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
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
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
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
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