Omce the butt of industry jokes for poor reliability, Jaguar has topped the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Vehicle Dependability Study in the United States
The British marque shares top honours with General Motors’ brand Buick in the annual JD Power survey on vehicle dependability.
Jaguar's problems-per-vehicle figure dropped by 32 per cent, compared with last year’s survey.
It is the first time in 14 years that Japanese brand Lexus has been knocked off the top perch of the survey, and has been relegated to third.
Toyota comes in fourth and Ford’s Mercury brand fifth.
"Ranking top in the United States' leading survey on vehicle dependability is recognition that Jaguar not only makes the most desirable cars, but now, the most dependable too," commented Mike O'Driscoll, Jaguar Managing Director.
Jaguar has gained momentum recently, finishing 2008 with global sales of more than 65,000 cars – an increase of 8% over 2007 and one of only a handful of automotive brands to report a year-on-year sales increase.
Results have been attributed to the late Geoff Polites, who took over the reins in 2005 and led the company until his death last year from cancer. The former Ford Australia boss identified quality improvements as a key goal and returned the marque to profitability.
JD Power is the world’s leading automotive quality research firm. It publishes three major studies each year: a sales satisfaction survey, an initial quality survey that looks at faults in the first 90 days of ownership, and the dependability survey that looks at vehicle problems after three years of ownership.
The study is based on information gathered from more than 46,000 owners. Performance is measured using a “problems-per-100-vehicles” metric and the survey looks at more than 200 problems, covering the car’s exterior, the driving experience, controls and displays, audio entertainment and satellite navigation, seats, air-conditioning, interior and engine/transmission.
This year Toyota had the most awards for individual vehicles, with five, including the hybrid petrol-electric Prius and the Highlander. Lexus received four awards.
Overall, the industry average problems per 100 vehicles dropped by 17 per cent to 170.
Only three brands – BMW, Lexus and Volkswagen – recorded worse scores than last year.
The big improvers in “problems-per-vehicle” were: Subaru (down 29 per cent), Chrysler (down 28 per cent), Buick (down 25 per cent), Volvo (down 24 per cent and Audi (down 23 per cent).