May 21, 2008, 9:15 GMT
Munich - Toyota cars have been most reliable on German roads followed closely by Mercedes in annual breakdown statistics kept since 1977, according to Germany's automobile association ADAC.
In segments ranging from small cars to premium luxury, Toyota won the top spot for reliability 34 times during the past three decades compared to Mercedes with 32, the ADAC said.
The most unreliable cars with the most breakdowns were Fiat, Renault and Opel which together achieved the lowest rung in terms of reliability 69 times, the automobile association said.
Summarizing the statistics compiled annually since 1977 from breakdowns on German roads, the ADAC said there had been a shift since 1985 from typical breakdowns caused by fan belts
, defective accelerators and loose spark plug cables.
'Over the years cars have been packed with more parts and complicated electronics so that more things can break than in the predecessor cars with simple mechanics,' the ADAC said pointing out that cars in general have not become more reliable.
Most breakdowns today, some 39.7 per cent, are caused by rundown batteries or electronic parts.
Toyota tops reliability over 30 years of breakdown reports