Are The Most Reliable Cars Built In The US?

We often don’t consider the reliability of a car when it’s running properly. Instead, we just expect our car to continue working, and the more it does, the less we think about the possibility of a breakdown. 

If your car has a history of breaking down, perhaps you are a little more cognizant of what constitutes a reliable vehicle. Does your car start smoothly or sputter? Does your engine overheat? How many miles has your car traveled without an issue?

Your answer to these questions may impact your perception of how reliable your own make and model is, but we wanted to take a more analytical approach. 

What cars are most reliable, and does our perception of reliability have a basis in reality or is it conjecture? At The Simple Dollar, we wanted to answer this question, so we surveyed Americans about the countries they believe manufacture the most reliable cars and compared these responses to the 2019 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study from J.D. Power. 

Patriotism vs. pragmatism in perceived auto reliability

Even though 54% of Americans believe Toyota and Honda are the most reliable car brands, both being Japanese-made vehicles, the majority (40%) of respondents still believe cars made in America are most reliable. 

29% of Americans cited Japan as the country with the most reliable cars, and only 18% believe German-made are the most reliable. 

South Korea, the country of origin for auto manufacturers like Hyundai and Kia, is believed to be most reliable by a mere 3% of Americans. Sweden, UK and Italy are believed to be most reliable by a combined 8% of Americans.  

According to J.D. Power, however, the countries that manufacture the most reliable vehicles are in almost the exact opposite order. Looking at the geographical representation of car manufacturers above and below the industry standard for reliability, Germany had the most car brands above the industry standard.

Of the car brands that scored above the industry standard, Germany represents 35%. Japan, on the other hand, had 5 brands below the industry standard for reliability, but only 4 above. 

Which car brand do you most associate with reliability? 

We asked Americans which individual car brands they believe are most reliable, we included 6 top-selling brands in America including Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Chevy, Toyota, Honda and Ford. Here are the brands perceived by Americans to be the most reliable:

32% of Americans think Toyota makes the most reliable cars

Toyota is often…

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