The results of the 2016 TÜV Report confirm the trend of increased safety for vehicles on Germany’s roads. Today the Association of German TÜV Organisations (VdTÜV) in Berlin presented detailed figures from the new TÜV Report showing that the overall number of vehicle faults has fallen for the second year in succession – this time by almost one percentage point, to 22.6 per cent. The ‘Golden Sticker’ for Best Car went to the Mercedes B-Class, with other places on the winners’ podium likewise occupied by cars from German manufacturers. For the experts at TÜV SÜD, this was a clear indication that the proactive quality drive by Germany’s premium car manufacturers is taking effect. Defective lights headed the list of faults, while the proportion of non-roadworthy vehicles continued stable at a mere 0.1 per cent.
“The rate of faults has fallen significantly for the second year in succession, confirming the continuation of last year’s turnaround and sending a clear signal that vehicles are generally becoming safer”, says Patrick Fruth, CEO of TÜV SÜD Auto Service GmbH, commenting on the results of the 2016 TÜV Report which VdTÜV presented at a press conference in Berlin today. “That’s great news, particularly given that inspections for safety-related faults have been more rigorous since 2012.”
Confirmation of the trend continues through to the Report’s top places, exclusively occupied – as in last year’s Report – by models from premium German car manufacturers that deliver continued reliability despite often high mileages. “A clear signal that our proactive quality drive of previous years has taken effect”, declares Fruth. The largest independent used-car report draws on a database of almost nine million periodical vehicle inspections performed on 233 different vehicle models in the period spanning the last six months of 2014 and the first six of 2015. The rate of significant faults fell by 0.9 percentage points, ending at 22.6 per cent.
New cars improve overall results
A glance at the winners’ podium shows the Mercedes B-Class as the winner of the Golden Sticker with the lowest rate of major faults, averaging 2.8 per cent. Silver went to the Mercedes GLK (2.9 per cent), which improved its result by one place over last year. Last year’s winner of second place – the Audi A6 – slid to ninth place this year at 4.4 per cent, although with impressive mileage of 80,000 kilometres after two to three years. Bronze went to last year’s winner, the Mercedes SLK, with an average fault rate of 3.1 per cent.
A new feature of this year’s TÜV Report is a ‘best in class’ winner according to categories set by the German Federal Motor Transport Authority. The Audi A1 was chosen as the winner of the subcompact car class (4.4 per cent), and – like last year’s 2015 TÜV Report – the Audi A3 headed the compact car class at 5.0 per cent. The star of the Mercedes C Class shone the brightest in the midsize car category (3.7 per cent), while the overall winner, the Mercedes B Class, was also best in class for multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs); the Mercedes GLK (2.9 per cent) was chosen as the best SUV.
New lighting technology is effective
With respect to fault categories, slight improvements in virtually every category brought the overall fault rate down once again. The main improvements were shown in the average rates of significant faults in steering and lighting systems. Steering systems have become more durable; here, the rate of faults fell by half a percentage point to 1.0 per cent in seven-year-old vehicles, and by 0.6 of a percentage point to 2.0 per cent in nine-year-old vehicles. Where lighting is concerned, eleven-year-old cars showed the highest improvement, with the rate of lighting system faults in this group declining by half a percentage point to 8.9 per cent. Faults in rear lighting fell by 0.7 of a percentage point to 10.8 per cent. By way of comparison, a look at new cars shows that fault rates for front lights have not improved at all (2.1 per cent), while complaints about rear lighting fell by 0.3 of a percentage point to 1.8 per cent. Lighting faults continue to head the list of problems. Despite a slight improvement of one percentage point, almost one in three eleven-year-old vehicles – 30.8 per cent – is sent to a repair shop because of defective lights. Even cars undergoing their first inspection are not immune, with6.4 per cent of these debutants failing because of lighting problems.
The experts express growing concerns over clumsily performed retrofitting of LED day running lights. “With LED technology, drivers are tempted to deform the lamps or even install LED bulbs in their existing lamp housings. This invalidates approval of the lamp as a whole”, warns Fruth. The experts believe that the further slight improvements to lighting systems shown by the Report are due to the lamps’ enhanced resilience to voltage fluctuation and the longer lifespan of modern lamp models such as xenon lamps. The increasing availability of on-board diagnosis functions also ensures that faults are noticed sooner and lamps are exchanged more quickly.
High mileage is also a winner
As in 2015, the 2016 Report shows that the top places in the two- to three-year-old vehicles are firmly in the hands of German car manufacturers. The winning three were followed by the Mercedes M/GL Class and Porsche 911 Carrera, both scooping fourth place with a 3.6-per-cent rate of significant faults each, and followed by the Audi Q5 (3.7 per cent, 6th place) and Mercedes C Class (also 3.7 per cent and 6th place). 8th place was occupied by Mercedes again, this time the E Class with 4.2 per cent, while 9th place (4.4 per cent) was shared by the Audi A1 and A6 and the Toyota Yaris. On the subject of high mileage, the A6 has notched up an average of 80,000 kilometres by the time it undergoes its first periodic vehicle inspection. Mercedes M and GL Class generally make their inspection debut with 61,000 kilometres on the clock, the Audi Q5 with 60,000 kilometres, and the Mercedes C Class with an average of 58,000 kilometres. “The large number of high-scoring vehicles with particularly high mileages is further proof of the high quality of today’s new vehicles”, affirms Fruth.
The bottom end of the table tells quite a different story with respect to mileage. Bringing up the rear, the Chevrolet Spark had a fault rate of 14.6 per cent after a mere 31,000 kilometres, replacing the long-standing worst performer, the Dacia Logan; this year the Dacia showed its first improvement in a long while, rising by a noteworthy 2.9 percentage points to sixth-to-last place (12.8 per cent). The second-to-last place was taken by the Fiat 500 (14.1 per cent), and the third-to-last by the Fiat Punto at 13.3 per cent.
Hybrid technology runs and runs
When used-car purchasing decisions have to be made, long-term perspectives are key considerations. The best performers after four to five years were the Audi A1 (5.7 per cent), BMW Z4 (6.0 per cent) and Audi Q5 (6.1 per cent); the models with the fewest faults after six to seven years were the Porsche 911 (8.9 per cent), followed by the overall winner in 2011/12, the “semi-electric” Toyota Prius (9.6 per cent) and the VW Golf Plus (10.3 per cent). The picture after eight to nine years is virtually identical: the Porsche 911 was in first place with 11.7 per cent for significant faults, followed by the Toyota Prius (13.1 per cent) and the Mazda MX-5 with 15.1 per cent.
The hybrid Prius significantly outperformed the sporty 911 in both age categories, at 89,000 kilometres compared to 56,000 kilometres after six to seven years and – even more convincingly – at 108,000 kilometres after eight to nine years, compared to a mere 67,000 kilometres for the 911. The Toyota Verso was in second place among ten to eleven-year-old vehicles, beaten by the Porsche 911 in first place, while the Toyota RAV 4 took third place. The mileage discrepancies were likewise particularly striking among these “oldies”; while the Toyota Verso notched up 123,000 kilometres and the Toyota RAV 4 a still impressive 113,000 kilometres, the Porsche 911 – despite being winner in its age category – had an average of only 86,000 kilometres under its belt.
The tail end of the ten to eleven-year-old category was accounted for by the Fiat Stilo, at 44 per cent; the Mercedes M Class (W163), 2015’s worst performer, was only slightly better, at 43.7 per cent. Eleven-year-old VW Sharans and Ford Galaxys returned similar results.
The TÜV Report is published every year by the Association of German TÜV Organisations (VdTÜV) and is one of the most important independent guides for drivers and buyers of used cars. It includes all results of periodical technical inspections carried out by TÜV organisations in Germany – in the 2016 TÜV Report, this amounted to more than 8.8 million periodical technical inspections performed between July 2014 and June 2015. As the largest provider of periodical technical inspections, TÜV SÜD contributed results from over 4.2 million vehicle inspections.
Information: The 2016 TÜV Report is available at TÜV SÜD service centres and from retailers from Friday 6 November, priced at EUR 4.50.
Current pictures on the theme of "Periodical Technical Inspections" can be downloaded from the image library in the Media Photos category under the heading “Mobility”, sub-category “Roadworthiness test / TÜV sticker”: http://www.tuv-sud.com/pressphotos.
All information about the 2016 TÜV Report can be found at www.tuev-sued.de/tuev-report-2016 (only available in German).
The current Truck Report can be downloaded at www.vdtuev.de.
Press-contact: Vincenzo Lucà