2012 J. D. Power and Associates Dependability Study Topped by Toyota

Luke Vandezande
by Luke Vandezande

J.D. Power and Associates released their annual vehicle dependability study today, something consumers and manufacturers pay close attention to.

“Despite facing immense challenges in 2009, automakers placed a keen focus on delivering outstanding levels of quality, which they understood would be essential to their long-term success,” said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates.

Browsing through the results wouldn’t mean much to the average person unless that person were mulling over a car purchase, except for the fact that this year’s study findings break new ground. Results gathered by the famous firm suggest that vehicle dependability is at an all-time high – and not by a small margin.

In fact, that margin is larger than ever before thanks to a 13 percent improvement in reliability over the 2011 results. Last year’s study cited 151 problems reported per 100 vehicles. This year that number is down to 132 per 100. The study is based on responses by more than 31,000 original owners of 2009 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. The survey takes problems over the previous 12 months into account and bases the results per 100 vehicles.

Basically, J. D. Power is telling the rest of the world what a swath of already-satisfied customers from 2009 probably know.

“Three years later, owners of these models are enjoying unprecedented levels of vehicle dependability and manufacturers are experiencing market recovery. This is good news both for owners—who are holding onto their vehicles for longer than ever—and manufacturers, since perception of quality and dependability is a critical factor in vehicle purchase decisions,” Sargent said.

Dependability certainly is a critical factor, which is why we’re chuckling a little that the 2009 Toyota Tundra got the nod this year over the world’s “most dependable, longest lasting line of pickups.” If Ford won, this could have been sweet revenge for Chevy’s low-blow Superbowl ad, but it’s still funny. Better luck next time, Chevy.

It’s also a little funny to think that the 2009 Toyota Prius made it into this year’s list when you remember that was the same year the venerable hybrid poster child started accelerating independent of the driver. To be fair, that happened in a minority of the cars and was a dead issue during the point at which J.D. Power conducted their study. Still, it’s interesting to see how forgiving families apparently are towards the killer car.

Counting Toyota and its subsidiary companies as one, the Japanese giant actually won eight out of 16 categories. Ford was the next best, winning three categories including its subsidiaries.

See the complete list of winners below:

Sub-Compact Car– Toyota Yaris

Compact Car– Toyota Prius

Compact Crossover- Chevrolet Equinox

Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle- Scion xB

Compact Sporty Car- Scion tC

Ranked Entry Premium Car (tie)- Lexus ES 350; Lincoln MKZ

Midsize Car- Ford Fusion

Midsize Crossover SUV (tie)- Ford Explorer; Nissan Murano

Midsize Pickup- Nissan Frontier

Midsize Premium Car- Hyundai Genesis

Midsize Premium Crossover SUV- Lexus RX 350

Midzise Van- Toyota Sienna

Large Car- Buick Lucerne

Large Pickup- Toyota Tundra

[Source: J. D. Power and Associates]

Luke Vandezande
Luke Vandezande

Luke is an energetic automotive journalist who spends his time covering industry news and crawling the internet for the latest breaking story. When he isn't in the office, Luke can be found obsessively browsing used car listings, drinking scotch at his favorite bar and dreaming of what to drive next, though the list grows a lot faster than his bank account. He's always on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="http://twitter.com/lukevandezande">Twitter</A> looking for a good car conversation. Find Luke on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="http://twitter.com/lukevandezande">Twitter</A> and <A title="Luke on Google+" href="http://plus.google.com/112531385961538774338?rel=author">Google+</A>.

More by Luke Vandezande

Join the conversation