J.D. Power polled nearly 33,000 owners of 2016 model-year vehicles about their three-year ownership experience, and some very familiar names have ended up atop the resulting ranks.
Lexus is once again the highest-ranked automaker in J.D. Power's annual Vehicle Dependability Study, with owners experiencing an average of 106 problems per 100 vehicles. This is the eighth year in a row that Lexus has topped the VDS. Porsche and Toyota are hot on its heels, though, with 108 problems per 100 vehicles. Chevrolet and Buick bring a little bit of American flavor to the top five too.
Overall, the VDS found an industry average of 136 problems per 100 vehicles, an improvement of six over last year. It's an improvement, but a slower one overall. This year marked the first time that mass-market automakers outperformed their luxury counterparts, with a score of 135 versus 141, respectively. Furthermore, every German brand found itself above the industry average for the first time in the study's 30-year history.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Fiat found itself dead last, with 249 problems per 100 vehicles. Ram and Dodge, two other Fiat Chrysler brands, are also in the bottom five, joined by Volvo and Land Rover. In fact, every FCA marque ended up below the industry average, with Chrysler coming closest. Chrysler, in fact, is the most improved brand this year, shedding 65 problems per 100 vehicles over the last year. Mini and Subaru also saw double-digit improvements.
J.D. Power also breaks it down by individual vehicle segments. Overall, the Porsche 911 is the highest-ranked model in the entire study -- this is the first time J.D. Power has offered an overall winner. GM performed commendably in the car category, topping three of the nine segments. The SUV and truck segments featured a mix of domestic and imported automakers. You can see the winners of each segment in the gallery below.
The survey covers 177 specific potential problems across eight categories, and owners' reports are then calculated to provide the scores seen here. It covers just about everything, from how the transmission shifts to how well the voice recognition actually works. Of course, polling owners means that the study's efficacy is tied to human error, but 33,000 people is a big sample and overall, it provides a pretty good snapshot of the industry and how happy owners are after a few years.
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: Take a look at the future models that could top these rankings.