Skoda is the most dependable brand in the UK, with the fewest problems experienced by owners. That's according to the new J.D. Power UK Vehicle Dependability Survey (VDS), which ranks vehicle manufacturers and their models according to how reliable they are.
The 2016 survey took in the views from owners whose vehicles were 12-36 months old, asking them about problems they had experienced within the past year. Problems were grouped into eight categories, and included engine, gearbox and infotainment issues, as well as comments relating to the car's driving experience. Car makers were then ranked according to the number of problems received per 100 vehicles. The lower the score, the more dependable the car.
Czech brand Skoda scored the lowest mark, with just 66 vehicles per 100 having some sort of problem. Next came Japanese brand Suzuki with 79 problems per 100 vehicles, and in third place Korean brand Kia. Interestingly, Kia's sister brand, Hyundai, sits closer to the bottom of the list, with a score of 130 problems per 100 cars. The industry average was 113 problems per 100 cars.
This is the second consecutive time that Skoda has topped the list, having also been named as the most dependable brand in 2015.
At the bottom of the table, indicating that it is the brand deemed least dependable by owners, is Land Rover, with budget brand Dacia and German prestige marque Audi sitting just above.
The full list of results is shown below.
- Skoda - 66 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100)
- Suzuki - 79 PP100
- Kia - 80 PP100
- Vauxhall - 90 PP100
- Peugeot - 92 PP100
- Volkswagen - 92 PP100
- Ford - 95 PP100
- Seat - 96 PP100
- Toyota - 96 PP100
- Nissan - 98 PP100
- Mazda - 111 PP100
- Fiat - 112 PP100
- Citroën - 115 PP100
- Renault - 116 PP100
- Honda - 117 PP100
- Jaguar - 123 PP100
- Volvo - 123 PP100
- Hyundai - 130 PP100
- Mini - 140 PP100
- Mercedes-Benz - 154 PP100
- BMW - 156 PP100
- Audi - 170 PP100
- Dacia - 174 PP100
- Land Rover - 197 PP100
The trends - volume brands perform well, but more technology causes issues
Generally, these results show that volume brands (the likes of Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen) experience fewer problems than premium and niche brands. Of the problems identified, the most common issues were related to technical features - something which may be explained by the increasing amount of software and digital elements in modern cars. In fact, the most commonly reported problem related to pairing your mobile phone through Bluetooth.
The survey also found that reliability is one of the priorities for UK consumers when buying a new car. Of the owners who said they had experienced no defect problems - ie, something that broke or did not work as expected - with their cars, 46% said they would go for the same make of car again in future, and 66% said they would recommend the car and its manufacturer to others.
Overall, the survey results show that, as expected, the fewer problems which are experienced by owners, the more likely they are to remain loyal to a car brand. As the makers of the survey point out, a small drop in loyalty might not sound like much, but with the average price of a new car in the UK currently standing at £22,000, lost revenue can quickly reach into the millions of pounds for a car maker.
The best cars by category
The J.D. Power VDS also ranks individual cars, showing the top models in every segment which experienced the fewest problems in the past year. The highest-ranked car in every segment is shown below.
- Best city car - Kia Picanto
- Best compact car - Toyota Auris
- Best compact SUV - Skoda Yeti
- Best large and luxury car - Mercedes-Benz E-Class
- Best mid-size car - Vauxhall Insignia
- Best small car - Skoda Fabia
- Best small MPV - Ford B-Max
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