Ford’s descent to 27th out of 28 places (only Jaguar scored lower) is a drop of seven spots from last year’s already so-so ratings.
Things are also not good for Ford Motor Company’s Lincoln brand, which had a 26th place showing, a drop of 12 places from the 2011 reliability survey, which uses information on readers’ experiences with 1.2 million vehicles.
“Ford’s bumpy road can be seen in the numbers,” said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports. “Sixty percent of Ford-branded models and half of Lincolns were below average in predicted reliability, and none placed above average.”
Among the factors contributing to Ford’s poor showing: Several redesigned models like the Explorer, Fiesta, and Focus, were released with more problems than usual, and the MyFord/MyLincoln Touch electronic infotainment system has been problematic. Also, Ford has redesigned three of its historically more reliable models for 2013 — the Escape, Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ — which means CR doesn’t have reliability data on them yet, so they can’t be included.
Toyota Trio Triumphs
There are no domestic brands in the top 10 spots and the top three places are all from the same car maker, Toyota.
The company’s Scion brand remained in the top spot again this year, though it only had two models in the survey. The Toyota brand jumped up four spots to second place with 16 of its 27 models earning readers’ highest ratings. The Toyota Prius C earned the top overall score. Meanwhile, Toyota’s Lexus brand remained in the top three, giving the car-maker a clean sweep.
Japanese brands dominated the rest of the top ten, with Mazda, Subaru, Honda, and Acura coming in positions 4-7 and Infiniti in the ninth position. The only non-Japanese brands to crack the top 10 were Audi (#8) and Kia (#10).
Domestics Doing Better
While Ford was sinking, some U.S. brands saw significant improvement this year.
Cadillac, the top U.S. brand, moved up 14 spots to 11th place on the survey. The charge was led by the CTS coupe, the most reliable domestic car.
GM’s brands are also improving, with GMC jumping up 10 spots to 12th overall, while Chevrolet inched up a couple of spots to 15th and Buick worked its way toward the middle of the pack with a 21st place finish, up three places from 2011.
For the survey, which uses only reader feedback and not CR’s experiences to rate reliability, a model must have a minimum of 100 responses to be considered. Some more popular vehicles had several times that requirement, with the 2012 Honda CR-V eliciting the most survey responses (2,981). Other models receiving more than 2,000 responses include the Hyundai Elantra sedan and the four-cylinder Toyota Camry and Subaru Outback.
You can see more of the survey over at ConsumerReports.org.