Consumer Reports 2007 Auto Survey

I just completed my 2007 Consumer Reports Subscriber Survey. I though people who don't participate might like to see the sort of questions
that are used to create the results reported in the magazine..
*********************** If you had any problems with your car in the past 12 months that you considered SERIOUS because of cost, failure, safety or downtime, select the appropriate box(es) for each car. INCLUDE problems covered by warranty. DO NOT INCLUDE: 1) problems resulting from accident damage; 2) recalls; or 3) replacement of normal maintenance items (brake pads, batteries) unless they were replaced much sooner or more often than expected.
Considering all factors (price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.), would you get this car if you had it to do all over again?
How satisfied are you with this vehicle with respect to each of the following factors?
Did this vehicle get any MAINTENANCE (e.g., oil change/lube/tire rotation) or REPAIRS in the past 12 months?
Was any work done on this vehicle in the past 12 months (excluding tire replacement or accident damage) covered by a warranty or by a recall notice? Select ALL that apply.
Which, if any, of the following performed the maintenance and repairs? Select ALL that apply.
New car dealer (which sells your make of car) Independent local service station Repair or service chain such as Jiffy-Lube, Midas Other
How satisfied were you with the service for each of the following?
New car dealer (which sells your make of car) Independent local service station Repair or service chain such as Jiffy-Lube, Midas Other
***********************
If your cars actually had a problem (and neither of mine did), you get additional question about the area affected, but it all depends on what the respondent considers significant and they don't collect cost data. Yet from this limited questionnaire, that is only sent to Consumer Reports subscribers, CR generates "data" that million use to make buying decisions.
Ed
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I consider the information generated by Consumer Reports more reliable than a news poll of 1200 people deciding who the leading candidates are in each party or 50 people interviewed after voting to decide which way that polling place has voted. Consumer Reports has never let me down, but some of these other pollers sure have!
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Sort of a silly basis on which to make a decision isn't it? ;)
mike

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Nope.

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You got a better plan?
Since I finally started taking its advice, CR has not let me down. If you're unhappy with it, don't subscribe to it.
--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com


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"dh"...

*snip*
Doubt it.

Yup - neither CR or Toyota have let me down yet. When they do, I'll let you know. Really.
Natalie
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C. E. White, 4/16/2007,10:38:12 AM, wrote:

Who best able to determine whether they would be willing to buy that car again? All of those questions are subjective indeed but it ultimately comes down to the impression that vehicle made on the owner. Remember that the data is viewed in a cumulative fashion, a few stupid responses will not skew the results for the vehicle's overall reliability rating.
If you are suspicious of the questionaire's methods how do you explain the good ratings that some Ford and GM vehicles received when the overall impression of those brands has been in the dumps for the past many years? Everyone "knows" Japanese cars are superior in technology and reliability these days yet we are seeing the domestic brands sans Chrysler begin to hold their own in the ratings and in the general opinion of the consumer.
Considering my personal experience with domestic brands I would never buy a Ford or Chrysler again but the recent reports from Consumer Union has me actually thinking I may look at domestic brands in the near future. I certainly want them to do well but I will not sacrifice my hard-earned money to buy something that will nickel-and-dime me constantly over the next ten years. Pretty soon you and Ford/GM will begin spouting CR ratings as evidence of how well American cars are made to appear credible to the average consumer.
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I've relied on CR for years & have been happy. A friend's daughter interned at their headquarters a couple of years ago & was super-impressed with the thoroughness of their various & sundry testings. Their info is not funded in any way by the corporations which produce the items which they test, & the people who own the items give extensive feedback. Personally, I don't understand your complaint. If, OTOH, you think it's a waste & unreliable, then quit subscribing to CR. You'll be happier.
Is it me, or do you tend to complain a lot?
Cathy

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"Cathy F." ...

*snipping for brevity*

It's not you...
Natalie
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Didn't think so, but good to have confirmation. ;-)
Cathy

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All I did was post the questions asked in CR's annual auto survey and comment that "from this limited questionnaire, that is only sent to Consumer Reports subscribers, CR generates "data" that million use to make buying decisions." Anything false in that statement? Is it even a complaint?
Do you believe that the few questions they asked of a very specific group (CR subscribers) provides hard data? It clearly an opinion survey of a specific group who's opinions are influenced by the group doing the surveying. If you want a real survey, with better data, you need to survey a random group of car owners and collect hard cost data. Depending on people to determine what problems are serious leaves a lot up in the air. I consider a problem "serious" if I have to have it fixed no matter how little it costs and I want almost everything wrong with a car "fixed." I consider a rock strike in the windshield "serious." My Sister has been riding around with a cracked windshield for three years. She doesn't think it is serious. The paint has fallen off the bumpers of her car - I'd be freaking out if mine did that - she doesn't care. One of her sun visors fell off - again she didn't care. A guy I work with constantly complained that the rear end of his pick-up truck hummed. I rode with him and never heard a thing. Eventually he got rid of the truck because it was so annoying - to him.
I guess the point I am trying to make is this - People who read CR and follow CR's advice have a tendency to share the opinions of the CR editorial staff. Surveying that group is likely to confirm the opinions of CRs editors.
I enjoy reading Consumer Reports. The OPINIONS of the editorial staff are interesting. Sometimes I agree with them, sometimes I don't. I think they do a good job of collecting hard data (0-60 times, braking distances, interior volume, etc.), but I have a lot less faith in the subscriber opinion survey results.
Even though CR "is not funded in any way by the corporations which produce the items," they still need to generate revenue. To do this they must create a magazine that attracts subscribers and contributors. They have a constituent they need to please just as surely as if they did accept funds from corporations.
Why do you think expressing an opinion is complaining? And why would I be a lot happier if I did not express my opinions? You do not have to agree with me, but I think it is a good thing to listen to and considered the opinions of others. I actually consider the results of the CR opinion survey, but I don't consider it to be hard data. To me, the survey results are just another opinion to be considered.
Ed
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<...>
The CR true believers cannot be swayed by actual science and proper methods. It's a faith. What really gets me is that they actually think that a lack of advertising makes CR unbiased. As if bias cannot form without advertising money. They have their opinions and biases, it was pretty clear from the articles I read many years ago.
Anyway it's a question of faith.
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wrote in message

I think Brent has the right idea. I read CR (at the library, sometimes) with some faith and trust in their opinions, but sometimes I sense a feeling of "we'll let this one skate" but "I didn't like the feeling of the seat in that" in their articles. They seem to ignore rather obvious flaws in auto design, (like a plugugly car) and focus on the fact that the cupholders are mounted at an unfortunate angle for left-handed albino dwarfs. Their opinions are a bit too subjective for my liking. I stopped thinking of CR as gospel about 53 years ago, when they compared a Chrysler Windsor with a Hudson, saying the Chrysler's body was a little torquey, and the Hudson was more rigid. They recommended the Hudson over the Chrysler, totally ignoring the fact that at the time, if you bought a Hudson, you must realize that at trade-in time, you'd better buy another Hudson, because your trade-in value at any other car dealer would be nickels and dimes. CR overall is a good guide to avoid junk, but in a lot of cases, by the time their ratings are published, the products are a year or more old, and some are discontinued at retail outlets, and the models that supersede the products may or may not be similar in features and quality.
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"mack"

C. E. White wrote:

Anyone who just uses one source for information on a high-ticket product *deserves* to get ripped off. I think of CR as a good general guide, but it's by no means infallible.

All I can say is I've never bought a product that was recommended by CR, and turned out to be a rip-off. Since it's compiled and published by humans, there is no way it would be perfect, but I still think it's about the best you're going to get for an unbiased opinion, though certainly not *completely* objective.

FIFTY-THREE YEARS ago?! Don't you think they may have honed their methods since then?

With ya on the age of the product, but since they only do the survey once a year, you can't expect that in a more timely fashion. As for their own ratings, I'm sure it takes a lot of time to test so bloody many products. Give them a break, already! LOL
Natalie
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Not really a whole lot. There's still a lot of subjectivism that creeps in, and often a well-known product and highly advertised is not even included in their testing. E.G. - The vacuum cleaner articles usually don't even mention the Oreck models, yet they're a big selling machine with an extensive dealer network. And they only get around to carpet cleaning steam machines about every four years if then .....we bought one recently and I found I had to dig back into the files at the library about that length of time to find their last article on such machines. Yet they'll often review some bullsh*t item like the roomba robotic floor vacuum, which I've never seen anyone buy in a store, in fact most stores don't even carry them. One thing I DO appreciate about CR is the way they alert customers to recalls and faulty merchandise.

That's true, Nat, they test an awful lot of stuff, and a lot of the time I agree with their findings.
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CR does not consider trade in value when rating cars. Nor do they consider ugliness.
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They report on depreciation but it is not a factor in their ratings.
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You've said that before and you're wrong. It is NOT "clearly an opinion survey." It is a survey which asks SOME questions which elicit answers based on opinions, some questions which require answers based on factual numbers, and some which require answers based on a combination of facts and judgments. To say it is "clearly an opinion survey" shows your own strong bias against their surveys: you're focusing ONLY on the part of the survey that is about opinion and completely ignoring the part which is about facts.
For example, the questions "Was any work done on this vehicle in the past 12 months (excluding tire replacement or accident damage) covered by a warranty or by a recall notice?" and "Did this vehicle get any MAINTENANCE (e.g., oil change/lube/tire rotation) or REPAIRS in the past 12 months?" are not asking for any opinion at all.
Personally, I don't find any use for the opinion portions "are you satisfied/would you buy again" etc. I look at the reliability data based on repair reports. That's the part of the poll to which I refer from this point on.
o> f a specific group who's opinions are influenced by the group

I agree that would be better because of the hard cost data. Since you seem to be implying that CR readers would answer poll questions favorably towards some cars and unfavorable towards others in a consistent enough way to skew the results, it would be better to have a random set of car owners, not because it makes sense that CR readers as a whole would be biased toward or against any particular nation's cars but so that people like you can't say the test is skewed because the owners who were polled all read the same magazine.

`Your opinion means nothing. My opinion means nothing. When you take hundreds of opinions and average them out, you have something. For example, you take a 1.5 pound weight, and ask one person how heavy it is, he might get it right, but he could be way off. However if you ask hundreds of people how much it weighs and average out the answers, you'll have an answer that is remarkably close to 1.5 pounds. Unfortunately I can't remember what book I read about this, so I can't provide any hard evidence. If it makes sense you can accept it, if not then disregard. Naturally, a larger sample would provide more reliable data. That's the biggest caveat I have about the CR surveys--the samples are far too small.

I have three questions.
1. On what evidence is this belief based? 2. How would the survey takers know the opinions about the reliability of a given auto that the CR editors have? As far as I've seen, the CR editors don't state their opinions about the reliability of autos--they simply publish the survey results and let them to the talking. 3. Even if the people answering the surveys knew the opinions of the CR editors and tended to share them, how would that affect their poll answers? Is it like they'd think, "Well, my engine in mt new Toyota fell out, but the CR editors think Toyotas are reliable, therefore it must not have been a serious problem, so I won't report it on the poll." Is that what you're suggesting? Again, I'm referring to the reliability reports, NOT the owner satisfaction part of the poll.

I never read the opinion pieces, unless you consider the reviews opinion pieces. I don't necessarily like what they like, but the information I've gotten from them has always proven helpful. If they say orange juice A is sweeter than orange juice B and therefore tastes better, I ignore the part OJ A being better and buy OJ B if I like my OJ less sweet.
Every time I've read one of their reviews on a product which I already owned or later purchased, they had the facts straight even if I disagreed with their conclusions--and the facts are what I pay attention to.

If it were ever revealed that anyone at CR was skewing their ratings towards what they thought would please their readers and in the process skewing the ratings away from the truth, how long do you think it would take for them to go out of business? There'd be no reason to buy their magazine or send them money for anything after that.
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The opinion questions have some value. For example Consumer Reports discovered that people loved their mini's and would buy them again even though they are unreliable cars.

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