Fiat tops list of least reliable cars

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

BMW owners experience the least problems with their cars and Fiat owners the most.

A survey by market research company Synovate found that Volkswagen's Golf range, which has been in production since 1974, dragged VW to second least reliable brand behind Fiat.

The survey found that new cars now give half the problems they did when the research firm launched its annual customer poll in 1991.

Richard Rice, Synovate's director who headed the research, said: "The average problems per 100 vehicles dropped to 109 last year from 230 in 1998.

"Not only are cars now giving fewer problems, the complaints dealers are getting tend to be for less serious, cosmetic faults."

The survey also found that the quality gap between entry level cars and sedans is narrowing. In 2005, entry level buyers averaged 244 problems per 100 cars versus 148 for "top sedan" buyers. The latest results found this dropped to 132 for entry level cars versus 120 for top sedans last year.

Not all car makers were included in the survey. Tata was excluded because it's still setting up its dealer network, and Hyundai requested to be left out.

Synovate plans to publish its per model results next week.