DETROIT — The most problem-free cars and trucks are made by Honda and Toyota, but U.S. automakers Ford and General Motors are closing the gap in quality, according to an annual survey by Consumer Reports magazine. Large overhauls of U.S. car companies in the past few years have resulted in fewer brands and better vehicles from Detroit.
For the third year in a row, Toyota's Scion had the fewest problems of any brand in the survey of about 960,000 of the magazine's subscribers, followed by Porsche, Acura, Honda and Nissan's Infiniti luxury brand. The Toyota brand ranked sixth, down from third last year. Then came Subaru and Volvo. Lexus, which had been a top finisher in past years, fell to ninth. Ford was 10th, rising from 16th the previous year.
Consumer Reports' rankings are widely used by buyers shopping for cars and trucks.
Toyota generally fared well in the survey despite recalling more than 10 million vehicles worldwide for safety problems including sticky gas pedals, floor mats that can trap accelerators and brake fluid leaks.
"Toyota's taken a slight knock from the issues with their recalls," said David Champion, senior director of auto testing for Consumer Reports.
He said the magazine's survey asks owners to ignore recalls unless they have experienced a problem.
Champion said Honda is the top manufacturer for reliability, with the Honda and Acura brands consistently at the top of the survey because of continued emphasis on quality.
Champion said Ford has several individual models that have better quality than Toyotas. Ford's quality resurgence was led by the Fusion midsize sedan, which outranked Honda's Accord and Toyota's Camry. Ford's improvements began five years ago and have continued, Champion said.
General Motors showed the most improvement. GM had 69 models with average or better reliability, up from 1 last year. GM's top-ranked brand was Chevrolet at 17, up from 25.
GM shed some poor-quality models when it got rid of Saturn, Hummer and Pontiac, Champion said, and its new models like the Chevrolet Equinox crossover and Buick LaCrosse sedan are performing well.
The Chrysler brand was ranked last of 27 brands shown in the survey, the magazine said, while Jeep ranked 20th and Dodge was 24th. No Chrysler vehicles scored above average in reliability.