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October 27, 2010

Honda, Toyota Dominate, While GM Makes Big Strides, says Consumer Reports' 2010 Annual Car Reliability Survey


Honda 2011 Acura TL

Photo: Honda Acura TL 2011

At an Automotive Press Association luncheon yesterday in Detroit, Consumer Reports announced the results of its 2010 Annual Auto Survey.

According to the survey, General Motors has improved considerably, though Honda and Toyota still dominate in the latest predicted-reliability Ratings of new cars. Eighty-three percent of Chevrolets, GM's major brand, now have average or better scores in predicted reliability, up from 50 percent last year.

Cadillac SRX

Photo: Cadillac SRX

While some GM nameplates had been among the least reliable brands in past years, they now rank above some major European competitors such as Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. Two factors are aiding GM's reliability improvements. First, GM's recent introductions, such as the Chevrolet Camaro and Equinox, Buick LaCrosse V6 (FWD), and Cadillac SRX, are proving reliable from the time they were launched. In addition, GM shed many models with subpar reliability when it shut down the Saturn, Pontiac, and Hummer brands, says the report.

Chevrolet Camaro

Photo: Chevrolet Camaro

The survey shows that as a company, GM is still a ways from the top when it comes to reliability -- the major Asian automakers, including Honda and Toyota, are still out in front. Among the three domestics, Ford continues to build the most reliable vehicles. Chrysler lags behind both GM and Ford.

Still, as the findings indicate, GM made the most progress of the three domestic manufacturers. Across GM brands (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC), 69 percent of models had average or better reliability. Cadillac improved the most, rising seven places from last year's ranking. Chevrolet had its best showing in years; 83 percent of models had average or better scores in predicted reliability, up from 50 percent.

Ford Fusion Hybrid 2010

Photo: Ford Fusion Hybrid 2010

As a brand, Ford now outranks Mazda and Nissan and ranks just below Lexus. Ford vehicles are tops for reliability in two categories: family cars (Fusion Hybrid) and large SUVs (Ford Flex EcoBoost).

"General Motors and Ford have taken different paths to improving reliability," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports Auto Test Center. "Some of GM's redesigned vehicles have scored well. The company has also dropped many of its below-average models. Ford has put its emphasis on fine-tuning existing platforms and limiting the number of new-model introductions."

None of Chrysler Corporation's models score above average. With Fiat's acquisition of Chrysler, many of its products will either be replaced or redesigned in the near future.

Kia Sorento

Photo: Kia Sorento

Despite recent safety recalls, Toyota models, including those from Scion and Lexus, remained among the most reliable and earned top scores in five vehicle categories: small cars (Yaris), midsized SUVs (FJ Cruiser), luxury SUVs (Lexus LX), minivans (Sienna V6, FWD), and full-size pickups (Tundra V6). The redesigned 2010 Toyota Prius, hurt by antilock brake problems on early vehicles, scored only average.

Honda and Acura are among the top four brands along with Porsche and Scion, with their models topping five vehicle categories -- upscale cars (Acura TL, FWD) , luxury cars (Acura RL), small SUVs (CR-V), upscale compact SUVs (Acura RDX) and compact pickups (Ridgeline).

Hyundai and Kia continued to do well, with only one model, the Kia Sedona minivan, rated below average. Nissan's mainstream models scored well. Subaru had a good record overall.


Photo: The new 2012 Volkswagen Eos hard top convertible will be unveiled to the public for the first time on November 17 at the Los Angeles Auto Show, with market introduction in early spring of 2011.

All Porsche and Volvo models are rated average or better. But Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz are among the worst automakers overall in terms of reliability, indicates the survey. BMW had a bad year, with five of its 11 models scoring below average. Six of Mercedes-Benz's 13 models were below average, and the GLK SUV was far below average. However, the redesigned E350 sedan was above average. Nearly three-quarters of the Audi models Consumer Reports analyzed were below average. Volkswagen did better, with its Golf, formerly the Rabbit, doing very well and the various Jetta models scoring average or better.

The Porsche Boxster has the best predicted reliability score in Consumer Reports survey, while the Audi A6 3.0T and Jaguar XF have the worst.

Findings are based on responses on 1.3 million vehicles owned or leased by subscribers to Consumer Reports or its Web site, . The survey was conducted in the spring of 2010 by Consumer Reports' National Survey Research Center and covered model years 2001 to 2010.

Full reliability history charts and predicted-reliability ratings on hundreds of 2011 models, plus a list of what's up and what's down, best and worst models, and a comparison chart of brands can be found online at, in the December issue and in the latest Consumer Reports Cars publication, Best & Worst New Cars for 2011, on sale November 16, 2010.

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 9:21 AM | Link to this Post

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