NEW YORK – Diesels and gas-electric hybrids have more engine problems than similar gasoline-power vehicles, says a study of owners’ experience with 2001 models, according to a recent USA Today article. Owners of 2001-model Toyota and Honda hybrids reported twice as many engine problems as owners of gas-engine Toyotas and Hondas. Owners of Volkswagen diesels reported up to twice as many engine problems as owners of gas-power VWs.

The results are included in J.D. Power and Associates’ 2004 Vehicle Dependability Study, which asked ‘01 model owners what had gone wrong in the last three years with their vehicles. Automakers insist there’s nothing inherently troublesome about diesels or hybrids, and say they score higher than gas-power vehicles in other measures of quality and satisfaction. Hybrids on sale in ‘01 were the Honda Insight two-seater and Toyota Prius four-door sedan. No gas versions were available, so the Power survey contrasts them with the gas-power Honda Civic and Toyota Co-rolla, each brand’s best-selling small car. Other models in the survey have directly comparable gas versions.

Hybrid problems included repairs to engine computers and emissions-control systems — problems that gasoline and diesel models did not have.

Honda and Toyota say some ‘01 hybrids had faulty engine control computers, which triggered “check engine” lights and caused other problems. Both manufacturers say they told dealers to replace faulty computers, and the problems were solved.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials

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