If you’ve ever spent time in Germany, or dealt with German manufacturing companies, you know TÜV. The technical inspection association is sort of a cross between Underwriter’s Laboratories, Consumer Reports, the NHTSA and your state DMV. TÜV certifies everything from electrical appliances to cars, and they’re responsible for the dreaded annual road inspections that German drivers must endure. Unlike America, where the elimination of state inspection programs means that the guy next to you is driving on bald tires, with no brakes, German drivers must maintain their cars. Tires worn? Brake pads in need of replacing? You won’t be driving your car until it’s made safe to operate. What a concept.
As you’d imagine, TÜV also accumulates data on what cars are the most and least reliable. The results come as no surprise to anyone who knows the Germans: the most reliable car, according to TÜV, is the Porsche 911 Type 996, built from 1997 to 2005. The current generation of the Porsche Boxster (Type 987), also managed to rack up a win, as did the Toyota Corolla Verso (a five door hatchback version not sold in the U.S.). Making the list for the very first time was the second generation Toyota Prius, built between 2004 and 2009. Toyota’s Auris (a three or five door hatchback, also based on the Corolla) and RAV4 also scored well in TÜV reliability studies.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Kia Carnival finished dead last for reliability, just as it did last year. Ironically, the Carnival is sold in the U.S. as the Kia Sedona, and it’s scores as high in reliability (according to J.D. Power and Associates) as the Honda Odyssey. If I have my plant geography correct, the Carnival is built in Russia, while the Sedona is built in South Korea, which might have a thing or two to do with reliability.