OK, Mike, I give up. You make a demonstrably false statement about CR's car
ratings. I go to the trouble of documenting your incorrectness. Then in
reply (acknowledging no error) you go off on a new tangent that is similarly
baseless. You keep creating straw men and then beat the crap out of them.
Your amazing persistence has won.
One can point to CR ratings all one choose but the fact remains the only
reliable survey of what buyers really believe are sales to actual buyers
year after year. More buyers in the US still continue to buy more of the
vehicles sold by GM, by a three to one margin than ANY import brand, not
matter how many times CR says they are better. Apparently most buyers do
not agree with the opinions of CR. You obviously believe differently ;)
Toyota has the advantage of using parts make mostly in low cost countries
and assembling them in plants with workers that receive lower wages, fewer
benefits and less desirable retirement plans and not having to pay a penny
in US corporate income taxes on all of the profit it earns in the US. Yet
GM still out sells Toyota more three to one
The VIN number indicates country of manufacture. For most Toyotas sold in
the U.S. it will be the U.S. Lexi mostly come from Japan with some from
Canada (virtually all RX330's).
Mike is a hard guy to deal with because there is a grain of truth in much of
what he writes, but then he buries it in so much utter nonsense so no sign
remains. It's the kind of nonsense that a lot of import-bashers desperately
need to believe is true, so it is attractive and readily accepted by those
My God you slice that baloney thick.
Toyota does NOT use parts mostly made in low cost countries. The domestic
content of Toyotas is among the highest of any manufacturer. They are
building more plants in this country to provide Americans with jobs. They
even have plans to build an engine plant in Michigan, the heart of the
beast, and will our governor has anything to say about it and if the morons
from the UAW don't screw things up. The cars/parts they do import come from
Japan or Canada (e.g. RX330) which are NOT low cost supplier countries. If
anyone can be accused of using parts from low cost countries (other than the
Koreans) it is GM and they have to do it because their labor costs are so
out of wack in this country.
You say but the majority of Toyotas assemble in the US have a first VIN
digit of '4' or '5' not a '1.' Toyota is even advertising assembled in the
US 'of world sourced parts,' since Honda complained tot the FCC about
Toyotas made in America claims . Honda, on the other hand, actually make
car if the US of American parts and have a '1' as the fist number of the VIN
I don't endorse Mike Marlow's "more in disrespect" assessment of CR; but
the proof's in the eating, not in the ingredients.
Impartiality is not a guarantee of competence: a judge can be honest but
inept. And who says CR is entirely impartial? Financial interests aren't
the only potential sources of bias. Political or other attitudes could
influence product evaluations just as much as the financial
entanglements that CU ostentatiously avoids.
CR's testing is honest, but the criteria they use aren't delivered from
heaven on stone tablets. Somebody at CR picks them, and that's where
most of the subjectivity comes in. I often find CR's rating criteria
somewhat odd, especially in the product categories I know something
about. Who's right? Both and neither. We just have different opinions --
As for the polls of CR's user base, that's a self-selected subset
(respondents) of a CU-selected subset (recipients) of a self-selected
set (subscribers) of people -- who probably tend to share CR's point of
view, political and otherwise. See? Potential bias everywhere.
CR is a useful source of information and a good first step for anybody
who wants an overview of what's out there. It's closer to Wikipedia than
to "unimpeachable". Nobody should rely exclusively on their
recommendations. I don't think many car buyers do.
I don't think that anyone can argue that CR ratings are wholly objective.
They are not because, as you say, somebody has to decide what is important
and how important. Not hard art the gross level, but harder as you get into
the fine points. Case in point. We needed to replace a refrig. As always, I
check CR and find that Whirlpool's are reliable and that they also supply
Sears and the Sears models are also reliable. Very minor difference in the
ratings of the two brands from the comparison test CR did. We decide to by
the Whirlpool flavor of a given model because we get a better price on a
floor sample. We get it home, turn it on and the first night we have it I am
shocked at how noisy it's compressor is. I recheck the CR ratings and see it
is rated average for noise while the Sears model is rated better than
average. More research reveals that the Sears version gets additional sound
insulation. I end up PO'd because I have what I consider a noisy
refrigerator. CR correctly reported that the Sears model is quieter, but
they did not emphasize how much quieter or how noisy the Whirlpool is. I
wish they had as I'd have bought the Sears. Somebody at CR made a subjective
choice on reporting that I wish they had not made. (We got used to the
noise, by the way.)
Your bias logic w.r.t survey responders holds no water, on the other hand.
CR asks people about how much trouble they have had with their purchase.
There is no politics in that question, there is no CR point-of-view to
share - either the thing broke or it did not. I don't know what kind of bias
you find in the selection of people who choose to respond to the surveys,
either, that would impact the results so as to give an inaccurate result. If
you say that people who have things break on them are more likely to
respond, well OK, that means the companies that make crap will take it in
the chops more than they would have otherwise, but that's OK - the
quantitative result is off, but not the qualitative one (junk is still junk,
but it may come out as worse junk than it really is good stuff is still good
stuff, but it may come off as less good than it really is and still much
better than the junk - you can still compare). If you say the opposite, than
that just shifts results a little in the other direction, but relative
differences still hold.
If anything, there will be a general tendency to forgive deficiencies
When it comes to polling, sample selection is crucial. Ask President
I don't know if CU selects or weights the responses they receive, but I
suspect they just use them raw. The Annual Questionnaire is sent only to
CR subscribers, and last year only one-fifth of the recipients
participated. Did those respondents represent a statistically valid
sample of all car buyers? I doubt it. It's in who _answers_ and how,
more than in who _asks_ and how, that bias can creep in. (And by "bias"
I don't mean a deliberate thumb on the scale but something that's
invisible to the person who has it.)
A respondent to CR's questionnaire is more likely to have followed CR's
advice and to share CR's biases, political and otherwise, than the
typical car buyer. Yes, he will tend to defend his car-buying decision,
whatever it was; but he may also tend to justify his decision to
subscribe to CR by echoing its recommendations. If he bought Japanese
and was pleased, he's more likely to answer; it he bought American and
had trouble, he's also more likely to answer. Does CR correct for this
when they calculate reliability ratings? I doubt it. For one thing,
they're hard (impossible?) to quantify.
And reliability ratings are entirely quantitative. Sell enough of
something, and somebody is bound to have trouble with it. The question
is what percentage of all buyers of the product had problems. To get a
good answer to that, it's not so good to rely on self-selected samples,
even if they are collected by a _financially_ unbiased entity.
Nope, they are unquestionably subjective in terms of what they think a good
car should be like. They traditionally like reliability, good mileage, good
comfort, smooth ride, easy to use controls, good visibility, and so on. The
kinds of things the average car buyer wants most, who is not a car
enthusiast. And that is most of the car buying population.
They have traditionally not had too much to say to people who love to drive,
but that has been changing. They have taken to testing performance
cars...and they like what they test and say so. They like the Honda S2000,
Porsche Boxter, Chevy Corvette, BMW M3, and Subaru Sti.Cars that the average
car buyer would have no use for, but cars that enthusiasts hold in awe and
that get high ratings in the buff books. But they deal with cars like that
as a different category than mainstream cars. There is subjectivity, in
other words, but it is appropriate for the audience.
If I was a person looking for a transportation appliance, as I think most
people are when they car/van shop, I would pay very close attention to what
CR writes and use them as a screen for what cars I will actually bother to
personally look at. If they say a car/van is a dog, it will be. If they say
it will be excellent, it will be. I may not like the styling or some
particular feature, but I can have complete confidence that all they write
about it will be true.
You are probably mostly right for hard-core enthusiasts, but you are dead
wrong about a significant part of the performance car market who have never
owned a sports car, but are at a point in their life where they want to
reward themselves with something sporting, but don't really know what is
good and what is not. These people do not read the car buff books and really
are clueless beyond recognizing a brand/model as desirable.
The point is supported by the fact that many, if not most, high performance
cars are sold with automatic transmissions...something that a real
enthusiast would not have in a sports car or hot sports sedan.
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