U.S. brands falter in Consumer Reports auto reliability survey

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Consumer Reports is out with its rankings of automobile brands based on reliability.

Consumer Reports said Tesla's Model S sedan had reported problems with its suspension and door handle.

Tesla ranked No. 27 in reliability, down six spots.

Implementing new tech is listed as a possible reason for numerous lower rankings seen on this year's survey.

The magazine gives more weight to mechanical and safety issues than minor problems such as voice recognition or wind noise. "The suspension issues that some Model S customers experienced primarily in 2017 were due to a supplier-related issue that did not pose any threat to vehicle safety or drivability, and presented itself only when the auto was parked".

The automakers that came out on top are Lexus and Toyota.

Top 10 auto brands by reliability: (1) Lexus, (2) Toyota, (3) Mazda, (4) Subaru, (5) Kia, (6) Infinity, (7) Audi, (8) BMW, (9) Mini and (10) Hyundai. Volvo finished last overall.

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It also recommends that "consumers should avoid brand new or redesigned models and wait a year or two until the automaker has had the chance to work out the kinks and headaches that often arise".

The much-discussed Tesla brand ranked in the bottom three vehicle makers in Consumer Reports newest reliability study, Autoblog reported.

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CR says its reliability ratings "show how well vehicles have held up and the odds that an owner could be inconvenienced by problems and repairs".

There were some bright spots for Detroit automakers. Those vehicles include the Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Suburban, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and Lincoln Continental.

Lexus and Toyota continued their dominance on the manufacturer rankings where the two brands posted a one-two finish for the second year in a row. Jeep had mixed results, finishing at No. 22; Chrysler fell seven spots to No. 24; and Ram fared the poorest of the FCA brands, at No. 26. That can hurt reliability as more complexity is added.

It remains to be seen whether the low reliability score will affect Tesla sales. The Model 3 received an "average" grade.

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