Berlin/Munich - The winner of the 2015 TÜV Report is … vehicle safety. The fault rate has fallen for the first time in years – by 1.4 per cent, to 23.5 per cent. This is the key message of the 2015 TÜV Report presented by the Association of German TÜV Organisations (VdTÜV). For TÜV SÜD's experts the lower fault rate is a clear indicator of improved servicing and maintenance and of the higher quality of new vehicles. On the winner's podium, the 'Golden Sticker' for Best Car goes to the Mercedes SLK with a fault rate of 2.4 per cent, the lowest fault rate of all time. Defective lights continue to head the list of faults.
"The negative trend observed in recent years has come to a halt, which we are very happy about. Servicing and maintenance not only improve road safety; they also save money. Motorists have clearly been listening to this advice from vehicle experts, including TÜV SÜD", says Patrick Fruth, CEO of TÜV SÜD Auto Service GmbH, commenting on the result of the 2015 TÜV Report which VdTÜV presented at a press conference in Berlin today. The data for the most comprehensive independent report on used cars were gathered in 8.5 million periodical technical inspections (PTIs) performed on over 200 vehicle models between the 2nd half of 2013 and the 1st half of 2014. For the first time in years, these data show a decline in fault rates. The rate of significant faults has decreased by 1.4 per cent and is now at a total of 23.5 per cent. "This is good news – especially given that inspections for safety-related faults are now more intensive", underlines Fruth.
German cars come out on top
The improved result is due not least to the higher quality of new vehicles, particularly those made by German car manufacturers. Among three-year-old cars, the top ten positions with the lowest rate of significant faults are all held by German cars. The winner is the Mercedes SLK (2.4 per cent), followed by the Audi A 6 (2.9 per cent) and the Mercedes GLK SUV (3.6 per cent). And on the subject of SUVs, the 2015 TÜV Report also selected a winner in this category for the first time, based on the classification of the Federal Motor Authority (KBA). The winners in the categories of three-year-old subcompact and compact cars are the Mazda 2 (5.0 per cent) and the Audi A3 (4.9 per cent) respectively. The best mid-size car is the Mercedes C-Class (4.9 per cent), while last year's overall winner, the Opel Meriva (5.4 per cent), wins the title of "best multi-purpose vehicle (MPV)".
Lighting hardly improved
This compact minivan from Rüsselsheim-based Opel also leaves competitors standing on the issue of lighting– still one of our main concerns. In the class of three-year-old cars, only 3.9 per cent of Merivas needed a trip to the repair shop because of defective lighting before they could receive the 'TÜV sticker'. The Meriva thus appears in a good light compared to other models, for which this rate was an average of just under seven per cent. In the inspection lanes, 6.9 per cent of three-year-old passenger cars proved to have lighting problems. And things look even gloomier among eleven-year-old cars, with almost one in three cars (31.8 per cent) sent to a repair shop because of defective lamps.
However, in overall terms fault rates have also improved in the field of lighting. In the experts' opinion, this is mainly due to modern bulbs, such as Xenon bulbs, being less vulnerable to fluctuations in voltage and offering a longer service life. In addition, as on-board diagnosis becomes more widespread failures are noticed earlier and bulbs are replaced faster.
Best result ever
This year's 'Golden Sticker' for the best car goes to the Mercedes SLK. Only 2.4 per cent of the roadsters produced in Bremen revealed significant faults in their first periodical technical inspection (PTI) – the lowest fault rate ever measured in a vehicle model by German TÜV organisations. This result enabled the SLK to easily outrank its competitors, including last year's winner, the Opel Meriva, which came out the 2015 winner in the MPV/minivan category and 17th in the overall ranking. Further podium winners in the 2015 Report are the Audi A6 (2.9 per cent) with Silver and the Mercedes GLK (3.6 per cent) with Bronze. Last year's podium winners in these positions were the Mazda 2 (4.6 per cent) and Toyota IQ (4.8 per cent), which this year ranked 11th (Mazda 2: 5.0 per cent) and 45th (Toyota IQ, 6.9 per cent)
In the 2015 Report, all top ten positions are held by German cars. Ranks four to ten are as follows: Porsche 911, BMW Z4, Mercedes E-Class Coupé, Audi Q5, Audi A3, Ford Focus and Mercedes C-Class. Another indicator of the high quality of new cars is that many of the top performers had a particularly high mileage by the time of their first PTI – the Audi A6 with 62,000 kilometres, the Q5 (also produced by Audi) with 64,000 kilometres and the Mercedes C Class with 59,000 kilometres.
Bringing up the rear are our 'old friends'; the Dacia Logan (15.7 per cent) seems to be a permanent fixture, with almost one in six cars needing a trip to the garage after their first PTI. Second to last was the Alfa Romeo Mito (15.6 per cent) and third to last the Fiat Panda at 14.8 per cent.
Servicing and maintenance benefits vehicles up to 'old age'
A look at the 'long run' reveals the Mazda 3 (at 5.4 per cent) followed by the Porsche 911 (6.4 per cent) and the Toyota IQ at 6.5 per cent, as the cars with the lowest fault rate in the category of four-to-five-year-old cars. Toyota’s smallest car came out third in the overall ranking of last year's TÜV Report. Among the six- and seven-year-old cars, the Porsche 911 heads the list (10.5 per cent) followed by the Mazda 2 at 11.2 per cent and the VW Golf Plus at 11.5 per cent. Thanks to good servicing and maintenance, the Porsche 911 is the winner in the category of eight-to-nine-year-old cars, followed by the Toyota Corolla Verso – which, however, had clocked up almost twice the mileage. In fact, this model need not be afraid of a comparison with newer cars. After nine years, its fault rate is still slightly better than that of the Dacia Logan at its first PTI.
The Porsche 911 is also the winner among the seniors (10 to 11 years), followed by the Subaru Forester. As a big surprise in this age group, bringing up the rear is the Mercedes M-Class (W 163) with almost 50 per cent needing a trip to the garage. Eleven-year-old Fiat Stilos, VW Sharans and Ford Galaxys have similar fault rates.
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 2015 TÜV Report, this amounted to more than 8.5 million inspections performed between July 2013 and June 2014. As the largest provider of periodical technical inspections, TÜV SÜD contributed results from around 4 million vehicle inspections.