• Oct 26th 2010 at 7:24PM
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Consumer Reports has released its annual reliability scores for the automotive industry. The 2010 edition reads like the 2009 report... which reads like the 2008 publication, which reminds us of the 2007 version that was similar to the 2006 release. Asia is once again at the head of the class while America has reportedly made great strides and Germany is a mixed bag.

Even with a recent rash of recalls, Toyota (along with Scion and Lexus) is still near near the top of CR's reliability chart. Honda and Acura are also listed as producing highly reliable vehicles, with only the four-cylinder Accord and TSX receiving average ratings. Nissan had a strong showing despite the fact that its Cube, in the first year it has appeared in this report, received a below average score. The Nissan Titan was also hit as being below average. The rest of the lineup however, was rated average or better, including the entire Infiniti model line. Subaru, Hyundai and Kia all had good scores as well, with only Subie's WRX falling below average.

The U.S. automakers made major improvements for 2010. Eighty-three percent of the Chevrolet lineup received scores of average or better. In total, nearly 70 percent of the entire General Motors family is rated at average or better. Ford is the top domestic manufacturer on the list though, with 90 percent of its lineup being given ratings of at least average. That figure is inclusive of the Lincoln brand. It's not all good news in the states unfortunately as none of the Chrysler products were able to receive a rating higher than average.

Reliability for European cars has always been an journey filled with ups and downs. The 2010 reliability scores are no exception. Porsche and Volvo are near the top of the industry while Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi are among the worst. BMW was certainly not helped by its N54 engine, Mercedes has six of 13 models receiving below average ratings and Audi got the same ratings for 75 percent of its lineup. On the flip side, the Porsche Boxster has the highest rated reliability in the entirety of the report.

Check out the full press release after the jump.

[Source: Consumer Reports]
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Consumer Reports' 2010 Annual Car Reliability Survey: GM makes big strides, while Honda, Toyota dominate

General Motors has improved considerably, though Honda and Toyota still dominate in the latest predicted-reliability Ratings of new cars, according to Consumer Reports 2010 Annual Auto Survey. Eighty-three percent of Chevrolets, General Motor's major brand, now have average or better scores in predicted reliability, up from 50 percent last year. (See our car Reliability special section, for more details, lists, and ratings.)

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 Hummer, Pontiac, and Saturn brands. Even some older models, such as the Chevrolet Avalanche, Corvette, and Suburban have improved to average.

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, GM made the most progress of the three domestic manufacturers in this survey. 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.

In the new survey, based on 1.3 million vehicles, 90 percent of Fords, including Lincoln models, have at least average reliability. As a brand, Ford now outranks Mazda and Nissan and ranks just below Lexus. Its quality renaissance has been led by the Fusion, a design that has been very reliable since its debut five years ago. Ford vehicles are tops for reliability in two categories: family cars (Fusion Hybrid) and large SUVs (Ford Flex EcoBoost). (See how all car brands rank in reliability, available to online subscribers.)

Chrysler Corporation hasn't shared in the success of the other Detroit manufacturers. The Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep brands are saddled with dated models. Twelve of the 20 models that CR had sufficient data for rate below average in reliability. 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.

Asia Still Dominates

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). Only the all-wheel-drive Lexus GS and the new Lexus IS 250 convertible are below average. The redesigned 2010 Toyota Prius, hurt by antilock brake problems on early vehicles, scored only average. That is quite a drop from previous years.

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). Problems with rear brake pads help drop the four-cylinder Accord and Acura TSX to average.

Hyundai and Kia continued to do well, with only one model, the Kia Sedona minivan, rated below average. All six new models for 2010 (Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Sonata, and Tucson; Kia Forte, Sorento, and Soul) had average or better reliability-an impressive first-year showing.

Nissan's mainstream models scored well. The Altima and Maxima sedans; the Murano and Pathfinder SUVs all rated average or better in predicted reliability. The Titan had shown improvement in the last year or two, but both 2WD and 4WD versions have once again dropped to below average reliability. The small Nissan Cube had a below average score in its first appearance in Consumer Reports survey. The Infiniti models were all average or better.

Subaru had a good record overall, with a top rating going to the four-cylinder Legacy sedan and the non-turbo version of the Forester SUV. The WRX was the only model that rated below average.

Europe's Bumpy Road

While European reliability had been improving, momentum seems to have stalled. 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.

BMW had a bad year, with five of its 11 models scoring below average. While the BMW M3 topped the sporty cars category, the 1-, 3-, and 5-Series models with the 3.0-liter turbocharged (N54) engine had high problem rates related to the fuel system, among other gripes.

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-a promising start. The new E-Class coupe, a wholly different car from the E-Class sedan, languished in the bottom ranks.

Nearly three-quarters of the Audi models Consumer Reports analyzed were below average. The A6 3.0T with the new supercharged 3.0-liter V6 was tied with the Jaguar XF for the worst new car prediction score. 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.

Consumer Reports Auto Reliability Survey Details

The findings are based on responses on 1.3 million vehicles owned or leased by subscribers to Consumer Reports or ConsumerReports.org. The survey was conducted in the spring of 2010 by Consumer Reports' National Survey Research Center and covered model years 2001 to 2010. Consumer Reports' expert team of statisticians and automotive engineers used the survey data to predict reliability of new 2011 models.

Predicted reliability is Consumer Reports' forecast of how well models currently on sale are likely to hold up. To calculate predicted-reliability ratings, CR averages the overall reliability scores (used car verdicts) for the most recent three model years, provided that the model remained unchanged in that period and also didn't substantially change for 2011. If a model was new or redesigned in the past couple of years, one or two years' data may be used, or if that's all that's available.

On rare occasions Consumer Reports make predictions for a newly redesigned model, but only if previous versions had outstanding reliability.

Consumer Reports Annual Auto Survey Reliability Ratings are unrelated to Consumer Reports vehicle road-test results, but are a key factor in determining whether or not Consumer Reports recommends a car. CR only recommends models that have performed well in tests conducted at its 327-acre Auto Test Center in Connecticut, and that have average or better predicted reliability based on its annual survey. In addition, vehicles must perform at least adequately in government or insurance industry crash and rollover tests, if tested, and have electronic stability control (ESC) readily available in a mainstream high-volume trim line in order to be Recommended by Consumer Reports.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      VW's reliability.. Looks shot by the Routan, which isn't even a VW.
      • 4 Years Ago
      These kinds of reliability results don't just happen randomly - when you see a guy standing on a mountain top you know he didn't fall there. In my book titled "Becoming Re-Successful" I outlined principles Japanese auto companies learned over time that propelled them to their standings in quality rankings. The book was published in 2008 and so I've been anxiously watching over the past few years, especially with the recent Toyota quality issues to see if anything has changed.

      Although Toyota, during its huge growth cycle, has self admittedly strayed from the tried and true development and manufacturing philosophies that originally propelled it to a position of global strength, in general the Japanese auto makers still dominate reliability rankings.

      That fact is an indicator that principles weather the test of time and environment. The Japanese developed a way of thinking that is intentionally drilled into the minds of each employee. They function in a knowledge based, deliberate manner and this way of thinking permeates their technical and business methods. It's more than just learning and applying tactics (Lean, Kaizen, etc) - the concept is much, much deeper.

      These CR survey results are an indicator, just the fruit on the tree. What causes that fruit to grow lies in the roots. If you want to affect an outcome, you have to focus on the cause. The Japanese auto makers have seemingly figured out how to do that.

      Being an American, it's good to see that at least one of our American companies is making gains. That means they must be learning to apply principles, let's hope they keep learning.
      • 4 Years Ago
      JD Powers just released thier inaugral Australian Service / Dealership Service Analysis which weighted several areas of customer Service and new car reliability ... Mazda ranked 1st (806/100pts) followed closely by Toyota in 2nd (800/1000pts) and Honda 3rd (798/1000pts).

      What was interesting was the section that concentrated on new cars delivered with faults ofwhich Ford was the worst followed closely by Holden (GM) while Toyota was way down the list.

      18% of new Fords deliverd in Australia had faults, 14% of Holdens delivered had faults while Toyota was listed at 7% and Mazda at 6%.

      Basically - Holden had double the amount of new car faults then Toyota while Ford had more then double .... oooch !!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Thanks for the blurry image.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Anyone notice in the Worst section there was alot of AWD models ?!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yet strangely the G37x Sedan (AWD) was more reliable then the G Coupe.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Go Porsche! I can have my cake & eat it too!
      • 4 Years Ago

      I owned a Lexus IS 300 and have admit I am very hard on my cars. My cousin on the other hand diligently drove and cared for his BMW 328i, guess who had more problems? I actually ended up picking up my cousin one day because his BMWer died on the side of the road. He constantly had problems with his BMer such as windows not being properly sealed or engine work that needed to be done. Ok I have to admit the Nakamichi CD player on my Lexus wasn't up to par and didn't function properly but other than that the car was bulletproof.

      The same thing was true with my last car a Lexus GS 350. Aside from the CD unit,which didn't malfunction but would occaisionally kick out CD's my GS 350 was flawless after 72,000 miles. In fact if I hadn't gotten t-boned by a tractor/dumpster I would probably still be driving it today. Note that I was hit directly on the driver's side door,so if anyone has any doubts about Lexus' safety I can assure you that they make a very safe car. I got t-boned by a dumptruck and walked away no worse for wear,well except for some shaken nerves.

      I would feel confident buying a used Lexus GS 460 or GS 350 with 70,000 miles. I think you'd have to be insane or pay a very cheap price to buy a BMW 535 or a Mercedes E550 with that much mileage.

      Lexus makes cars that are tough and dependable. Remember you can't win the race if you don't finish. Or if you're turbo has gone out or your water cooler has overheated.

      • 4 Years Ago
      this just proves the power of "brand image" and "gullibility" of poser masses, it's well established fact that Asian brands are most reliable and best value, and yet people flock to "money pit" - Euro makes, lol. BMW = ultimate marketing machine.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Germans have long been masters of convincing everyone of their superiority and infallibility (especially themselves), and by default, anyone who buys their products.
      • 4 Years Ago
      People always complain about the Toyota recalls, but the reality is it's a smear campaign from US automakers. I worked at a Chrysler and Chevy dealership as a master mechanic for many years and the recalls we received there on a regular basis would overshadow the Japanese recalls 10 fold in terms of danger and reliability. you certainly never see those on the news. The unintended acceleration has only been proven not to be driver error in 1 case.
      Now i feel the next target is the European auto industry. Just wait, it's already begun with the m3 vs mustang gt. Personally i applaud the US auto industry for stepping it up. The new mustang GT is impressive, would i buy one....? that's a different story. I do respect it, but comparing it to an M3 is apples and oranges. Similar comparison between the 2009 GT-R vs ZR1. Of course the corvette is better it's more expensive and has substantially more HP. When it comes down to it, it's all US propaganda to boost sales.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Consumer distorts is a halo magazine. Its a feel good magazine makes people think they are smarter than the other guy. Buying foreign is a way to add to a superiority complex.

      They want people to feel good about there purchase so they survey people. My family has read consumer reports for years and they ALL-WAYS rate the Toyota products better.

      One of there heavy donations comes from Toyota I think its a big over 50%.

      That being said my family has purchased GM and Toyota, VW Ford. When a Toyota breaks its ok because consumer reports say they are better but when the GM breaks its bad.

      I read comments here that say ford is horrible and gm is horrible. etc. I have friends who when a head ight burns out in there car they are ready to sell it. I had a friend who had a ford focus that had 150k on it and the belt broke ( from not being replaced) he said how bad the car was. Well a 10 year old belt with 150k can break that's fine should have been replaced a long time ago.

      But the real fact is most all cars use the same parts same quality. Most of all the modern cars are exactly the same quality.

      One major difference is the Toyota dealer from what I have seen tends to cover up issues more and charge customers less. So when you have a problem with a Toyota it wont make you as mad .

      So a GM can be more reliable than a Toyota but its all how you feel about it and how the dealer makes you feel.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's odd that Mini has such a wide range in reliability considering that every Mini Cooper model is pretty similar to one another.
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