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Toyota drops to 5th place in CR ranking - Camry, Tundra, G6 not recommended

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Toyota crashes in reliability rankings
Automaker slips to fifth from first place, and some versions of Camry, Tundra and Lexus GS no longer recommended
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By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney.com staff writer | October 16 2007: 12:01 PM EDT | Link to Original Article @ CNN


NEW YORK, CNNMoney.com -- The Toyota brand has lost its top position for iron-clad reliability, according to an influential Consumer Reports survey released Tuesday.

The survey dropped Toyota from first to fifth place - behind Honda, Acura, Scion and Subaru - in average vehicle reliability. The rankings are based on average predicted reliability for all models sold under a given brand.

Brands made by Toyota Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. still dominate the rankings: Scion is Toyota's low-priced car brand and Acura is Honda's luxury car brand.

Consumer Reports said it no longer recommends V6 versions of Toyota's Camry or V8 versions of its Tundra pick-up because of poor reliability.

In the past, because Toyota products have so consistently proved reliable, the magazine would assume at least average reliability for Toyota's brand new cars, without waiting for survey data from owners.

But from now on, the magazine will wait for a full year of reliability survey data to come in before it recommends a Toyota product - as it does with most other manufacturers.

Manufacturers were not immediately available for comment.

Toyota recently passed Ford in sales and is now the second best-selling car company in the United States behind General Motors.

Domestic manufacturers General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler continued to improve in the Consumer Reports reliability rankings. But only Buick, GM's near-luxury brand ranked number 10, made into the top ten.

Among individual models, GM's closely related GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook SUVs earned a Consumer Reports recommendation based on their first full year of data. The Dodge Charger also earned a recommendation after its reliability showed substantial improvement from previous years.

Ford, in particular, is improving in quality, according to Consumer Reports. In all, 93 percent of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles showed average or better reliability in the most recent reliability survey.

Among overall brands, Ford's Mercury brand ranked 11th, the Ford brand ranked 13th and the Lincoln luxury brand ranked 14th. Other than Buick, they were the highest-ranking domestic brands.

Ford's quality has tended to be more consistent, with steady improvement year over year, than that of other domestic manufacturers, said David Champion, head of auto testing for Consumer Reports.

"GM and Chrysler have been more hit-and-miss," said Champion.

Of the 39 cars rated "Most Reliable" in Consumer Reports new list, four are by domestic manufacturers. They are the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, two-wheel-drives Ford F-150 V6 and GM's Pontiac Vibe. The Vibe is built in cooperation with Toyota and shares its engineering with the Toyota Matrix.

But 20 of the 44 "least reliable" models named by Consumer Reports were also from domestic manufacturers.

The least reliable car of all, according to Consumer Reports survey, is General Motors' Pontiac Solstice sports car. Its reliability was calculated to be 234 percent worse than average. It was followed closely by GM's Cadillac Escalade EXT, which is calculated to be 220 percent less reliable than the average vehicle.

European manufacturers showed some of the biggest improvements in overall brand rankings. Porsche rose 20 places since last year's survey to finish ninth, for example. Meanwhile, Mini rose 16 places and Jaguar rose 17.

Consumer Reports' reliability rankings differ significantly from those released recently by J.D. Power and Associates. In the J.D. Power most recent "Vehicle Dependability Survey," five of the top ten brands were domestic and Buick tied Lexus for first place.

One major reason for that difference: J.D. Power only surveys owners of three-year-old vehicles. But Consumer Reports surveys its subscribers about vehicles from all three of the most recent model years, unless the vehicle has changed significantly. If the vehicle has changed in that time, only vehicles built since the change are included.

Consumer Reports' rankings are based on survey responses from subscribers to the magazine and its Website. Responses included information on almost 1.3 million vehicles.

Over the past few years, both Consumer Reports and J.D. Power surveys have showed similar trends, however, with domestic car brands improving in quality with European brands generally lagging behind.
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It's not the drop to 5th place that I'm happy about. It's the end of the assumptions. Now they have to play the game like everyone else.

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The news headline should read like this:

"Honda becomes top donor of Consumer Reports"

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In a press release today Toyota Executives are jubilant about "Best Month Ever"™ movement in their reliability rankings when calculated using absolute value.

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It's good to see toyota fall, but they still have Scion and Toyota in the top 5, and 5 spots ahead of any domestic. It isn't like they fell behind Ford and Dodge, it isn't really a big deal. And Consumer Reports recommendations aren't based on how a car drives, I never listen to them anyway.

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Ford, in particular, is improving in quality, according to Consumer Reports. In all, 93 percent of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles showed average or better reliability in the most recent reliability survey.

Ford's quality has tended to be more consistent, with steady improvement year over year, than that of other domestic manufacturers, said David Champion, head of auto testing for Consumer Reports.

the acadia's performance was nice.

wow, all toyota has had to hang their hat on was reliability. now?

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It's good to see toyota fall, but they still have Scion and Toyota in the top 5, and 5 spots ahead of any domestic. It isn't like they fell behind Ford and Dodge, it isn't really a big deal. And Consumer Reports recommendations aren't based on how a car drives, I never listen to them anyway.

Interestingly, Scion's sales still plummeted in September

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I thought all the people who participate in CR surveys are "bias" [sic] and won't admit to having problems, if they own a Japanese-branded car...

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I thought all the people who participate in CR surveys are "bias" [sic] and won't admit to having problems, if they own a Japanese-branded car...

No we just assume that people participate in CR surveys

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This data can be interpreted, spun, and twisted in an infinite number of ways to make auto brands and vehicles look good or bad.

I do wonder how Consumer Reports expects the public to take them seriously when they have been giving new Toyota products reliability/recommended ratings based solely on past performances. You can't be a trusted source of information when you give one corporation a blind, biased advantage over the competition. I truly hope Consumer Reports sees the error of their ways and sticks to rating all brands and vehicles based on actual performance, not reputations or perceived quality/reliability.

If I were Ford, I would publicize and market the heck out of its performance with Consumer Reports. Their recent gains and placings in reliability surveys combined with their value pricing might be enough to help them start moving some metal off dealer lots. I don't find the Taurus/Sable more appealing than a Lucerne or Avalon in the styling department, but you can't beat what it does offer for the price. The Fusion/Milan twin's performances in reliability reports have been stunning; combine this with value pricing and they should set the sales charts ablaze. Hopefully Ford's marketing department will spin all this into a lucrative marketing blitz for Ford Corporation. While they do this to salvage their current situation, Ford needs to be diligently working on ensuring that the next generation of their vehicles are class leading products. I would like to see Ford sell a vehicle because it's best in class, not because it's the value alternative.

As far as Toyota, I think they are suffering from severe growing pains. I think it is a situation of too much growth, too fast. I do hope that they haven't completely yielded to the guidance and (arguable) wisdom of bean counters who might sacrifice good execution and reliability to add a few more dollars to the bottom line. Reputation and prestige in the market are valuable commodities that should never be sacrificed at any cost. Once these assets are lost, a downward slide begins that is nearly impossible to overcome (just ask GM, Ford, Chrysler, or VW). It's not impossible, but it does take a lot of money, time, and resources to accomplish; money and resources that would be better spent maintaining the position and reputation in the market in the first place.

Edited by cire
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So much for unbiased reporting. How can it not be biased if they were using different methods to officially rate individual manufacturers.

Since the new Camry V6 has poor reliability, I wonder how long until the ES350 joins the list?

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It's good to see toyota fall, but they still have Scion and Toyota in the top 5, and 5 spots ahead of any domestic. It isn't like they fell behind Ford and Dodge, it isn't really a big deal. And Consumer Reports recommendations aren't based on how a car drives, I never listen to them anyway.

And which domestic brand is that? :scratchchin: :AH-HA_wink: :thumbsup:

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Yet more evidence that CR is the most reliable source for this kind of information. We have seen Toyota's quality slipping and the CR results reflect that.

I'm not going to fault CR for assuming that a new model from Toyota was going to be reliable. It probably wasn't the best methodology, but if it was right nearly 100% of the time (which it was based on the number of Toyota's that offered above average reliability) then it was a safe bet. It sounds like they have moved away from this practice even at a time when it might still be warranted.

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That's quite intriguing. I bet CR feels a bit embarrassed by this (seems to be happening a lot lately with CR?).

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I find it hilarious that the V8 versions of the Tundra's have received a 'Poor' rating.

Four-Star Crash Ratings.

Sub-par-Reliability.

Oh, but it's better because its engine just happens to be DOHC. :rolleyes:

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Jim Press is at Chrysler, not Ford.

The turd has taken big hits. Not being recommended by CR compounds the problems they have had launching the truck. I hope this thing is blackballed in a huge way.

bed bounce

cams exploding

subpar crash performance

cash on the hood and acts of desperation to move inventory

I hope the effects of the Tundras mistakes (and the Camry's) adversely affect toyota in a big way.

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This is great news now everyone is on a level field. Not only that they have been blindly loyal to Toyota, glad they are stopping that. And the reliability feel that is even better news, I hope sales HURT very bad!

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Yet more evidence that CR is the most reliable source for this kind of information. We have seen Toyota's quality slipping and the CR results reflect that.

I'm not going to fault CR for assuming that a new model from Toyota was going to be reliable. It probably wasn't the best methodology, but if it was right nearly 100% of the time (which it was based on the number of Toyota's that offered above average reliability) then it was a safe bet. It sounds like they have moved away from this practice even at a time when it might still be warranted.

"More" evidence? What was the first evidence? The craptacular statistical methods, the obvious bias, or the blatant assumptions? If CR is the most reliable source, then I'd better start selling dart boards with pictures of cars on them...

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I just hope that Toyota drags CR down with them.

Both are utterly useless to me.

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CR went all straight on me? Crap, those mags were really useful when I went to Barnes and Nobel and wanted to something to read that included cars and comedy.

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Muhahahahahaha, I'm happier than a coondog on a bare leg! :smilewide:

Happy? Care to explain this part? Isn't this your former plant's baby?

The least reliable car of all, according to Consumer Reports survey, is General Motors' Pontiac Solstice sports car. Its reliability was calculated to be 234 percent worse than average. It was followed closely by GM's Cadillac Escalade EXT, which is calculated to be 220 percent less reliable than the average vehicle.

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Happy? Care to explain this part? Isn't this your former plant's baby?

The least reliable car of all, according to Consumer Reports survey, is General Motors' Pontiac Solstice sports car. Its reliability was calculated to be 234 percent worse than average. It was followed closely by GM's Cadillac Escalade EXT, which is calculated to be 220 percent less reliable than the average vehicle.

Which really makes me continue to wonder about the results. I mean really are there any common problems with any of the GMT-900s or 800s? The EXT is an extremely low volume vehicle for GM. There is nothing significantly different between an EXT and a regular Escalade or Avalanche yet neither are reporting problems like that.

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Happy? Care to explain this part? Isn't this your former plant's baby?

The least reliable car of all, according to Consumer Reports survey, is General Motors' Pontiac Solstice sports car. Its reliability was calculated to be 234 percent worse than average. It was followed closely by GM's Cadillac Escalade EXT, which is calculated to be 220 percent less reliable than the average vehicle.

I had an office at Wilmington, but I worked for Opel when there. I don't put to much faith in CR's anti GM bias, you shouldn't either.

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