AUDI continues to go from strength to strength as it seeks to gain the number one spot in the premium car segment, coming in at number 4 in this week's released 2013 Consumer Reports Auto Reliability Survey.
Represented in Jamaica by ATL Automotive, Audi has made great strides in improving its reliability and it has paid off.
The 2013 Consumer Reports Auto Reliability Survey predicts the reliability of 2014 model year cars and trucks based on a survey of subscribers who own vehicles from three prior model years. This year, the survey questioned the owners of 1.1 million vehicles. Consumers Report is a reputable magazine with 8 million subscribers.
Of the top five brands, Audi was the only non-Japanese to feature coming in at fourth place with Consumer Reports (CR) pointing to its improved reliability. It is the only European model to feature in the top five in the reliability survey.
Three of Audi's models - the A6 sedan, Q7 SUV and All-road wagon - earned the "much better than average" stamp of approval for reliability.
The Consumer Reports Director of Auto Testing Jake Fisher said: "The interesting thing about Audi's improved rating was that they have high-content vehicles with high-end pieces, electronics and power equipment, and they are still getting it right."
The A4 has a JD Power and Associates Power Circle Scorecard overall rating of 8.4. US News Best Cars ranks the 2013 Audi A4, 4 out of 20 in Upscale Midsize Cars.
Toyota's reputation for quality took a hit. Although Toyota took the Number 2 spot, CR revoked its "recommended" status for the popular Camry and Rav4 models. Both models earned the bottom-rung 'poor' rating in the newly formed Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Out of all the family sedans tested by the IIHS, the Camry has been the only model with a "poor" rating.
Over recent years, Toyota has been plagued with reliability issues. In 2009 and 2010 Toyota recalled 10 million vehicles for "sticky" accelerator pads and in October 2012, 7.5 million vehicles for a problem with power windows that could cause fires.
This year close to a million Toyotas have been recalled for airbag, steering control problems. This concerned the Camry, Camry hybrid, Avalon and Venza models.
Ford continues to perform poorly
GMC is the top performing US brand in the survey this year, coming in at ninth place.
Ford continued its downward trajectory in reliability with CR noting that among 31 models in the survey, only one - the V-6 Ford F-150 pickup - finished with an above-average rating.
Ongoing issues with MyFord Touch as well as 'Poor' reliability for models with the EcoBoost V-6 continue to plague the Ford brand and render its models unreliable. CR ranked Ford 26th out of 28 brands.
Hyundai and Kia drop heavily
South Korean brands Hyundai and Kia, which are enjoying a surge in popularity, dropped heavily and in Hyundai's case (Hyundai is represented in Jamaica by the Panton family's Key Motors) to 21st place.
In recent years the Korean brands have been challenging the Japanese brands in reliability and in 2011 scored ahead of most US and European brands.
Bad news for Nissan
Nissan fell nine spots to 22nd. The Nissan Altima (sedan) and the Pathfinder (SUV) were rated "below average" with the Altima losing its "Recommended" status. Commenting on Nissan, Fisher said: "Nissan has not been one of the top manufacturers in terms of reliability, so they actually have multiple problems.
"We aren't used to seeing Japanese nameplates being that low on the list," he said adding that most European manufacturers had improved.
Mercedes and BMW occupy mid-table spots
BMW and Mercedes-Benz models were in the middle of the table with BMW coming in at 15 and Mercedes at 13. In fact, Mini, a division of BMW, scored the lowest in the rankings.
Electronics continue to prove problematic
Of the 17 problem areas Consumer Reports asks about, the electronics generated more complaints from owners of 2013 models than any other category.