Japanese autos tops in reliability survey

Japanese autos tops in reliability survey
Reuters / November 9, 2006 - 2:00 pm
DETROIT -- Japanese automakers dominated an influential survey of the most
reliable new vehicles that was released today, but General Motors and Ford Motor Co. both placed high with new models.
Consumer Reports magazine named 47 vehicles to its list of the most reliable for 2007. Of those, 39 were from Japanese automakers, including an industry-leading 21 from Toyota Motor Corp.
Honda Motor Co. had the second-highest tally, with 11 vehicles earning a most-reliable designation, including the newly released Honda Fit hatchback.
Ford Motor Co., which is trying to shift away from its loss-making reliance on pickups and SUVs, also scored well with several of its new cars.
Ford's Fusion topped the magazine's list of the most impressive new models, with the testing staff praising the car's "nimble handling and comfortable ride."
The Fusion and the Mercury Milan, which share the same platform, were named among the most reliable family cars, outscoring V-6 versions of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
The Lincoln Zephyr, which also shares the Fusion platform, was named the second most-reliable upscale sedan after the 2007 Lexus ES 350 and ahead of Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd.'s Azera and the Acura TSX and TL from Honda.
A Ford spokesman said the quality ranking could help bring buyers back to the U.S. automaker, which has slashed production and is expected to be overtaken by Toyota as the No. 2 U.S. automaker next year.
"When people go out to see the Ford Fusion ... what they're going to find is bolder design and quality that ranks with the best in the world," spokesman Jim Cain said.
New versions the Chevrolet Tahoe and the GMC Yukon from GM made the list of most reliable large SUVs, just behind three offerings from Toyota: the Land Cruiser, Lexus LX and Sequoia.
David Champion, who oversees auto testing for the magazine, said the key for Ford and GM was whether the initial strong reliability ratings on the new models would be sustained, an area where Toyota and Honda have excelled.
"Whether they start out good and remain good remains to be seen," he said.
DaimlerChrysler AG was alone among major automakers in being shut out of the most-reliable list.
The magazine's testing staff called the Dodge Caliber one of the most disappointing new cars, citing what it called "unimpressive" mileage and a "poorly finished" interior.
In addition, eight Mercedes-Benz vehicles were named to the magazine's least-reliable list, the most for any brand.
Champion said many of the problems reported by Mercedes-Benz owners concerned glitches in the electrical, audio and power systems for their cars.
Mercedes-Benz spokeswoman Donna Boland said the reliability survey did not reflect the automaker's most recent efforts to work out bugs in those areas.
"We did have some issues, but I think the great majority of those have been resolved to the satisfaction of owners," she said.
A total of 20 vehicles on the least-reliable list were from U.S. automakers, including 12 from GM, five from Ford and three from the Chrysler group.
Chrysler group spokesman Sam Locricchio said he expected the automaker's stepped-up investment in quality in recent years would start to be reflected in coming reliability surveys.
"I think you're going to see some dramatic improvements," he said.
Of the 45 models on the magazine's least-reliable list, five were from Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., the only Japanese carmaker represented there.
Representatives for GM and Nissan could not be immediately reached for comment.
The magazine's new car buying guide, which was released today, bases its reliability rating on the results of an annual survey of the magazine's online and print subscribers.
The 2006 survey included responses on 1.3 million vehicles and asked readers to detail the serious problems they encountered with their cars and trucks.
Consumer Reports is published by the nonprofit Consumers Union. The magazine accepts no paid advertising. A full copy of its buying guide can be found at www.ConsumerReports.org.
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The problem with all of this is it lists vehicle by the number of owner complaints as just that.... a list. Naturally on any LIST one will be on the top, one on the bottom and the rest somewhere in-between. The problems are not quantified as to severity. Certainly a bad power train component is worse than a squeak in a door, but the LISTs do not divulge that fact. In reality if the same result were presented as a percentage rather than a list, EVERY manufactures vehicles would show a defect rate of between 1% and 2%. The fact is no mater which vehicle one buys there is a 98% change that it will be a good dependable vehicle. For a buyer to spend thousands more than needed to buy a particular brand over an other, or settle for one that does not meet their needs simply hoping you will not get one of the 2%, is an effort if futility.
To make a purchasing decision based on those that argue my brand X was a better car after ten years than my brand Y is an effort if futility as well. In the first place the average new car buyer in the US will replace that vehicle with another new vehicle in three to four years with 30 K to 45 K on the clock, not ten years. Only a very small percentage of new car buys keep their vehicle more than seven years in any event. In the second place brand Y is not offering for sale the vehicles they sold ten years ago and brand Y is not offering for sale the vehicles they sold twenty years ago. Buying any vehicle based on another persons experience with ONE or even two or three off of that brand, good or bad, in a bit foolish
My advice to those that ask, because of my many years on all sides of the automotive business with nearly all brands, is drive all those models that suit your needs, get a DRIVE HOME price not simply a selling price for each, then buy the one that best suits you budget. Your odds of getting one of the 98% is far more likely than not.
mike hunt

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Mike Hunter wrote:

It lists vehicles by the rates, not number, of owner complaints

A big drawback.

Where do you get the 1-2% rate? Consumer Reports' 1-year defect rates range from about 5% to 30%.
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Consumer Reports bases there data on volunteerary surveys sent only to their readers. It is much more likely that a disataisfied Customer will return the survey. It is also my opinion that CR readers are likely to slant their answers to match the tone of the magazine (i.e. kiss Toyota's ass).
What I think both you and Mike over-looked is how well the Fusion did in the surveys. For a Ford product to do so well in any rating connected to CR is almost unbelievable. When I read this, I thought it must have been a hoax. The usual CR comments on US vehicles is usually somethig like - " Although the [US vehicle] performed flawlessly and got a perfect score in our survey, we can't recomemnd it because it isn't a Toyota."
I supect Mike is relying on the JD Powers surveys to come up with his 1% or 2% defect rate. For the 2005 Vehicle Dependability Study the industry average was 2.4 problems per vehicle. The "best" brand was Lexus with 1.4 problems per vehicle. Fords had 2.3 problems. per vehicle. Not much of a spread - especially when you consider how over priced a Lexus is.
Ed
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Precisely the point of my post, all thing considered. ;)
mike hunt

complaints as just that.... a list. Naturally on any LIST one will be on the top, one on the bottom and the rest somewhere in-between. The problems are not quantified as to severity. Certainly a bad power train component is worse than a squeak in a door, but the LISTs do not divulge that fact. In reality if the same result were presented as a percentage rather than a list, EVERY manufactures vehicles would show a defect rate of between 1% and 2%. The fact is no mater which vehicle one buys there is a 98% change that it will be a good dependable vehicle. For a buyer to spend thousands more than needed to buy a particular brand over an other, or settle for one that does not meet their needs simply hoping you will not get one of the 2%, is an effort if futility.
To make a purchasing decision based on those that argue my brand X was a better car after ten years than my brand Y is an effort if futility as well. In the first place the average new car buyer in the US will replace that vehicle with another new vehicle in three to four years with 30 K to 45 K on the clock, not ten years. Only a very small percentage of new car buys keep their vehicle more than seven years in any event. In the second place brand Y is not offering for sale the vehicles they sold ten years ago and brand Y is not offering for sale the vehicles they sold twenty years ago. Buying any vehicle based on another persons experience with ONE or even two or three off of that brand, good or bad, in a bit foolish
My advice to those that ask, because of my many years on all sides of the automotive business with nearly all brands, is drive all those models that suit your needs, get a DRIVE HOME price not simply a selling price for each, then buy the one that best suits you budget. Your odds of getting one of the 98% is far more likely than not.
mike hunt

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Of course it is RATE mean problems per hundred, not total numbers. The average RATE is around 125 per hundred which is 01.25 percent, even the best RATE is over 1%.
mike hunt

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The improvement in reliability of American brands is necessary and hopefully not too late. Quality still needs to improve.
What is with Nissan? For example, the full sized Titan with an abysaml reliability rating and a payload less than that of a compact truck like the Ranger. Not just a few pounds less, hundreds less! What a heap.
John
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who gives a flying fiddlers fart?? if the u.s. auto makers made a huge "donation" to the magazines charity of choice, they would be listed as the best seller. it is all about who gives the most gifts, not who builds the best vehicle.
and this is alt autos FORD, not alt autos jap crap. take your drivle to a newsgroup like jap crap is the best. we don't need it here.

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Who the F@#$#@ are you?
I was about to pass this up as I have little confidence in the CR owner polling methods. Many JAP and Euro owners use it to justify their buying decisions, and I know that for a fact.. at least from ONE instance and there were other hints of that in the past.
HOWEVER... The important news is Ford's RELATIVE rating, and that is buttressed by the ratings for Nissan... that's how you know it's on the up and up.
Nissan is crap, historically -other than drivetrain- it's ALWAYS been crap, and if the polls show that; it's on the up and up.
And the ONE thing I believe about CR is they CANNOT be bought... they can be fooled but NOT BOUGHT.
If you have any proof of your charges bring 'em here, otherwise STFU
--
Yeh, I'm a Krusty old Geezer, putting up with my 'smartass' is the price
you pay..DEAL with it!
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are you?

Just announced today FORD has three in the top 10 of reliability and consumer satisfaction Lincoln Zepher and the Fusion/Mondao (spelling)
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