Preconceptions about brands are hard to shift from the public consciousness – and nowhere is that more prevalent than the car market.
‘German cars are well built’, ‘Japanese cars are reliable’, and ‘as for Alfa Romeos…’ are pearls of wisdom anyone considering buying a second hand car will have heard at some point – usually from somebody with little expert knowledge themselves and a huge bias toward their own preferred brand.
But at least some of these car market cliches have been given added weight by the latest report released by Warranty Direct.
The Warranty provider has released data revealing the top ten automotive brands with the highest percentage of claims made against them as well as the average cost of repairs.
The car brands costing us thousands
Warranty Direct analysed statistics from over 40,000 policies and more than £3 million-worth of their most recently authorised claims to compile the list, which showed well over a third of Alfa Romeo (40 per cent) and Porsche (36 per cent) drivers needed to make a claim, whilst 34 per cent of Land Rovers also suffered from faults.
Alfa Romeos are often considered a true driving enthusiast’s car for their quality of performance and style, but they have a reputation for needing frequent trips to the garage. Topping this list won’t do anything for that reputation, with suspension, electrical and cooling system problems the most frequent cause for claims in 2016.
Maintenance of Porsches was a considerable expense last year, with a claims rate of 36 per cent across policies, at an average cost of £1,019.07 per repair. Common claims for Porsche owners included suspension and electrical issues, along with steering faults.
Significantly, Mercedes-Benz sit in fifth place with an average repair cost of £559.99 the highest after Porsche and BMW. Three of the top ten are German cars – despite the reputation cars manufactured in Germany have for reliability.
When assessing the top five manufacturers on the list’s most frequent reasons for a claim, axle and suspension problems were common, along with electrical problems. Although not one of the most regular faults, gearbox repairs came at significant cost and averaged over £1,250 per repair across the top five brands.
Make % of Claims Average Claim 1 Alfa Romeo 40% £355.47 2 Porsche 36% £1,019.07 3 Land Rover 34% £513.31 4 Chrysler 26% £474.28 5 Mercedes-Benz 25% £559.99 6 Jaguar 23% £442.68 7 Lexus 22% £469.68 8 BMW 16% £609.13 9 Volvo 16% £466.92 10 Citroën 15% £363.20
The figures bolstered the reputation Japanese manufacturers have for reliability, with Japanese brands overtaking European options as the most reliable vehicles on the market. Honda, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota all had between just 3 per cent and 6 per cent of their policies claimed on throughout the year. The only Japanese brand to make the top ten was Toyota-owned Lexus – presumably partly down to that other cliche ‘the more expensive the car, the more can go wrong’.
Super-minis and hatchbacks did not receive many claims, largely due to the simplicity of their parts and reduced costs of labour. These included brands such as Smart, Kia, Seat, Ford and Hyundai, all with less than 10 per cent claims being made against their policies. While these vehicle types had fewer claims, a warranty does go some way to covering the unexpected costs for sudden repairs and provides peace of mind to motorists.
Commenting on the latest data, COO of Warranty Direct, Philip Ward, said: “With many cars becoming increasingly more complex in terms of component parts, repair costs will continue to rise throughout 2017. Vehicles which might initially seem reliable and reasonably priced can end up becoming a financial liability for the owner.”