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Ford moves up in Consumer Reports reliability rankings

The four-cylinder Ford Fusion and its cousin, the Mercury Milan, rank higher in predicted reliability than any family sedan except for the Toyota Prius. Asian nameplates still are the overall winners.

October 28, 2009|Martin Zimmerman

Asian automakers once again dominate the upper ranks of Consumer Reports' annual vehicle-reliability survey, although Ford Motor Co. is making strides in improving the dependability of its cars and light trucks.

Ford's sustained production of vehicles that are as dependable as -- or better than -- some of the industry's best models dispels the notion that only Japanese manufacturers make reliable cars, the magazine reported Tuesday.

The four-cylinder Ford Fusion and its cousin, the Mercury Milan, ranked higher in predicted reliability than any family sedan in the CR survey save the Toyota Prius. The cars beat out the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry, while the Lincoln MKZ, from Ford's luxury division, topped the rival Acura TL and Lexus ES from Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp., respectively.

"It's rare for Consumer Reports to see family sedans from domestic carmakers continue to beat the reliability scores of such highly regarded Japanese models as the Camry and Accord," said David Champion, senior director of the magazine's automotive test center. The last domestic sedan that had better reliability than the Camry and Accord was the Buick Regal in 2004, he noted.

Overall, 46 of 51 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury products were found to have average or better predicted reliability.

That said, Asian nameplates were the clear overall winners in the annual survey, which collected responses on vehicle reliability from 1.4 million subscribers to Consumer Reports magazine and its website, ConsumerReports.org. The responses, which covered ownership experiences with vehicles from model years 2000 to 2009, are used to predict the reliability of 2010 vehicles.

Toyota's Scion brand finished first, followed by Honda, Toyota, Nissan's Infiniti brand, Acura, Mitsubishi and Lexus.

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martin.zimmerman @latimes.com

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