93 Percent of Ford, Lincoln, Mercury Models in Survey Score Average or Better
YONKERS, New York, Oct. 16 /Standard Newswire/ -- After years of sterling reliability, Toyota is showing cracks in its armor, according to data from Consumer Reports' 2007 Annual Car Reliability Survey. By contrast, Ford's domestic brands have made considerable improvements. The announcement was made before the Detroit-based Automotive Press Association (APA) today at the Detroit Athletic Club.
The V6 version of the company's top-selling Camry, and the four-wheel-drive V8 version of the Tundra pickup, both redesigned for 2007, now rate below average in Consumer Reports' predicted reliability rating. In addition, the all-wheel-drive version of the Lexus GS sedan also received a below average rating. Because Consumer Reports does not recommend models with below-average reliability, these models no longer make CR's "Recommended" list.
The four-cylinder and hybrid versions of the Camry and rear-drive version of the GS scored above average in reliability and will continue to be recommended.
Despite these problems, Toyota (including Lexus and Scion) still ranks third in reliability among all automakers, behind only Honda and Subaru. Still, because of these findings, CR will no longer recommend any new or redesigned Toyota-built models without reliability data on a specific design. Previously, new and redesigned Toyota models were recommended because of the automaker's excellent track record, even if CR didn't have sufficient reliability data on the new model. If Toyota returns to its previous record of outstanding overall reliability, CR may resume this practice. Typically, CR will only recommend a vehicle if the magazine has at least one year of reliability data for that specific model.
CR's 2007 survey also shows that the odds of getting a reliable new vehicle from Ford are the best CR has seen in years. Forty-one of 44 Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury models (93 percent) in CR's survey scored average or better in predicted reliability. The Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan are among the most reliable cars. They and the two-wheel-drive Ford F-150 V6 make up three of the only four domestic models on Consumer Reports' "Most Reliable" list. In addition, new-for-2007 SUVs such as the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX, as well as the freshened Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, were all average or above.
"Ford continues to improve," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center. "The reliability of their cars has steadily improved over the years, and is showing consistency." He added, "We believe Toyota is aware of its issues and is trying to fix problems quickly."
Full reliability history charts and predicted reliability on hundreds of 2008 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 www.ConsumerReports.org and in the latest Consumer Reports CARS publication, Best & Worst for 2008 ($5.99 U.S./$6.99 Canada) (previously titled New Car Preview), on sale November 6, 2007 everywhere magazines are sold. Consumer Reports CARS is a series of special publications devoted entirely to the automotive market.
Despite Ford's improvement, U.S. brands account for almost half the models-20 of 44-on CR's list of "Least Reliable" models. Thirteen are from General Motors, 6 from Chrysler, and 1 from Ford. European makes account for 17 models, including six each from Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen/Audi. Not all models carrying Asian nameplates are reliable, either. The Hyundai Entourage, Infiniti QX56, Mazda CX-7, Nissan Armada (4WD), Quest, and Titan (4WD), and Toyota Tundra (V8, 4WD) are all on the "Least Reliable" list.
Besides the three Toyota-built models, other notable models with declining reliability include the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, and Volkswagen Passat (V6).
As for European brands, signs are pointing to an overall improvement. The Audi A3, A4, and A6 are now all above average or better, as are some or all versions of the BMW 3, 5, and 7 series. The Volvo S60 is also above average. The Porsche 911 is above average and is now recommended.
For the first time in recent years, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (V6 RWD) is no longer below average, although an all-new C-Class has been introduced for 2008. Despite this, Mercedes-Benz still hovers near the bottom in Consumer Reports' predicted reliability scores comparison.
Among other reliability findings:
- Nineteen domestic models have been added to CR's 'Newly Recommended' list. They include the new GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook, in their first years, and the Dodge Charger, which was not recommended in last year's survey because of below-average reliability.
- Of the domestic models for which CR had sufficient data in the 2007 survey, 93 percent of Ford, 49 percent of General Motors, and 67 percent of Chrysler models had average or better predicted reliability.
- 34 of the 39 models in the "Most Reliable" list are Asian: 17 are from Toyota (including Lexus and Scion); 7 are from Honda (including Acura); 3 each from Hyundai and Nissan (including Infiniti); 2 are from Subaru; and 1 each from Mitsubishi and Mazda.
- The Pontiac Solstice has the worst new-car prediction score in the 2007 survey.
- When ranked by make, Honda and Acura have the highest average scores of the 36 brands. Closely following are Scion, Subaru, and Toyota. Buick is the highest-ranked domestic brand.
- Among the 36 makes, Land Rover is the least reliable, on average.
Findings are based on responses on almost 1.3 million vehicles owned or leased by subscribers to Consumer Reports or its web site, www.ConsumerReports.org. The survey was conducted in the spring of 2007 by Consumer Reports' National Survey Research Center and covered model years 1998 to 2007.
Consumer Reports' expert team of statisticians and automotive engineers used the survey data to predict reliability of new 2008 models. Predicted reliability is CR's 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 2008. 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.
Consumer Reports annual reliability survey is used in determining which makes and models are recommended to consumers by CR. Consumer Reports recommends only 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 well in government or insurance-industry crash and rollover tests, if tested, in order to be recommended. Occasionally, Consumer Reports may recommend a new or redesigned model too new to have compiled a reliability record if the previous generation, or the manufacturer's reliability track record has been consistently outstanding, and if the model scores well in CR's tests.
Consumer Reports is one of the most trusted sources for information and advice on consumer products and services. CR has the most comprehensive auto-test program of any American magazine or web site; CR's auto experts have decades of experience in driving, testing, and reporting on cars.
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