American brands take 11 of bottom 12 spots in Consumer Reports reliability survey

Buick had the biggest fall in the Consumer Reports reliability ratings, dropping 11 spots from last year to 19th place, mostly for issues with the 9-speed automatic transmission in the new Enclave SUV. (Image courtesy of General Motors)

American brands such as General Motors, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and even Tesla had a rough showing in the results of Consumer Reports’ annual reliability survey released last week, which gathered data on half a million vehicles this year.

Volvo was dead last in 29th place, but every American marque occupied the next 11 worse spots, from Cadillac at 28th to Ford at 18th. For the second year in a row, Lexus and Toyota took the top two spots respectively, though the two brands switched places this year.

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Volvo’s reliability issues stem almost entirely from the brand's Sensus infotainment system, which uses an iPad-sized screen in the dashboard to control almost all of the vehicle’s important functions, including climate control. The S90 sedan also experienced engine knocking according to some customers.

A surprising result was Tesla in 27th place, plagued by suspension problems on the Model S and many issues with the Model X including the infotainment screen and “falcon” doors. Buick had the biggest fall from grace, dropping 11 spots from last year to 19th place, mostly for issues with the 9-speed automatic transmission in the new Enclave SUV.

Mazda had the biggest jump, moving up 9 spots from last year after ironing out issues with models like the CX-9 crossover SUV and MX-5 Miata roadster. The top four brands were all Japanese, and German brands lined the middle of the pack with Audi highest at 7th and Mercedes-Benz lowest at 17th.

The list didn’t include Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Jaguar, Land Rover, Maserati, Mitsubishi or Smart for a lack of usable data, though Consumer Reports mentioned that Alfa Romeo Giulia owners have experienced much worse than average reliability, and Jaguar F-Pace owners have also had sub-par reliability, thanks in part to infotainment issues.

The full ranking can be found below:

  1. Lexus
  2. Toyota
  3. Mazda
  4. Subaru
  5. Kia
  6. Infiniti
  7. Audi
  8. BMW
  9. Mini
  10. Hyundai
  11. Porsche
  12. Genesis
  13. Acura
  14. Nissan
  15. Honda
  16. Volkswagen
  17. Mercedes-Benz
  18. Ford
  19. Buick
  20. Lincoln
  21. Dodge
  22. Jeep
  23. Chevrolet
  24. Chrysler
  25. GMC
  26. Ram
  27. Tesla
  28. Cadillac
  29. Volvo

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