When a car manufacturer redesigns an existing line or launches a new model, many of its brand enthusiasts beat a path to the front of the line. Everyone who can afford one wants to get their hands on the brand-new model and take it for a spin. 

Unfortunately, brand-new models can have terrible ratings when it comes to reliability or predictable performance. The reason behind this is simple: the vehicles are using brand-new technology and sometimes are built on a whole new platform. 

Why wait? 

The manufacturer has not yet had time to perfect the design. Because of this, Consumer Reports is one of many organizations studying car reliability and ownership that tell buyers to wait. It reports that the old models that people tire of are often most reliable in their final year, while the new models are often least reliable in the launch year. 

It points out that companies might make a lot of changes to new models: 

  • Body 
  • Transmission 
  • Engine 
  • In-car tech 

How bad is it? 

CNBC estimates that brand-new models often experience below-average reliability ratings 45% of the time. This information also comes from data pulled from Consumer Reports’ studies. The survey in question looked at 420,000 vehicles to arrive at that figure. 

There are other benefits of waiting until the end of a model year to get a new vehicle as well. The sticker price tends to drop as they are about to become outdated just a year later. 

The same reasons cars become unreliable in new model years also contribute to potentially more lemons in the bunch. While lemons can appear in any model year and among even the oldest lineups, buying brand-new models certainly increase the odds.