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Lexus prevails in 2014 vehicle dependability list

Owners of three-year-old vehicles are reporting more problems than they did a year ago, according to J.D. Power and Associates’ annual survey of vehicle dependability. It’s the first time since 1998 that the average number of problems per vehicle has increased.
Modified: February 12, 2014 at 6:57 pm •  Published: February 12, 2014
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The race to increase vehicle fuel economy is taking a toll on quality.

Owners of three-year-old vehicles are reporting more problems than they did a year ago, according to J.D. Power and Associates’ annual survey of vehicle dependability. It’s the first time since 1998 that the average number of problems per vehicle has increased.

J.D. Power, a California-based ratings and consulting company, said engine issues accounted for most of the increase in problems reported by the original owners of cars and trucks from the 2011 model year. Owners reported an average of 133 problems per 100 vehicles, up from 126 problems a year ago. Only problems within the prior 12 months are counted.

Automakers are rapidly implementing new engine technology to save fuel, including direct fuel injection and turbocharging, stop-start systems that automatically shut cars down at traffic lights and transmissions with higher gears. But those more complex systems can cause problems. David Sargent, J.D. Power’s vice president of global automotive, said the company saw an increase in complaints about engine hesitation, rough transmission shifts and lack of power.

“While striving to reduce fuel consumption, automakers must be careful not to compromise quality,” Sargent said in a statement.

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Toyota announces recall of priuses

Toyota said Wednesday it is recalling 1.9 million hybrid Prius cars globally for a software glitch that could cause the vehicle to stall.

Toyota Motor Corp. said that 997,000 Prius cars in Japan, some 713,000 in North America, another 130,000 in Europe and the rest in other regions are being recalled for a problem in the software to control the hybrid system.

No accidents or injuries related to the problem have been reported.

The software could cause transistors to become damaged, causing warnings lights to go off, driving power to be reduced or the car to stop. The recalled vehicles were manufactured between March 2009 and February 2014.

The Japanese automaker suffered massive recalls starting in 2009, affecting more than 14 million vehicles for problems including floor mats, gas pedals and brakes.

Associated Press

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