Asian Brands, Ford Top Reliability Survey

Asian Brands, Ford Top Reliability Survey

The V6 Chevy Malibu scored well in a recent reliability survey.

The V6 Chevy Malibu scored well in a recent reliability survey.

Consumer Reports (CR) magazine’s 2009 Annual Auto Survey has been released, reflecting continued dominance by the Asian brands as well as good news for one domestic maker. In the their most recent survey, which was released on Tuesday, CR gave high marks to Toyota and Honda, while also recognizing that Ford has made significant strides to improve its reliability.

Subscriber Survey

CR’s reliability survey is based on the experiences shared by its subscribers, representing some 1.4 million vehicles. Notably, five of the eight top vehicles in reliability were hybrid vehicles, underscoring the growing importance of this category. CR also noted that while reliability is important, it doesn’t mean that these vehicles are recommended by them. For example, the Toyota Yaris and Honda Insight scored very high with consumers, but not so with CR who noted that both models operated with sluggishness.

In this most recent survey which is available to subscribers on CR’s website or through the mail with the December 2009 issue, there were a number of interesting findings including:

  • The two top selling midsize sedans – Toyota Camry and Honda Accord – were bested in the survey by American competitors including the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and V6-equipped Chevrolet Malibu.
  • The Mercedes GLK, a compact SUV, is one of the most reliable SUVs. The GLK was introduced this past January for the 2010 model year.
  • Ford continues to show strong improvement with 46 of its 51 surveyed vehicles meeting or exceeding reliability expectations. Notable exceptions: the all wheel drive versions of the MKZ, MKX and MKS, Lincoln models.
  • Of the 48 vehicles to win top honors, 18 were made by Toyota and 8 by Honda. Notable improvements were also realized by Hyundai/Kia and Subaru.
  • European brands, which have long trailed Asian makes but have routinely finished ahead of the American brands continued to show improvement. According to the CR survey, Mercedes and Volkswagen continued to improve although the VW Touareg had the worst reliability of any vehicle surveyed.

Survey V. Survey

Consumer Reports has emphasized that its reliability survey represents what its subscribers say about a vehicle, not what the magazine recommends. While the Annual Reliability Survey is published for the December issue, it is the April issue of CR which features the magazine’s Annual Recommendation Survey.

CR does remove a vehicle from its recommendation list if it finishes below average on the consumer reliability survey. A most recent example of this is the Porsche Boxster which will not appear as one of CR’s recommendations next spring.

Adv. — Christmas shopping? Get an early start by visiting the websites of well known retailers including Fingerhut, Sears and Wal-Mart. Lots of bargains will be available this holiday season, so shop and compare!


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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".