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Most consumers look for value, performance, style, and comfort when purchasing a new vehicle. Dependability, however, should not be overlooked. An unreliable model can lead to expensive repairs and usually won’t hold up to normal wear and tear.

In a recent study, Ford and Lincoln ranked as the least dependable car brands compared to other American models. The results were based on how often problems occurred with the powertrain, driving assistance features, seating, interior/exterior, infotainment system, climate control system, controls/displays, driving experience, and more.

These reliable luxury SUVs for 2023 include this Lincoln Nautilus
A 2023 Lincoln Nautilus | Lincoln

Ford and Lincoln were the lowest-scoring American brands

The J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study recently revealed its findings, with Ford and Lincoln scoring the worst among other American car brands.

The study looks at the average amount of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), covering “184 specific problem areas across nine major vehicle categories.” The models with the best performance have a lower PP100 and are ranked the highest.

According to the study, many automakers have still not mastered infotainment systems, with that feature proving to be most problematic among most brands. Compared to previous findings, 63% of vehicles required fewer component replacements, and over-the-air software updates continued to be an issue.

While the Lexus RX and Toyota C-HR ranked highly in the study, Ford and its luxury arm, Lincoln, scored among the worst for dependability.

How Ford and Lincoln compare to their main rivals 

Lincoln scored at the very bottom of the J.D. Power dependability list, ranking 31st out of 32 models, with a dismal score of 259 PP100. With 186 PP100 being the industry average, this was an extremely poor showing for the luxury brand.

Ford didn’t fare much better, getting 240 PP100, plummeting to 29th place after holding the number 16 spot in last year’s survey results. All other American brands scored much higher than Ford and Lincoln.

For example, in the overall brand ranking, Buick and Chevrolet scored in the top five, receiving 159 PP100 and 162 PP100, respectively. 

Cadillac was also among the highest-ranking brands, with 173 PP100. General Motors Company received four segment awards for the Chevrolet Blazer, Chevy Silverado HD, Chevy Tahoe, and GMC Sierra.

Of course, Ford hopes to turn around its reputation of being the most recalled brand in 2022, bringing on a new quality turnaround specialist to improve dependability.

Ford was not the least dependable car in all categories

It wasn’t all bad news for the blue oval. When comparing specific models, the Ford Fusion landed in the top three ranked vehicles for the midsize car segment.

The Ford Edge also ranked high in the midsize SUV category, but this recognition was not enough to pull the brand out of the bottom tier of the list. When it came to pickup trucks, even the best-selling Ford F-150 didn’t get a nod.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Ford had several launch vehicles that may have affected the results of the J.D. Power study. In 2020, new models of the Ford Escape, Explorer, Corsair, and Lincoln Aviator debuted and were calculated into the recent survey findings.

Since more problems usually appear in launch vehicles, that could be part of the problem behind the low Ford and Lincoln dependability rating. 

Ford and Lincoln scored above average in the 2022 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. A Ford spokesperson explained, “Both internal and external data show that we are improving initial product quality for our customers.” They said, “We know we still have a lot of work to do, which is why delivering high-quality products continues to be our top priority.”


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