NEW YORK - Bad news Monday for the Ford Motor company. Consumer Reports' just-released reliability rankings of new cars shows Ford has dropped to near the bottom of the list. Of 28 makes, only Jaguar does worse. But Consumer Reports found other automakers are delivering less trouble-prone vehicles.
Go to buy a new car and you want one that stays out of the repair shop. You've got a good chance with Toyota. Consumer Reports said it's the most reliable carmaker out there. The findings are based on subscribers' experience with more than a million vehicles.
"Toyota's three brands, Scion, Toyota and Lexus, finished first, second, and third for reliability," said Rik Paul of Consumer Reports.
Those three automakers were followed by Mazda, Subaru, Honda, and Acura — all Japanese brands.
Ford's reliability, in sharp contrast, dropped way down this year.
"Just two years ago, more than 90 percent of Fords were average or better for reliability. But in the last couple of years, they've released some new or redesigned models that have had more problems than normal," Paul said.
These models include the Explorer, the Fiesta and the Focus.
Also problematic: Ford's relatively new electronic infotainment system.
"General Motors did better in our latest rankings. Cadillac was the top U.S. brand, and its CTS coupe was the most reliable domestic car," Paul said.
The most reliable car of all is the Toyota Prius C. In fact, all the Priuses have above-average reliability.
"When the Toyota Prius was released 12 years ago, there was a lot of skepticism about how well it would hold up. But we're finding that most hybrids and electric vehicles are proving very reliable," Paul said.
As for Ford, Consumer Reports is waiting to see how well the cars it redesigned for 2013 will hold up — the Ford Escape, the Ford Fusion, and the Lincoln MKZ. These three were too new to be included in this year's reliability analysis.