J D Power has just published the results of its 2008 Vehicle Dependability Study, which summarises the problems experienced by owners of three-year-old vehicles in the US. http://www.jdpower.com/autos/ratings/dependability-ratings-by-brand
Lexus comes top, as it has in the past. This has happened enough times in the past that it is approaching the point at which it is no longer newsworthy. Sadly, the name at the bottom of the list is not a newcomer either. Land Rover comes last with 344 problems per 100 cars.
It's easy to imagine that Land Rovers are put through more extreme conditions than the other cars on the list and therefore suffer more problems. But as every Land Rover owner I've ever met has pointed out, that's missing the point: the cars are now too complicated.
I was camping in Sussex last weekend. I scrabbled up the hill to the camp site in my Land Cruiser and got out to find a LWB Land Rover and a 55-plate Discovery parked at the top alongside some heavy-duty ex-army kit. I soon got chatting to the drivers of the cars and found out that the air suspension on the Discovery has collapsed onto the bumpstops a couple of weeks previously due to a faulty compressor. The owner of the 15-year-old 110 Land Rover was horrified. But not nearly as horrified as he was to hear that new Defenders come with electric windows as standard.