By Jeff Gilbert

DETROIT (WWJ) – A new study shows that cars and trucks are more reliable than ever.

“Dependability continues to improve,” said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates. “The manufacturers, collectively, are building better vehicles than they ever have done.”

J.D. Power releasing its annual Vehicle Dependability Study, a survey of problems reported by owners of three year old vehicles. The 2013 study averaged 126 problems per 100 vehicles, an improvement of five percent from 2012.

Interview: WWJ AutoBeat Reporter Jeff Gilbert talks with J.D. Power’s David Sargent.

“This is the 24th year we’ve conducted the study, and virtually every year we’ve seen significant improvement in dependability,” said Sargent.

LINK: JD Power 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study

Toyota had seven vehicles that finished tops in their individual categories. General Motors was second with four.

Sargent says domestic brands have virtually closed the quality gap with import brands.

“Really, most brands showed improvement,” he said. “But, I would say Ram, Suzuki, Chrysler and Mazda lead the field.”

While many consumers are concerned about launch problems with vehicles that are all new or significantly updated, Sargent says that’s not a problem anymore.

“Vehicles that were launched in 2010, that were new to the market or were redesigned, actually performed very well.”

In fact, the J.D. Power study showed, for the first time, new models performing better than carryover models.

The study focuses on three year old vehicles because that’s when most vehicles start to have problems, and are likely to be out of warranty. It’s intended to give carmakers and consumers an idea of how well a vehicle holds up over the long term.

With the average vehicles on the road now more than 11 years old, Sargent says this study is a good sign of how well more modern vehicles will hold up over their lifetime.

“For consumers, the good news is they can be fairly safe in holding on to the vehicle.”

Connect with Jeff Gilbert
Twitter: @jefferygilbert


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