Vehicles requiring a lot of repair work may be great for the service department, but can create problems in the showroom.

There are sharp contrasts between vehicle brands with fewer repairs that require time in the shop, and other brands with more frequent repairs, according to Walden Consultants' Repair Frequency Comparison index.

“Low-repair incidences are associated with vehicle brands that have had noticeable sales increases,” says Henry P. Allessio Walden's managing director.

He says the study cannot establish a direct link between repair incidences and vehicle sales. “However similar quantitative relationships have emerged from theses kinds of studies for more than 20 years.”

Adds Walden Research Director Thomas J. Mortimer: “Where there's smoke, there's fire. Vehicle brands such as Toyota and Honda have repeatedly demonstrated low repair incidences, and have had consistently strong new vehicles sales in the U.S.”

Repair frequent comparisons are based on an array of auto parts that, in their failed condition, typically immobilize a vehicle, making it unavailable.

Allesio says, “Some of the difficulties of the domestic vehicle manufacturers can be alleviated if vehicles were more reliable.”

Mortimer agrees: “It doesn't eliminate the need for style and handling, but when a multi-vehicle household has one in the shop and one on the road, it can ruin the repurchase loyalty associated with the vehicle brand requiring more frequent repairs.”