Owners Souring on Hyundai in’s 2nd Annual Lemon List


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Hyundai has found its way to the bottom of the Lemon List, while this year, Audi comes out on top. 

While the methodology changed slightly this year, the goal remains: to provide a look into consumer sentiment surrounding each automaker using data gathered from millions of conversations from across our network of automotive communities.

Using proprietary software and natural language analysis, the data is pulled from conversations between users, then further refined to determine which of the mentions are legitimate complaints about lemons – not necessarily actual cars titled as lemons. As some forums are significantly larger than others, the total number of lemon mentions per brand is compared to the total amount of brand mentions, to keep each in perspective. The data is then further crunched and represented as lemons per 100,000 mentions. Any brand with less than 10,000 total mentions isn’t included in the report.

For those still expecting a citrusy treat, allow us to also explain that a lemon is a colloquial name for a new car that has some type of manufacturing defect, affecting its safety or value, right from the factory. These can be major issues, while sometimes a lemon will be a car with numerous minor problems. Either way, it’s frustrating for new customers to bring home a problem vehicle straight from a dealer. So let’s look at what the data turned up.

Lemon-y Fresh

In total, Audi had roughly 1 reported lemon per 100,000 brand mentions this year, taking home top honors. Following closely behind are Porsche, Alfa Romeo, BMW and MINI rounding out the top five. Porsche just missed the top spot with 1.3 reported lemons per 100K mentions, while Alfa Romeo and BMW actually tied with 2.2. MINI finished in the fifth spot with 3.6 reported lemons per 100K, with Mercedes-Benz just missing the top 5 at 3.9.

Audi’s rise to the top has also been recognized by Consumer Reports recently, with 86 percent of the brand’s lineup being recommended by the independent testing outfit. It’s no surprise to see Porsche near the top as well, as the brand is right there with Audi regularly on reliability lists from CR and J.D. Power.

Alfa Romeo’s success may be explained more by its lack of vehicles for sale than reliability. Deliveries of the new Giulia are just ramping up now in North America and the 4C sells in such small numbers that there really aren’t many cars out there to be complained about.

MINI doesn’t have strong reliability scores from outlets like Consumer Reports, but the brand does have loyal, loving fans and that fact appears to be shown in the brand’s impressive ranking.


Rotten Fruit

On the other end of the spectrum, Hyundai had the worst ratio with 87.1 lemons per 100K brand mentions, while Cadillac, Infiniti, and Jaguar didn’t fare well either. Cadillac came away with 56.9 lemons per 100K mentions, Infiniti trails right behind at 56.3, leaving Jaguar in the fourth-worst spot at 55.2.

Rounding out the bottom five is Volvo at 40.8.

Hyundai’s showing at the bottom is surprising compared to increasingly positive reliability scores in recent years. Those surveys, however, only cover the first few years of ownership, while AutoGuide’s Lemon List deals with reported issues for cars from the 2011 model year and newer. Complaints included on the list though are only those made between January 1 and December 31 of 2016.

Infiniti also comes in the bottom of J.D. Power’s 2017 vehicle dependability study, while Jaguar sits near the bottom of CR’s ratings. Cadillac finds itself in the middle of the ratings with both outfits, again suggesting that there is a general negative sentiment towards GM’s luxury brand.

“This report really highlights what a unique resource our automotive forums are. With over 17 million registered members generating millions of conversations about cars, the technology now exists to see what real people are really saying,” said Jonathan Yarkony, Editorial Director of the Group.

The AutoGuide Group forum network is comprised of over 500 make and model related websites with 17.6 million registered members, 105 million monthly visitors and 540 million pageviews. Independent audience measurement agency comScore Media Metrix ranks #1 in automotive audience size.