Lexus, world leader in reliability

OCU and Consumer Reports lists offer interesting data on reliability from manufacturers around the world

At the end of 2023, the latest Consumer Reports reports regarding the reliability of the different brands operating in the North American market came out – an equivalent, so to speak, to the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU), reflecting quite interesting data to compare. on both sides of the pond. In both, two brands appear at the top, two brands that are not surprising given that they have been in the top positions for years. These are Lexus and Toyota, which are placed both on the Consumer Reports podium in first and second place and on the OCU podium in first and third position, an interesting indication of how some things remain constant despite the fact that different engines are sold and totally different models depending on which continent. Likewise, the oscillations of a brand between one ranking and another are also worthy of study.

It is true that each factory is different – for example, the Toyota, VAG Group cars or Stellantis cars that are sold in the United States are not manufactured in the same plant as the Toyota, VAG or Stellantis that we have in Spain or elsewhere of Europe. Now, the work methods are similar, the technology is usually similar and the manufacturing and assembly processes are also related, so it does become more relevant to compare brands from a more global point of view. Although the OCU data is from June 2022, it is still considered relevant due to various factors.

One of the factors that is directly related to reliability is technological evolution. Many brands are in the process of transition through models with plug-in hybrid propulsion or some electric variants at the same time that the cabins are increasingly filled with more infotainment, electric screens and, ultimately, technology to make cars more sophisticated. But at the same time, these technologies continue to be developed and in many cases they are the ones that cause problems that affect users and, ultimately, these reliability rankings. In fact, electrical breakdowns are the most common in today’s vehicles.

The same applies to engines, something directly related to the downsizing trend – very low displacement turbo engines – that began a few years ago and occurred especially on European soil. This way of designing the engines has its advantages, especially when it comes to standardizing consumption and emissions, but it also has clear drawbacks, especially over the years. This is largely why European brands are not among the best valued in the OCU ranking or, with some exceptions, in Consumer Reports.