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All-new cars? Not a problem

By Tara Baukus Mello · Bankrate.com
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

A new study dispels the idea that cars in their first year of production or those that have undergone a major makeover are more problematic than car models that haven't seen any major changes for a while.

New or fully redesigned cars do not have more problems than car models that have been in production for a while, according to the 2013 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study by J.D. Power and Associates released last week.

The study found that for the first time since the study began in 1989, there are fewer reported problems for all-new or fully redesigned models than there are for cars that are unchanged -- so-called carryover models -- from the prior year. Redesigned and new cars averaged 116 problems per 100 vehicles, while carryover cars averaged 111 problems per 100 vehicles.

In past years of the study, new and redesigned cars have had a higher occurrence of problems, fueling the perception that cars are more problematic the first year of production or the year immediately after a major redesign. To calculate the rate of problems for the 2013 study, J.D. Power surveyed more than 37,000 original owners of 2010 model-year cars between October 2012 and December 2012 -- about three years after purchasing the car.

The study also found that all cars are at historically high levels of dependability. Overall dependability ratings for cars averaged 126 problems per 100 vehicles, a 5 percent improvement over 2012 when the average was 132 problems per 100 vehicles. The 2013 rate is the lowest since the research firm began the study in 1989.

So if you have been eyeing one of the hot new models or a redesigned one, you can feel more assured that you'll have no more problems than you would with the models that have been around for a while. However, keep in mind that the all-new designs tend to be in higher demand, which can make it harder to get a good deal, meaning you'll end up paying more on your car loan.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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10 Comments
natray
February 26, 2013 at 10:31 pm

I HAVE ALWAYS TRUSTED CONSUMERS REPORTS. WHEN I BOUGHT MY LAST ACCORD, I NEGLETED TO READ THEIR NOISE REPORT. AFTER 2 YEARS , I HAD TO DUMP THE CAR. WENT TO GENESIS...HIGHLY OK'ED BY CONSUMERS. HAVE BEEN HAPPY SINCE. POWERS RECOMMENDED CARS THAT MY NEIGHBORS HAVE SAID WERE TERRIBLE. SHAME ON POWERS.

Ryan
February 26, 2013 at 9:32 pm

I notice some people knock JD power, but seem to praise Consumer Reports . I would not trust either one myself. now this might just Have been Honda's fault and I will not own another Honda, but my Ex-wife and I purchased a new Honda Civic in 1992. I read consumer Reports article concerning the Civic and it was a recommended buy Based on previous performance. after we purchased it , everything Went wrong with it, from trim falling off, to the cars engine Finally blowing a head gasket. so that might not have been Consumer reports, as much as this was a CONCEPT car if you will, a New body style . I do not agree with the article that "new" cars Are not any more problematic than older models.

Tony E
February 26, 2013 at 5:01 pm

I only trust Consumer Reports........they go out and buy the cars direct and test them so they do not get any advice from the manufacturer. They do all of there stuff behind close doors!!

Clyde L. Roberts
February 26, 2013 at 2:02 pm

I have leased four different Lexus Rx 350's over the past eight years and have had no problem with any of them. Each model has improvements over the previous year.

Mark
February 26, 2013 at 1:50 pm

I have bought 3 different new vehicles from 3 different manufacturers for the last 9 years and each time J.D. Power highly recommended each one of them. I have had nothing but problems with all 3 vehicles and other people I know have bought vehicles recommended by the same outfit and have had nothing but trouble with what they purchased. As far as any recommendation by J.D. Power goes, I would recommend to stay away from any recommendation that company gives on anything which includes vehicles. J.D. Power should be ashamed of themselves for deceiving the public the way they do. I would recommend that they be sued or charged with a crime or crimes for their misguided advice to unsuspecting consumers.

Stephen Lykins
February 26, 2013 at 12:51 pm

I don't trust JD Power any further than I could throw the Empire State Building! They make their money by charging the companies whose products they rate. Consumer Reports is a much more trustworthy source for product reviews.

Ronald Demmler
February 26, 2013 at 10:29 am

AutoSalesLouisville hit it on the head. Data can say anything depending on who supplied the data. Don't be fooled by some one else's word.

Edward
February 26, 2013 at 10:14 am

Not really improved much, as old model in 1970. because too much components parts that made too much problem and cost to consumer and our economic high. It should go back to re-design as before 1970 model and more quality and fuel saver.

Thanks,

Edward

Freddie
February 26, 2013 at 8:45 am

This is not my experience. Ever time I have purchased a car in its first model year, it required several major repairs within the first 3-5 years. It just happened to me again, in fact; my 2010 Ford Fusion is currently in the shop for major repairs that are due to powertrain problems not caused by anything I have done. This is the second major repair the car has required in the past 12 months. The only good news is these repairs are covered by warranty.

Perhaps I have just been unlucky. But I will never purchase another car in its first model year again regardless of what this study says.

AutoSalesLouisville1
February 23, 2013 at 6:57 pm

I really like this post. This is very informational to your readers. It does a great job of explaining new cars vs. the new cars of past years. I would like to know more about how your data was obtained for this article.