Press Release

Vehicle Dependability of Import Brands Rapidly Improves, J.D. Power Finds

Lexus Ranks Highest in Overall Vehicle Dependability and Has been Highest-Ranked Brand in Luxury Segment for Four Straight Years

TOKYO: 1 Dec. 2021 — Overall vehicle dependability of import brands in the Japan marketplace has improved more than that of domestic brands, accompanying a rapid improvement in vehicle dependability among import brands, according to the J.D. Power 2021 Japan Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS), released today.


Overall, the numbers of problems experienced are 56 PP100 (problems per 100) for domestic brands and 75 PP100 for import brands, suggesting that import brands have more problems than domestic brands. However, when looking at the trend since 2018, domestic brands have improved by 18 PP100, compared with an improvement of 35 PP100 for import brands, demonstrating a notable improvement for the latter. A lower score in this metric indicates fewer problems, indicating higher vehicle dependability.


“Eliminating differences in dependability between domestic and import brands may become an opportunity to make import brands a purchase option for customers who have stayed away from them due to perceptions that import brands are likely to have problems,” said Yuji Sasaki, director of research at J.D. Power.


The study, now in its seventh year, measures problems experienced by original owners of vehicles after 36 to 53 months of ownership. The study examines 177 problem symptoms across eight categories: vehicle exterior; driving experience; features/controls/displays (FCD); audio/communication/entertainment/navigation (ACEN); seats; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); vehicle interior; and engine/ transmission. Overall dependability is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality.


Following are key findings of the 2021 study:

  • Overall vehicle dependability improves: The industry average is 57 PP100 in 2021, a 5 PP100 improvement from the previous year. Among the 13 brands included in the rankings, Lexus ranks highest in overall vehicle dependability, with a score of 34 PP100, a 21 PP100 improvement from the previous year. Lexus has been the highest-ranked brand in the luxury segment for a fourth consecutive year. Lexus also ranked highest in the J.D. Power 2021 Japan Initial Quality StudySM (IQS) and the J.D. Power 2021 Japan Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.SM Among the mass market brands, Toyota ranks highest this year, with a score of 51 PP100, a 4 PP100 improvement from a year ago.


  • Engine/transmission and vehicle exterior problems have decreased, according to vehicle owners: In the past three years, the largest change is in the engine/transmission category (7.2 PP100), an improvement of 4.6 PP100 from 2018, followed by the vehicle exterior category (10.0 PP100), an improvement of 4.5 PP100. In the engine/transmission category, vehicle dependability improves notably in three attributes: automatic transmission–hesitation/shifts at wrong times; problems with automatic engine shut down/restart/re-engagement; and excessive fuel consumption.


  • Import brands are improving at a rapid pace: Import brands (75 PP100) still have more problems than domestic brands (56 PP100). However, when looking at the trend since 2018, improvements are 35 PP100 for import brands and 18 PP100 for domestic brands, indicating that import brands are rapidly improving in vehicle dependability. By category, import brands have notably improved in vehicle exterior, a 9.5 PP100 improvement, compared with a 4.2 PP100 improvement for domestic brands, followed by engine/transmission (-7.2 PP100 vs. -4.4 PP100).



Highest-Ranked Brands

Lexus ranks highest in overall VDS. Toyota ranks highest among mass market brands.


Segment-Leading Models 

  • Mini-car–Sedan segment: Daihatsu Mira e:S
  • Mini-car–Height Wagon segment: Honda N-ONE
  • Mini-car–Super Height Wagon segment: Daihatsu MOVE canbus
  • Compact Car segment: Toyota PASSO
  • Midsize Car segment: Toyota COROLLA
  • Midsize SUV segment: Toyota HARRIER
  • Compact Minivan segment: Daihatsu THOR
  • Minivan segment: Toyota ESTIMA


The 2021 Japan Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from 19,327 original owners of new vehicles in the first 36 to 53 months of ownership. The study was fielded from June through July 2021.


J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics.
A pioneer in the use of big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithmic modeling capabilities to understand consumer behavior, J.D. Power has been delivering incisive industry intelligence on customer interactions with brands and products for more than 50 years. The world's leading businesses across major industries rely on J.D. Power to guide their customer-facing strategies.
J.D. Power has offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.


Media Relations Contacts

Kumi Kitami; Japan; 81-3-4570-8410;

Geno Effler; USA; 714-621-6224;


About J.D. Power and Advertising/Promotional Rules


Media Contacts