Japanese-brand cars are tops in reliability, while Ford, previously in the top 10 of the ratings, has dropped dramatically, according to the Consumer Reports 2012 Annual Auto Survey.
2012 car reliability rankings
The ratings showed that this year, Toyota's three brands -- Scion, Toyota and Lexus -- topped the ratings taking first, second and third place, respectively. The brands were followed by Mazda, Subaru, Honda and Acura, giving the top seven spots in the ratings to Japanese brand cars. Of the 90 Japanese-brand models assessed in the survey, 86 of the cars were rated as average or better, with 35 earning the highest rating.
Ford, which was in the top 10 brands in the ratings in 2010, was ranked 27th out of 28 brands in this year's survey, with its luxury brand, Lincoln, ranking 26th.
Consumer Reports said that the decline was the result of some redesigned Ford and Lincoln models having more problems than is typical of the automaker. For example, the new MyFord Touch and My Lincoln Touch electronic infotainment systems being problematic. Finally, three Ford and Lincoln models known for their reliability -- Ford Escape, Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ -- were not covered in the survey because they were redesigned for 2013.
Models redesigned for 2013 are not included in the survey, since Consumer Reports does not have enough data on those vehicles to make a rating statistically valid.
The Consumer Reports 2012 Annual Auto Survey is based on a consumer survey of experiences that consumers have had with 1.2 million cars over the prior 12 months. Reliability scores are based on the three most recent model years of data, provided the model has not been redesigned for 2013.
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.