with vehicles after three years of ownership.
The survey covers 184 specific problem areas across nine categories: climate, driving assistance, driving experience, exterior, infotainment, interior, engine and transmission, seats and vehicle controls and displays.
No similar survey exists in Australia because unlike their counterparts in the United States, local executives refuse to share quality information with the public.
While the results are not universally representative of cars sold here — some are built in different factories — they are the best guide to brand quality Australian consumers have.
Lexus paced the field with 133 problems per 100 vehicles.
The Japanese luxury brand was followed by Genesis was next with 144, Kia (152), Mitsubishi (167) and Toyota (168).
American brands Buick and Chevrolet also performed well but aren’t available in Australia.
Lexus and Genesis substantially outperformed luxury rivals. BMW was the best of the German premium establishment with 184 problems per 100 vehicles. Porsche tallied 208 problems and Mercedes-Benz (240) and Audi (252) were near the bottom of the field.
The survey revealed that infotainment tech proved to be the most problematic. Six of the top 10 problems were infotainment related including in-built voice recognition, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and difficult to use touchscreens.
The good news is that there was a big reduction in problems per 100 vehicles across the market compared to the previous survey, especially among luxury brands.
The two most reliable models were the Toyota C-HR compact SUV and the Lexus RX large SUV, the latter has just been replaced with an all new model.
Volvo, Ram and Nissan were the biggest improvers.
The brands with the biggest problems were Land Rover (273), Audi (252) and Ford (249).
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