WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Jan. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As perceptions of both reliability and actual vehicle dependability improve, new-vehicle shoppers are considering more models before making their purchase decision, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Avoider Study SM released today. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20050527/LAF028LOGO-a) The study, now in its 10 th year, examines the reasons consumers do not consider—or avoid—particular models when shopping for a new vehicle. As vehicle reliability improves across the industry, new-vehicle shoppers now consider an average of 3.3 vehicles in 2013, compared with 3.1 in 2012 and 2.9 in 2010. Additionally, fewer shoppers (21%) in 2013 purchased their vehicle without cross-shopping other models, compared with 26 percent in 2012 and 29 percent in 2010. The study finds that only 17 percent of new-vehicle shoppers avoid a model due to its reputation for reliability, compared with 19 percent in 2012 and 21 percent in 2009. Not only has the perception of reliability and dependability improved, but also the actual quality of vehicles has improved, as the average number of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) after three years of ownership has decreased to 132 PP100 in 2012 from 170 PP100 in 2009. "Improved actual and perceived reliability has leveled the playing field, allowing many manufacturers to be considered among new-vehicle shoppers that may not have been considered in the past," said Jon Osborn, research director at J.D. Power and Associates. "Factors, such as gas mileage, styling and comfort, play an important role in the decision-making process. The study findings suggest that marketing a brand image is just as important as building reliable vehicles." The styling of the model, and the image it portrays, are among the primary reasons new-vehicle shoppers avoid particular models. One-third (33%) of shoppers avoid a model because they do not like its exterior look or design, while 19 percent of shoppers do not consider a model because they don't like its interior look or design. The study finds that the image a model portrays plays an important part in avoidance. Nearly one in five (17%) new-vehicle shoppers avoid a model because they don't like the image it portrays.