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Vorsprung durch Technik? German cars 'amongst least reliable'

Bentley Continental GT Image copyright Bentley
Image caption Bentley models - owned by Germany's Volkswagen - were amongst the least reliable, according to the survey

German cars are amongst the least reliable, and Japanese cars amongst the most dependable, according to an industry survey.

German manufacturers took four of the bottom six places in a reliability table based on the experiences of 50,000 UK car owners.

By contrast, Japanese manufacturers took four of the top six places.

The findings fly in the face of Germany's traditional reputation for engineering excellence.

That reputation was used by Audi in its advertising catch-line "Vorsprung durch Technik" - or "progress by technology".

Luxury car-maker Bentley, owned by Volkswagen, was judged the least reliable of 37 brands, in the research by What Car? and Warranty Direct.

Mercedes, Audi and Porsche were also in the bottom six.

Most reliable cars
Postion Maker Reliability score (lowest best)
1. Honda 41
2. Suzuki 48
3. Toyota 66
4. = Chevrolet 82
4.= Mazda 82
6. Ford 85
source: What Car?/ Warranty Direct Base: Cars between 3 and 8 years old
Image copyright Honda
Image caption Honda's models were the most reliable, according to the survey

'Unfair'

Top of the table was Honda, with Japanese manufacturers Suzuki, Toyota and Mazda in the top six.

"Honda's success in the reliability index is chiefly down to low failure rates," said Jim Holder, the editor of What Car?

"However, when things do go wrong, the cars are also relatively cheap to fix."

The reliability index is calculated according to how often a car needs to be repaired, and how expensive those repairs are.

Luxury cars may therefore fare worse in the table, as spare parts can be more expensive.

Bentley said that that the survey was unfair, because it covered less than 4% of Bentleys on the road, and did not include comparable luxury brands like Rolls Royce, owned by BMW.

Those responsible for the survey said there were too few Rolls Royces on the road to provide statistically reliable data.

"The cost of owning and maintaining a Bentley is never going to be directly comparable with the other cars in this survey," said a spokesperson .

Least reliable cars
Position Maker Reliability score (highest worst)
32. Mercedes Benz 215
33. Chrysler 221
34. Audi 223
35. Jeep 227
36. Porsche 380
37. Bentley 637
source: What Car?/ Warranty Direct Base: Cars between 3 and 8 years old

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