J.D. Power’s 2021 Vehicle Dependability Study shows the increasing reliability of cars

And Lexus tops the survey
by Leandre Grecia | Mar 15, 2021
PHOTO: Lexus

It appears automobiles are becoming more and more reliable as the years pass by. Market research company J.D. Power recently revealed the results of its 2021 US Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), and it serves as sheer proof.

But first, a little background on the study. In case this is your first time reading about this, the study measures the number of problems per 100 (PP100) vehicles experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of three-year-old vehicles. The lower the score, the better the dependability of the vehicle. The results from this year were based on responses from 33,251 original owners of 2018 model-year vehicles.

Now, onto the numbers. In the 32nd year of the VDS, J.D. Power recorded a best-ever 121 PP100 industry average. This is 13 PP100 or a 10% lower than 2020 figures, and it also marks a huge difference from the 2 and 6 PP100 improvements from the years prior.

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“The study results validate what we have known for some time,” said J.D. Power vice president of global automotive Dave Sargent. “Automakers are making increasingly dependable vehicles—but there are still some problem areas that need to be addressed and some warning signs on the horizon.”

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J.D. Power also observed improvements in all eight problem categories. The biggest improvements were in the following categories: exterior (by 3.7 PP100), driving experience (by 2.2 PP100), and audio/communication/entertainment/navigation or ACEN.

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“From early in the ownership experience, many owners complain about these systems being problematic,” said Sargent. “It’s a recurring theme. With smartphone apps increasingly giving owners an alternative, some will give up on the vehicle’s built-in systems that caused that initial frustration. That’s problematic for automakers, as a lot of the vehicle’s value is tied up in these systems and they don’t want to hand this business over to third parties.”

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The 2021 J.D. Power US Vehicle Dependability Study

As for the most dependable car brand this year, Lexus was once again at the top with a score of 81 PP100. This is the ninth time in 10 years that the Japanese marque has topped the charts.

Porsche ranks second with a score of 86 PP100, then Kia at third with 97 PP100. As mentioned in a previous story, Kia was also ranked as the most dependable carmaker among mass-market brands. Toyota (98 PP100), Buick (100 PP100), and Cadillac (100 PP100) follow closely thereafter.

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The most dependable model, meanwhile, was the Porsche 911, and this marks the second time in three years that it earns these honors. For the other models that earned recognition from this year’s study, you can check out the photos below:

Porsche Taycan

Another notable bit from this year’s study is this: Tesla was profiled for the first time, and it received a score of 176 PP100. For context, that’s only good for 30th place among all brands covered in the study. Only Jaguar, Alfa Romeo, and Land Rover rank below the EV giant.

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So, readers—your thoughts on these recent figures from J.D. Power? The comments section is open.

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PHOTO: Lexus
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