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Japanese OEMs Sweep Consumer Reports? Reliability Ratings

Toyota brands including Lexus and Scion swept the top spots in Consumer Reports' 2012 Auto Reliability Survey.

The seven highest ratings for reliability among 28 car brands studied went to Toyota and other Japanese makes, as Consumer Reports this week released the results of its 2012 Annual Auto Reliability Survey.

Meanwhile, one particular domestic brand dropped dramatically; going from being among the top 10 two years ago to coming in next-to-last in this year's survey.

Toyota excelled in Consumer Reports' latest ratings, as its three brands — Scion, Toyota and Lexus — swept the top spots.

Of the 27 models in the brand's lineup, 16 earned the highest rating, and the subcompact Toyota Prius C earned Consumer Reports' top score overall.

The hatchback Prius, the larger Prius V, and the new Prius plug-in were also rated above average in reliability, the publication said.

Following the Toyota trio in the top rankings were four other Japanese makes: Mazda, Subaru, Honda and Acura, in that order. All of the models produced by the top seven brands had average or better reliability, according to the report.

Of the 90 Japanese models reflected in Consumer Reports' brand comparison, 86 ranked as average or better, with 35 earning the highest rating.

Mazda's improvement was buoyed by the predicted-reliability score for the new 2013 CX-5 SUV, which was better than average, consumer Reports said, and Subaru's standing improved as its redesigned Impreza debuted with top marks. None of its models scored below average.

Honda dropped one spot in the ranking, to sixth place, but its worst vehicle, the Odyssey minivan, improved from below average to average.

Nissan and its Infiniti luxury brand performed well overall, but Consumer Reports said a few models kept them from ranking with the other Japanese nameplates.

Nissan's Versa sedan, redesigned for 2012, ranked much worse than average, as did the large Armada SUV; the Titan pickup truck was also below par.

Of the seven Infiniti models, only the convertible version of the G scored below average in the survey.

Ford falls, domestics struggle

On the domestic side, Ford saw the largest decline in reliability results, ranking next to last. Its luxury Lincoln brand ranked just one notch higher.

Two years ago, Ford cracked the top in reliability with more than 90 percent of its models ranked average or better in the Consumer Reports survey; this year, none of its models placed above average.

The publication said among the contributing factors was that a few new or redesigned Ford models — including the Explorer, Fiesta and Focus — came out of the gate with more problems than normal. Also, the MyFord/MyLincoln Touch electronic infotainment system added by Ford to many of its vehicles has been problematic so far, the magazine indicated."

Consumer Reports did note that three historically reliable models — the Ford Escape, Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ — were not included in the analysis because they were redesigned for 2013 and reliability data was not yet available.

In other domestic rankings, Cadillac was the top U.S. brand, moving up 14 spots this year; its CTS coupe was the most reliable domestic car.

Other General Motors nameplates Buick, Chevrolet and GMC also moved up in the rankings, Consumer Reports said, while the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car continues to have above-average reliability, and the compact Chevrolet Cruze improved to average this year.

By Auto Remarketing Staff

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