Bias Against Domestic Cars

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I came across what I consider another case of bias against domesic vehicles. See:
http://www.forbes.com/2009/11/11/clunker-cars-repairs-lifestyle-vehicles-clunkers_slide_2.html
Supposedly the Forbes editiors picked these vehicle based on COnsumer Reports data. I looked up the CR data and here are my comments:
-Chevrolet Colorado -Segment: Pickup trucks -Reliability Rating: More than 100% worse than average -Overall Consumer Reports Rating: 41 -Five-year cost of repairs: $798
Forbes is using the highly unreliable Consumer Report reliability information. However, at least for this particular vehicle, the rating may be justified. Only the Ranger and Mazda B Series had a lower overall scores in the small truck category, and at least they had average reliability. See GMC Canyon below...
-Chrysler Sebring Convertible -Segment: Convertibles -Consumer Reports Reliability Rating: More than 90% worse than average -Overall Consumer Reports Rating: 45 -Five-year cost of repairs: $770
Another vehicle that appears to deserve to be on the list....
-Chrysler Town & Country -Segment: Wagons/minivans -Reliability Rating: More than 100% worse than average -Overall Consumer Reports Rating: 64 -Five-year cost of repairs: $807
-Dodge Grand Caravan -Segment: Wagons/minivans -Reliability Rating: More than 100% worse than average -Overall Consumer Reports Rating: 60 -Five-year cost of repairs: $807
These are essentially the same vehicle -why list them separately? And why not list the Volkwagon Routan which is essentially the same vehicle and has almost exactly the same ratings and reliability as the T&C.
-Ford F-250 -Segment: Pickup trucks -Reliability Rating: More than 100% worse than average -Overall Consumer Reports Rating: 37 -Five-year cost of repairs: $969
The Forbes article doesn't calrify that the Consumer Reports Rating was only for the 4WD Turbodiesel version, and even then, that rating was based on the prior generation engine from 2008. So Forbes is smearing all F250s based on a two year old diesel engine option that is sold in less than 30% of the vehicles......
-GMC Canyon -Segment: Pickup trucks -Reliability Rating: More than 100% worse than average -Overall Consumer Reports Rating: 41 -Five-year cost of repairs: $718
This is the same vehicle as the Chevrolet Colorada.They should have been listed together.
-Jaguar XF -Segment: Luxury sedans -Reliability Rating: More than 100% worse than average -Overall Consumer Reports Rating: 72 -Five-year cost of repairs: $1,301
This one is seems very unfair. While it is true that the XF got a poor reliability rating, it was no worse than the "recommended" Lexus GS AWD which is not on the list of ten clunkers to avoid? Why not?
-Lincoln MKS -Segment: Luxury sedans -Reliability Rating: More than 80% worse than average -Overall Consumer Reports Rating: 73 -Five-year cost of repairs: $869
The Lincoln MKS and the Lexus GS AWD were rated almost idenitcally (overall rating 75 for the GS, 73 for MKS) and both got the exact same poor relibaility rating. Yet the GS is "Recommended" and the MKS shows up as a clunker to avoid. Where is the fariness in that? The BMW 535i, and Cadillac STS also showed up as having poor reliability, yet they are not clunkers. Hmmmm....
-Mercedes-Benz GL450 -Segment: Luxury SUVs -Reliability Rating: More than 100% worse than average -Overall Consumer Reports Rating: 77 -Five-year cost of repairs: $1,501
-Volkswagen Touareg -Segment: Luxury SUVs -Reliability Rating: More than 100% worse than average Overall Consumer Reports Rating: 66 -Five-year cost of repairs: $907
I can't really argue with the last two, both had poor reliability rating and high prices. However, it should be noted there were others in the class that had the same poor reliability ratings and worse overall scorces, but they didn't make the list. I wonder how they picked which ones belonged?
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I guess my complaints come down to these:
In two case Forbes listed vehicles that were essentially twins separately, making it appear as if more US vehicles were really bad.
In the case of the Chrysler T&C Minivan, they listed it (and the Dodge equivalent), but did not list the essentially identical VW Routan. If they had followed form, it seems that the Routan would have been listed separately, thereby pushing another vheicle off the lsit.
Forbes included the Lincoln MKS as a clunker, but omitted the Lexus GS AWD which had almost the same ratings and predicted reliability. Why? Also, when you look at the data for the MKS, most components got an excellent rating. Only body harware got the much worse than average rating. And in fact, the AWD MKS got as good or better reliability ratings than the AWD GS in every category except body hardware (and before 2008, the GS had poor body hardware). And the MKS relibaility was rated based only on the 2009 model. Usually CR doesn't predict reliability for new models, yet despite reliability data that actually looks better than the Lexus GS, they gave the MKS a worse predicted reliability rating. This seems really unfair. CR is predicting that a vehicle with a poor relibailty history will have better reliability than a model which in its frst year of production, already had better reliability rating as determined by their own survey.....hmmmm...
They listed the F250 as a clunker, but only a very specific model of the F250 qualified as having poor reliability (turbodiesel 4WD model, based on results from two years ago). Regular F250's had an average reliability rating. CR lists the relability for a 2010 F250 as "new model." So it seem Forbes was unfair in including this in a list of new vehicle to avoid if they are using the CR data...
It seems to me that Forbes picked 10 vehicle out of about 30 that could have qualified as clunkers. By listing twins separately they moved some deserving vehicles off the list. And the 10 listed were not the ten worst if you go solely by CRs ratings. So what were they? The ten that Forbes editiors liked the least? I could live with this if Forbes provided a more completel list. However, by listing vehicles like the Lincoln MKS and Jaguar MKS, while omitting the Lexus GS, I have to wonder if they aren't showing bias towards Lexus. I can't see any justification for listing the Lincoln MKS and not also including the Lexus GS.
Ed
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C. E. White wrote:

http://www.forbes.com/2009/11/11/clunker-cars-repairs-lifestyle-vehicles-clunkers_slide_2.html
So why hasn't CR shown any bias when they've tested American and Japanese twins, like the Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibe or the Toyota Corolla and Geo Prizm?
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3312/3220352935_5d568cf3dd_o.gif
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3350/3220407679_f58946b017_o.gif
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3091/3220291121_cd8eb87a00_o.gif
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Statistics can be used to prejudice almost anything, I guess.
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Seems to me CR would have better served its subscribe if it had informed them they could save a lot of money by purchasing the domestic version of those vehicles rather than the Jap twin.

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Mike Hunter wrote:

They have.
Jeff
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Mike Hunter wrote:

It seems that you're drunk and senile again, Foghorn, because the links show that CR has done exactly that. They actually favor American brands when they're competitive with foreign ones, as demonstrated by their gushing over the pretty good but not best Ford Fusion, and back when Toyota's T100 pickup was introduced in the US, the cover of CR headlined, "Ford Beats Toyota" (but the T-100 was pretty bad compared to the Ford).
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They have. Look back through the archives at their ratings for the Ford Probe and Mazda 626. They were built in the same US plant, using largely the same parts, yet the Mazda was always given the higher reliability rating. This was one of the first clues that I had that something was wrong at CR.
Derek
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Derek Gee wrote:

The same is true at C and D. They seem to usually favor the German and Asian cars over the US cars. Not always though.
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snipped-for-privacy@twmi.INVALID.rr.com says...

CR only reports what their annual survey says. If there is any bias, it's in the subscribers.
Also, don't forget that the quality of the dealership can go a long way toward how 'reliable' you think your car is.
CR rates the Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan as having higher reliablity than the Accord or Camry. (Toyota is nice if you want your car to drive 100mph on it's own!)
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says...

There's always bias in humans, but a better survey would do a better job in trying to design it out of the polling. The JD Power data seems better quality.

Very, very true. Even though the dealerships are independent entities, people still see them as "Ford". If they treat the buyer poorly, it will be reflected in the surveys.

A very impressive achievement! Note that Lincoln MKZ is also higher rated than the Lexus and Acura equivalents by CR.
Derek
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Derek Gee wrote:

JD Powers is worse and has shown more bias in favor of luxury cars and cars favored by senior citizens, whether or not those vehicles were reliable (Lincoln) or not (Jaguar before Ford bought them).

Then I'd expect luxury car brands to fare better because of their dealerships, so why have Cadlllac and Rolls-Royce long fared so poorly in reliability ratings? And Toyota's brand with the highest reliability is budget Scion, not luxury Lexus.
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Not so. They have a much more accurate survey questionaire than the CR one.

Where have you seen any published reliability data on RR? They aren't in any published survey I've ever seen.

Wrong, Scion is WAY below industry average in the 2009 JD Power Dependability study!
http://www.jdpower.com/corporate/news/releases/pdf/2009043.pdf
Derek
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Derek Gee wrote:

How is the JD Power survey more accurate? Has there been a study on this? It may look better on paper, but it may not better in real life.
Jeff
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From what I've been able to gather about the IQS and VDS surveys, it's a 44 point questionaire with specific questions about stuff like handling, braking, seats, audio systems etc. It's better than just asking which areas did you have a "problem" with and asking the user to check a single box.
Here's some very specific criticism of the CR methodology I recently ran across:
http://www.truedelta.com/pieces/shortcomings.php
http://www.truedelta.com/pieces/cr_survey.php
http://www.truedelta.com/pieces/newdots.php
http://www.truedelta.com/pieces/anomalies.php
Derek
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Derek Gee wrote:

The website is a competitor to CR for car data. How reliable do you think its criticisms are?
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Valid enough. I took a year of statistics in college. The True Delta guy is explaining how he plans to avoid those issues with his site. From what I've seen of his site (because I checked it out after reading those pages), his sample sizes are still too small for my liking.
Derek
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Derek Gee wrote:

Show me. I've gotten the CR survey a couple of times, and it basically asked if I had any problems in the past year in any of the areas listed in their car reliability survey tables. What does JD Powers ask? A Mar. 2004 US News magazine article said they lump too many aspects of the cars together:
"One gripe: In the new car quality survey, a car's basic attributes, gas mileage, and the placement of cup holders, for example, are lumped in with problems like rattles, buzzes, and broken equipment."
And the fact that JD Powers has rated Cadillac and pre-Ford Jaguar high in reliability proves that something's been seriously wrong with their surveys.

RR is pretty famous for bad quality, and I even heard an owner complain about his to my boss. Name a British car that isn't unreliable. And how do you explain Jaguar's high ranking in the Powers' surveys? You know Jaguar, the brand so bad that when Ford took over the company, one of its ads touted a brand-new wiring harness? Then there's the Powers' quality award given to the horrible cable TV company here. Really, you need to demonstrate that Powers has any credibility at all, especially when their sources of revenue are a mystery or could be from the very industries whose products and services they rank.

Wrong, Scion is WAY above industry average in the more trustworthy, non-sellout 2009 Consumer Reports reliability survey:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2557/4118564115_3013ca4784_o.gif
Why shouldn't Scion score high when they have only three models, two of them based on the Toyota Yaris, which is rated high in reliability (Yet Consumer Reports doesn't recommend it because it scores too poorly in performance).
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I wish I could show you. I've only been able to fill out Power surveys on auto options. I haven't been able to get my hands on a IQS or VDS survey. I've had to rely on other descriptions of them.

I don't remember pre-Ford Jags ever being rated high in reliability anywhere. Do you remember which year you saw this?

I tend to believe the Power survey due to the better methodology, plus I have two first hand owner reports of failures (disabled) of Scion models. Granted, that's only a personal sample of two, but it fits the pattern of the Power data - Scions suck. My guess is that even though it's based on a Yaris, the customization is causing quality problems. That's a truism with automakers, the more options, the more potential for problems.
Derek
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The problem with Powers is they rate "initial quality" I happen to own a car rated very high by them for initial quality and they were correct; I was very pleased with it for a while. Just about the time the warranty ran out (at 18 months I had 36000 miles) the car started to deteriorate and has been falling apart ever since. Lots of little things like switches that don't work as well as big things like the transmission. Initial quality does not equal durability.
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You should have know better than to buy an import ;)
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