Categories: News

Are German cars really that reliable? This is what 4 studies say!

German cars are known to many people as solid and reliable. But is that really the case? Are German cars demonstrably more reliable compared to competitors from other countries? We looked into it for you.

Germany is a huge car country. The German Benz (later part of Mercedes-Benz) made the very first car in 1885. Now - almost 140 years later - German cars have a reputation for quality and, above all, reliability.

To make sure that this reputation is based on something, we include several reliability studies. We look at how German brands such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen and Opel compare to their competitors from other countries.

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Source 1: Japanese dominate research by Consumers' Association, Germans moderately

We start with an investigation of the Consumers Association. Last year they investigated the reliability of their vehicles by means of a large-scale survey among car owners. The questionnaire went to both members and non-members and concerned cars from 2012. They asked car owners about their experiences with their car, including the number of breakdowns in the past year. They made a distinction between cars that could continue driving with the fault and cars that had to go straight to the garage or couldn't even drive any further.

The top regions of the ranking are dominated by Japanese brands. For example, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Toyota do very well with a figure of around 8 or higher. The first German brand we see is BMW: the brand from Munich is joint fifth with a score of 7.6, together with Honda and Mazda. The next German brands are Mercedes-Benz with a 7.0 in twelfth place and Opel with a 6.6 in place 16. Audi (6.5 - place 17) and Volkswagen (6.4 - place 18) are doing worse and even dangle at the bottom of the rankings.

Source 2: Almost all Germans less reliable than average in research JD Power

Also the American J.D. Power conducted a large-scale reliability study. The company that specializes in data research on consumer behavior focuses in their research on cars from model year 2020. They looked at the number of breakdowns the cars had in the past year and attached a score to the reliability for each brand. JD Power did this in the form of the number of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). The lower this score is, the more reliable the brand.

The most reliable brand appears to be Lexus with a score of 133, followed by Genesis (144) and Kia (152). The latter is the most reliable volume brand from the list. BMW is the first German brand and is in fifteenth place with a score of 184, just below the average score of 186.

Porsche (208) and Volkswagen (216) are doing a lot worse than average, but Mercedes-Benz (240) and Audi (252) are making it all the way.

Source 3: Germans also underperform in British research

What Car? is a British motoring magazine and website and conducts an annual survey of the reliability of various cars. In the most recent survey, nearly 25,000 car owners with a car up to five years old were asked about their experiences. A percentage was associated with the reliability. The higher the percentage, the better the reliability.

Toyota (97.2%) will be pleased with the results, as this brand occupies the first two positions together with its own luxury brand Lexus (98.4%). For a German brand we have to go all the way to place 16, where it is again BMW (93.4%) that we find first. Porsche (91.6%), Audi (91.1%) and Volkswagen (90.2%) follow at an appropriate distance. The worst German brand is Mercedes-Benz (89.5%).

Source 4: Research Test-Achats shows a similar picture

The Belgian Test-Purchase is a consumer organisation, comparable to the Consumers' Association. They questioned drivers from five countries (Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal) about the breakdowns they experienced with their vehicles in recent years. Information on more than 60,000 cars was collected. The reliability of the brands was given a number up to 100.

It is becoming a familiar picture: the Japanese are at the top of the reliability survey. Lexus (95), Subaru (93), Toyota (91) and Mitsubishi (89) record excellent figures. Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volkswagen (each 82) are the first Germans in the middle bracket. Audi (80) performed even worse, but Porsche and Opel (both 76) are the worst performing Germans.

Source 5: Older Germans seem built to last

Finally, we put it to the test ourselves in a fun way with That is not scientifically substantiated, but the results are no less interesting. We entered a search query with a mileage of at least 500,000. We then looked at the make of the cars that meet the search criteria.

Not surprisingly, Volvo is the best represented with 51 vehicles. However, the Swedes feel the hot breath of the first German car brand in the list: no less than 47 cars van Mercedes-Benz with mileage of half a million are for sale on They are followed by 19 Volkswagens with half a million kilometerswhile also Audi (11), Opel (6) in BMW (5) appear in the list. In total we found 193 cars, of which 88 were German. An excellent percentage of 45.6 percent.


Several studies show that modern cars from Germany are not among the most reliable cars. The Japanese cars dominate, while the German brands score rather average.

It is striking that we do see many older German cars in our small Marktplaats survey. The fact that relatively many older cars from Germany reach half a million kilometers shows that they are built to a high standard. Perhaps the conclusion should therefore be that cars from Germany once deserved the title of reliability, but they have lost that same reliability in recent years …


Dreamer is what I am, but unlike many, I struggle to make my dreams come true. I own, seo, admin and site editor. I am a father, married, Christian, Northeastern/Brazil and Libran. I love cars <3

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