Ford, GM Slide in Reliability Rankings

DETROIT. TheStreet -- Ford ( F) has taken a big step backwards in this year's Consumer Reports reliability rankings.

The magazine said Tuesday that Ford, which had become a symbol of a return to reliability by the Detroit Three, dropped ten places in the rankings to 20th out of 28 brands. The drop resulted from below-average reliability in new models of the Explorer, Fiesta and Focus. "Ford's problems underscore our advice to hold off buying a new car in its first year," Consumer Reports said.

Ford's drop primarily reflected problems with two new technologies: The MyFord Touch infotainment system and the new automated-manual transmission used in the Fiesta and Focus, the magazine said.

On the bright side, the Ford Fusion Hybrid sedan remained outstanding, and other Fusion versions were above average, the magazine said.

GM ( GM) also stumbled, as the Buick and Cadillac brands showed declines. GM's bright spots included the Chevrolet Avalanche, which was above average, and the Volt, ranked as GM's most reliable car, although Consumer Reports heard from not many more than 100 owners.

Meanwhile, Chrysler showed improvement. Jeep moved up seven spots to become the most reliable domestic brand. Chrysler moved up 12 spots while Dodge moved up three. The Chrysler 200 ranked well above average.

Again, Japanese cars took the top nine spots in the survey, led by Scion, Lexus, Acura, Mazda, Honda ( HMC), and Toyota ( TM).

Several European brands ranked low, with Jaguar, Porsche, and Audi at the bottom of the survey. Volvo ranked the highest among European brands, capturing the No. 10 spot, while Volkswagen ranked sixteenth.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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