Massive recalls severely hurt Toyota sales in the past 18 months and thus relinquished the country’s former most reliable automaker to third place behind Honda and Ford, according to Consumer Reports.
Honda rank in first place with 25 percent of car owners participating in the magazine’s survey naming the manufacturer with the best quality. Ford finished second with 23 percent, while Toyota finished third at 19 percent, 11 percent less than last year.
Toyota’s reputation plummeted in 2009 and 2010 and it paid nearly $50 million in fines last year to federal safety regulators for failing to promptly inform regulators of defects in its vehicles and delaying recalls.
Chevrolet (19 percent) placed fourth in reliability while Mercedes-Benz (15 percent) was fifth.
Despite Toyota’s third place in quality rankings, it still scored the highest in overall brand perception, a composite ranking of safety, quality, value, performance, environmentally friendliness, design/style and technology/innovation.
Toyota (147 points) edged Ford (144) points in the “overall brand perception” because of its industry reputation as “environmentally friendly,” according to a magazine spokesperson.
In terms of value, Ford (25 percent) lead this list, followed by Honda (24 percent) Toyota (23 percent), Hyundai (17 percent) and Chevrolet (15 percent).
Ford, which had a sales increase of 16.7 percent in 2010, outsold Toyota in the United States in 2010 for the first time since 2006. Toyota’s had 15.2 percent decrease in sales in 2010.