Japan Cars Top Consumer Reports 2011 Rankings

By Bill McGuire

Oct 25, 2011 2:34pm

Japanese brands continue to dominate Consumer Reports 2011 reliability survey and Ford Motor Co. sank in the ratings, thanks to three new models that had problems.

The most reliable cars during the first year came from Scion, Lexus, Acura, Mazda, Honda, and Toyota, the non-profit group said in a statement today.  Of the 91 Japanese models Consumer Reports ranked, 87 were rated average or better in predicted reliability; 24 Japanese models earned the highest rating.

Ford’s fall from the 10th to the 20th spot this year stemmed from its new Ford Explorer, Fiesta and Focus, of which had below-average reliability in their first year. That was the biggest slip for any carmaker this year.

“Ford’s drop can also be attributed to problems with new technologies: the new MyFord Touch infotainment system and the new automated-manual transmission used in the Fiesta and Focus. On the bright side, the Ford Fusion Hybrid sedan remained outstanding, and other Fusion versions were above average,” CR said in a statement.

Chrysler, which has suffered in the ratings for several years,  rose with Jeep up seven spots to 13, to make it the most reliable domestic brand. Chrysler and Dodge moved up 12 and three spots.

The ranking is based on responses on 1.3 million vehicles owned or leased by subscribers to Consumer Reports or ConsumerReports.org.

“Even with Chrysler’s improvement, Detroit models still have reliability problems. Of the 97 domestic models and versions for which Consumer Reports has sufficient data, 62 (64 percent) rated average or better in CR’s new-car reliability ratings, leaving 35 as below average,” CR said.

Full reliability history charts and predicted-reliability ratings on hundreds of 2012 models can be found online at Consumerreports.org’s  Reliability special section and in the December issue of the magazine.

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