Foreign car or domestic?
Foreign car or domestic? Reputation isn't the only factor
By Aviya Kushner • Bankrate.com
Mechanics, consumers and car analysts all tick off the same names when asked for the most reliable cars: Honda and Toyota.
But, they add, not all imports are so impressive.
Some models from luxury brands such as Mercedes and Audi are turning in below-average reliability numbers, according to new data from J.D. Power and Associates, the independent research firm. And complaints are popping up in car magazines from luxury buyers who feel disappointed.
Meanwhile, some budget imports continue to turn in beautiful performances year after year.
"The Japanese Big Three have been at the top of the dependability charts since 1990," says Joe Ivers, partner and executive director of quality and customer satisfaction at J.D. Power and Associates in Detroit.
"Toyota, Honda and Nissan tend to do very well, and there's very little difference from one to the next," Ivers says. "In the luxury category, Lexus is the best with 163 repair incidents per 100 cars, and Infiniti is next with 174 per 100."
But upper-end Buicks and Cadillacs perform well, too, and American cars overall have improved, Ivers says.
Consumer data tends to back up the theory that Japanese cars are the favorites. Edmunds.com tracks the "best cars" according to consumers and the site's editors. Consumers, selecting the best cars in a variety of categories, chose an import in 28 of 29 categories, from budget to luxury. Only the Chevy Corvette won its class.