Skoda Tops Reliability Charts as Premium Brands Struggle
Skoda is the most reliable car manufacturer in the UK, while premium brands such as BMW, Land Rover and Audi are among the least reliable. That’s according to the JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study, which examined 177 separate faults experienced by vehicles’ first owners over the past 12 months.
The Czech brand tops the charts by some margin, with only 66 problems experienced per 100 cars – 13 fewer than the next best-ranked manufacturer, Suzuki.
At the opposite end of the scale, British premium SUV manufacturer Land Rover averaged 197 faults per 100 vehicles, while fellow high-end brands BMW and Audi were also way down the list, averaging 156 and 170 faults respectively.
In general, the results showed that mainstream ‘volume’ manufacturers saw an average of 99 problems per 100 cars, while premium brands averaged 161 faults per 100 vehicles. The industry average was 113 faults.
Five of the ten most commonly reported issues were to do with on-board infotainment systems such as satellite navigation and Bluetooth connectivity, which JD Power claimed were more prevalent in luxury cars than in volume models.
A statement from JD Power said: “Volume brands outpaced premiums in 2015, but premium brands have more tech features—one of the largest sources of quality issues.” The company’s senior director of European automotive, Dr Axel Sprenger, said: “BMW, Audi and Mercedes are tied together at the bottom of the list, but If you have technology in cars, people will use it and they will experience problems.”
Technology was not the only possible reason for the higher number of problems, however, as JD Power found that premium vehicles often cover more miles than volume models. “We have found that the premium cars have approximately 15 to 20 per cent higher mileages,” said Sprenger.
More than 13,000 owners were surveyed, and 46 per cent of those said they “definitely will” choose the same brand again when it comes to replacing their car, while 66 per cent said they would recommend their vehicle to others.
In contrast, of those who experienced problems with their vehicles, just 38 per cent said they would purchase or lease a car from the same manufacturer again. Sprenger said: “Customers in the UK expect their vehicle to be problem-free, not only in the first 90 days, but also during the first three years of ownership. “When owners experience even a single problem with their vehicle, this can be the initiation of losing confidence in the vehicle and the brand.”
The most dependable models by segment
City car: Kia Picanto
Small car: Skoda Fabia
Compact car: Toyota Auris
Midsize car: Vauxhall Insignia
Small MPV: Ford B-Max
Compact SUV: Skoda Yeti
Large and luxury car: Mercedes-Benz E-Class