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February 27, 2009

Consumer Reports: Who Makes the Best Cars?


Automaker Report Cards: Honda Leads Again, Mercedes-Benz Improves, Chrysler Lags.


Honda


For the third consecutive year, Honda has earned class leader status for building the best all-around vehicles for American drivers, according to the Automaker Report Cards published in Consumer Reports' Annual Auto Issue. At the opposite end of the annual ranking is Chrysler, which fared even worse than last year. The company's poor performing products and sinking reliability results have kept all Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep badged vehicles off CR's Recommended list.

With an overall score of 78 out of 100 points, Honda was followed closely by Subaru (75), and Toyota (74) in the overall score. Subaru is also the only automaker with 100% of its tested vehicles Recommended, although it has a relatively small model lineup. Mazda (73), came in 4th, followed by Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Volkswagen, and BMW, all tied at 72.

While the top four overall scores belong to Japanese automakers, a Japanese nameplate is no guarantee that every car in a model range will be a reliable and good performer. For example, the Honda Element and Toyota Yaris scored too low in Consumer Reports' tests to be recommended. Conversely, despite overall scores of 63 and 57 respectively, that placed Ford and GM toward the bottom of the results, new models like the Ford Flex, F-150, Chevrolet Malibu, and Cadillac CTS have done well in CR's tests and rank near the top of their classes in its ratings.


Subaru


Toyota


Mazda


The overall score for each automaker is based on the average of its vehicles' overall scores in Consumer Reports' road tests and their average predicted-reliability ratings from Consumer Reports' Annual Auto Survey. Manufacturers received a report card only if five or more of its vehicles were tested.

Of the Asian automakers, Subaru, Nissan, Mazda, and Hyundai improved their overall scores. Nissan and Hyundai also improved their reliability rating. Of the four, Hyundai showed the most improvement, increasing its overall score from 66 to 70.

European automakers, traditionally great performers overall, have lagged in reliability but there have been notable improvements with several models from Audi, BMW, Saab, Volkswagen, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz showed the most significant improvement, moving up in the overall ranking (72) to tie with BMW and Volkswagen.

"All three Detroit automakers continued to be at the back of the class, although General Motors and Ford improved their overall scores. Chrysler disappointed the most -- it had the lowest overall test score and none of its vehicles are Recommended," says Consumer Reports.


Mercedez


Nissan


Volkswagon


There was some positive news for the struggling U.S. domestic automakers. The latest models from General Motors now rank among the best in testing, and models like the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook, Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Corvette, and Chevrolet Malibu all scored well. Some Ford models now rival their competition from Honda and Toyota in reliability, perhaps a promising sign for new models now coming out of the product pipeline. For Chrysler, the sole glimmer of hope in the model-year is the new Dodge Ram, which is now very competitive with the other full size trucks.

"While Japanese automakers continue to set the standard for the industry in terms of real-world performance and reliability, many domestic, European, and Korean manufacturers are narrowing the gap by building better and more reliable cars," said David Champion, senior director of automotive testing, Consumer Reports. "While some automakers are still dragged down by old product investments, we expect the race for the front of the class to become even more competitive which may lead to some excellent values for consumers in the near future."

In the end, the companies that make the best vehicles are those that excel in performance, interior craftsmanship, safety, comfort, and reliability. The best continue to set a higher and higher standard, a competition in which consumers are the ultimate winners.

Consumer Reports is one of the trusted sources for information and advice on consumer products and services, and according to it, its findings may not be used for commercial or promotional purposes.

Source: Consumer Reports

|GlobalGiants.com|


Quote

"Can advertising foist an inferior product on the consumer? Bitter experience has taught me that it cannot. On those rare occasions when I have advertised products which consumer tests have found inferior to other products in the same field, the results have been disastrous."

-- David Ogilvy


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Edited & Posted by Chief Editor | 11:04 PM | Link to this Post


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