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Found 14 results

  1. When one automaker comes up with an interesting idea, usually others will follow. See German crossover 'coupes' as an example. With Ford working on a hybrid version of the Mustang, it doesn't come as a surprise that Chevrolet is looking into this as well. Back in August, a poster on the Camaro6 forum got a screenshot with a survey asking Camaro owners which powertrain they would consider if they bought a new sports car. Respondents were given the four choices listed below, or None of the Above: 4 Cylinder, 2.7L, Turbo engine, 310 HP, 25 mpg combined, 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds - $0 4 Cylinder, 2.0L, Hybrid Turbo engine, 365 HP (total system power), 30 mpg combined, 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds - $4,000 8 Cylinder, 6.2L, 455 HP, 20 mpg combined, 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds - $4,000 8 Cylinder, 6.2L, Hybrid engine, 545 HP (total system power), 24 mpg combined, 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds - $8,000 There are few things to take note of, No V6 option is listed among the choices The turbo 2.7L is likely the same found in the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. Also, the 310 horsepower output is the same as Ford's 2.3L EcoBoost. The turbocharged 2.0L hybrid sees a one second drop in 0-60 mph time when compared to the standard 2.0L. Plus, the combined figure rises 5 to 7 mpg - depending on the transmission. The V8 hybrid setup only sees a 0.3-second decrease in the 0-60 mph run, but an increase of 4 mpgs. We need to note that the results of this survey might not result in a hybrid Camaro. "We routinely survey our customers across all of our vehicles on potential future technologies or features, but that doesn’t mean we are going to institute them,” a GM spokesman told Motor Authority. But it is clear that GM is watching Ford closely with the hybrid Mustang. Who knows, maybe the next-generation Camaro will offer some sort of hybrid power? Source: Camaro6, Motor Authority View full article
  2. When one automaker comes up with an interesting idea, usually others will follow. See German crossover 'coupes' as an example. With Ford working on a hybrid version of the Mustang, it doesn't come as a surprise that Chevrolet is looking into this as well. Back in August, a poster on the Camaro6 forum got a screenshot with a survey asking Camaro owners which powertrain they would consider if they bought a new sports car. Respondents were given the four choices listed below, or None of the Above: 4 Cylinder, 2.7L, Turbo engine, 310 HP, 25 mpg combined, 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds - $0 4 Cylinder, 2.0L, Hybrid Turbo engine, 365 HP (total system power), 30 mpg combined, 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds - $4,000 8 Cylinder, 6.2L, 455 HP, 20 mpg combined, 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds - $4,000 8 Cylinder, 6.2L, Hybrid engine, 545 HP (total system power), 24 mpg combined, 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds - $8,000 There are few things to take note of, No V6 option is listed among the choices The turbo 2.7L is likely the same found in the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. Also, the 310 horsepower output is the same as Ford's 2.3L EcoBoost. The turbocharged 2.0L hybrid sees a one second drop in 0-60 mph time when compared to the standard 2.0L. Plus, the combined figure rises 5 to 7 mpg - depending on the transmission. The V8 hybrid setup only sees a 0.3-second decrease in the 0-60 mph run, but an increase of 4 mpgs. We need to note that the results of this survey might not result in a hybrid Camaro. "We routinely survey our customers across all of our vehicles on potential future technologies or features, but that doesn’t mean we are going to institute them,” a GM spokesman told Motor Authority. But it is clear that GM is watching Ford closely with the hybrid Mustang. Who knows, maybe the next-generation Camaro will offer some sort of hybrid power? Source: Camaro6, Motor Authority
  3. Consumer Reports' has unveiled the results of their 2018 Auto Reliability Survey and it was not a good showing for the domestics. Only two domestic brands finished in the top 20 - Ford which came in 18th and Buick who placed 19th. The latter dropping 11 spots in this year's survey. The rest of the domestic brands finished in the bottom half with Ram, Tesla, and Cadillac finishing 26th to 28th. Finishing last was Volvo with CR saying the brand's Sensus Connect infotainment system being the reason for the drop. What finished towards the top? For 2018, Lexus and Toyota take the top two spots. Mazda saw the biggest improvement, jumping nine spots to third place. Completing the top ten are Subaru, Kia, Infiniti, Audi, BMW, MINI, and Hyundai. CR's predicted new-vehicle reliability ratings are derived from an annual questionnaire sent to their subscribers asking about the vehicles they own. The group reports that it had gotten responses for over "500,000 vehicles in its latest survey." A key reason why a number of brands saw a drop in the rankings is due to implementing new and complex technologies. A key example is vehicles equipped with 9 and 10-speed transmissions. Source: Consumer Reports Consumer Reports Annual Reliability Survey: Tesla and Other Domestic Brands Take Big Steps Backwards in Rankings Asian automakers again top the list for most reliable; Volvo drops to last amid shift to new designs YONKERS, NY — It was a rough year for domestic brands, according to Consumer Reports’ (CR) latest Annual Auto Reliability Survey, which collected data from its members about their experiences with more than half a million vehicles. Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, and Tesla are among the brands that tumbled in the organization’s predicted new-car reliability rankings announced at a news conference before the Automotive Press Association in Detroit today. Every domestic automaker landed in the bottom-half of CR’s latest reliability rankings, which covers 29 brands this year - two more than 2017. Ford ranks the highest at 18, down three spots from the previous year. Right below Ford on the list is Buick, which had performed well in recent years and was in the top 10 last year. Cadillac is the worst-rated domestic manufacturer and ranks near the very bottom at 28. Asian brands, led by Lexus, Toyota, and Mazda, in that order, continue to be the best for new car reliability in CR’s survey, which is the largest of its kind. Seven of the top 10 brands in this year’s reliability rankings are from Japan and South Korea, including Subaru, Kia, Infiniti, and Hyundai. Three European brands, Audi, BMW, and Mini, round out the top 10. Audi and BMW both declined from last year. Three other brands, Porsche, Volkswagen, and Mercedes-Benz, finished midpack. Volvo finished last overall. Tesla fell six spots from last year and now ranks third-worst (27 out of 29). The Model S dropped to “Below Average” this year, and its Overall Score is no longer high enough to be “Recommended” by CR. Owners reported suspension problems and other issues that included the extending door handle. (Please see chart below.) The Model X SUV remained “Much-Worse-Than-Average” for reliability, with ongoing problems including the falcon-wing doors and center display screen. On the flip side, the Model 3 sedan has “Average” predicted reliability based on owner feedback. “While the Tesla Model S appears very similar physically to the car that launched six years ago, Tesla has made many significant mechanical and software changes over the past few years. Just as we’ve seen with many other manufacturers, major changes and updates can cause reliability to slide. It can take a year or two for carmakers to work out the kinks with new technology,” said Jake Fisher, Director of Auto Testing at CR. “Making air suspension and AWD standard in the 2017 model has added more complexity and more things that could potentially falter.” “Time and again, consumers tell us that reliability is what matters most when it comes to choosing a vehicle that will meet their families’ needs,” said Marta L. Tellado, President and CEO of Consumer Reports. “That’s why we conduct this exhaustive survey each year—to equip people with the trustworthy information they need to make confident choices, which in turn helps drive the market toward even greater reliability.” Consumer Reports’ survey also reveals that some automakers--striving for improved fuel economy--are clearly making more reliable turbocharged engines than others. When compared to the average non-turbo engine among 2016-2018 models, overall, Lexus makes the most reliable turbo powertrain, followed by Honda and Porsche. On the other end of the spectrum, Hyundai and Mini have the most problematic turbos. There hasn’t been a common thread to explain the problems, but new powertrains have the propensity to be problematic in their first few years. “Not only are auto manufacturers adding more and more turbocharged engines, but they’re increasingly pairing them to high-tech transmissions with eight, nine, even 10 gears,” Fisher added. “With this added complexity, it’s not surprising to see some brands struggling to get them right, particularly the ones that don’t have a long history of producing turbos.” Newly “Recommended” models show some bright spots for Detroit: Dodge, GMC edge up; Other domestics slide down Consumer Reports’ prediction of new-car reliability is a key element of CR’s Overall Score. The score also includes road-test performance, owner satisfaction survey results, whether a vehicle comes with key safety systems, and results from crash tests, if applicable. This year there are more than a dozen vehicles with reliability ratings that improved enough to lift their Overall Scores to enable them to be “CR Recommended.” Overall, there is a lot of reshuffling among the brands in CR’s latest predicted new-car reliability rankings, with most domestic brands moving down the list. But reliability for some key models from Detroit has risen over the past year, allowing CR to “Recommend” them. Those vehicles include the Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Suburban, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and Lincoln Continental. Brands from Fiat Chrysler Automotive (FCA) continue to occupy the bottom third of CR’s rankings. Dodge edges up three spots to number 21 out of 29 brands thanks partly to the “Better-Than-Average” reliability rating of the Dodge Charger, which has steadily improved over the past few years. The Dodge Grand Caravan continues to have “Average” reliability, while the Challenger, Durango, and Journey all stay “Below-Average.” Jeep has mixed results, falling two spots to 22. The Grand Cherokee and Renegade improve to “Average,” while the Cherokee and Compass SUVs have “Below-Average” reliability. Chrysler drops seven spots to number 24. While the Chrysler 300 improves to “Average,” the Pacifica minivan falls to “Below-Average.” Ram was the worst-charting FCA brand at 26. GMC inches up one spot to number 25 due to average or above reliability for the Terrain, Yukon, and Yukon XL. The Acadia and all the pickup trucks rate “Below-Average.” Other GM brands saw their place in the rankings fall from last year. Buick, which had recently been a bright spot for reliability among all domestics, falls 11 spots to 19 – this year’s biggest decline. The redesigned Enclave SUV had a “Much-Worse-Than-Average” rating, with owners reporting problems related to the new nine-speed automatic transmission. Chevrolet is down five places to number 23, in part because the redesigned Traverse had “Much-Worse-Than-Average” reliability. Cadillac is again the worst-performing of the GM brands, dropping one spot to 28. Only the XTS sedan rates “Better-Than-Average” for reliability. Ford ranks number 18, down three spots from last year. The Taurus, the oldest model in Ford’s fleet, has “Much-Better-Than-Average” reliability. But the usually reliable Fusion drops to “Below-Average”, mainly because of problems with the Sync 3 infotainment system screen. The Mustang and Explorer are “Worse-Than- Average.” As for 20th ranked Lincoln, its bright spot is the Continental’s "Much-Better-Than-Average” reliability rating. The MKC, MKX, and the MKZ are “Below Average.”   Volvo sinks to last in down year overall for Europe Volvo drops six spots from last year as it rapidly brings a number of new models to market. It’s now in last-place among the 29 brands in the survey due in large part to an infotainment system that’s common to a number of different models including the XC60 and XC90 and the S 90. For the XC60, owners also reported problems with the climate system and interior cabin rattles. Other European automakers also lost ground. Audi tumbles three spots to seven on the list. BMW falls three spots to eight, followed by Mini at number nine. Mercedes-Benz declines three spots to number 17. The C-Class coupe and sedan improves to “Average,” but the GLC and E-Class are “Below-Average.” Porsche bucks the trend in this group, rising two places to number 11. Lexus, Toyota trade places at the top as Asia dominance persists Lexus and Toyota take the top two spots, respectively, in CR’s predicted new-car reliability rankings, as they have for six years in a row. Mazda jumps nine spots in the rankings to third overall, making it the year’s biggest gainer, as the automaker worked out the problems that plagued the CX-9 and MX-5 Miata roadster. Subaru continues its recent march up the chart, rising two places to fourth overall. The Infiniti brand also rebounds slightly, with the Q50 getting an “Average” score and the QX60 improving to “Above Average.” Nissan similarly tumbles a few slots, even with both the Maxima and the redesigned Leaf rating above average. Honda turns in mixed results, landing at 15, which is six spots lower from the year prior. The brand’s reliability is bogged down by some of its new and redesigned models. The Odyssey and the Clarity have “Much-Worse-Than-Average” reliability, and the CR-V and new Accord drops to “Average.” However, Acura seems to have worked out recent trouble spots with its new transmissions and infotainment systems. Honda’s luxury brand gains six spots in this year’s rankings to number 13. Kia drops two spots but remained in the top-ten as its all-new Stinger hatchback rates “Average” for reliability, as was the Sportage. Hyundai comes in at number 10, and its luxury Genesis brand is close behind. The G80 has “Above Average” reliability, and the G90 is below average, with reported problems in the area of body hardware and power equipment.
  4. Consumer Reports' has unveiled the results of their 2018 Auto Reliability Survey and it was not a good showing for the domestics. Only two domestic brands finished in the top 20 - Ford which came in 18th and Buick who placed 19th. The latter dropping 11 spots in this year's survey. The rest of the domestic brands finished in the bottom half with Ram, Tesla, and Cadillac finishing 26th to 28th. Finishing last was Volvo with CR saying the brand's Sensus Connect infotainment system being the reason for the drop. What finished towards the top? For 2018, Lexus and Toyota take the top two spots. Mazda saw the biggest improvement, jumping nine spots to third place. Completing the top ten are Subaru, Kia, Infiniti, Audi, BMW, MINI, and Hyundai. CR's predicted new-vehicle reliability ratings are derived from an annual questionnaire sent to their subscribers asking about the vehicles they own. The group reports that it had gotten responses for over "500,000 vehicles in its latest survey." A key reason why a number of brands saw a drop in the rankings is due to implementing new and complex technologies. A key example is vehicles equipped with 9 and 10-speed transmissions. Source: Consumer Reports Consumer Reports Annual Reliability Survey: Tesla and Other Domestic Brands Take Big Steps Backwards in Rankings Asian automakers again top the list for most reliable; Volvo drops to last amid shift to new designs YONKERS, NY — It was a rough year for domestic brands, according to Consumer Reports’ (CR) latest Annual Auto Reliability Survey, which collected data from its members about their experiences with more than half a million vehicles. Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, and Tesla are among the brands that tumbled in the organization’s predicted new-car reliability rankings announced at a news conference before the Automotive Press Association in Detroit today. Every domestic automaker landed in the bottom-half of CR’s latest reliability rankings, which covers 29 brands this year - two more than 2017. Ford ranks the highest at 18, down three spots from the previous year. Right below Ford on the list is Buick, which had performed well in recent years and was in the top 10 last year. Cadillac is the worst-rated domestic manufacturer and ranks near the very bottom at 28. Asian brands, led by Lexus, Toyota, and Mazda, in that order, continue to be the best for new car reliability in CR’s survey, which is the largest of its kind. Seven of the top 10 brands in this year’s reliability rankings are from Japan and South Korea, including Subaru, Kia, Infiniti, and Hyundai. Three European brands, Audi, BMW, and Mini, round out the top 10. Audi and BMW both declined from last year. Three other brands, Porsche, Volkswagen, and Mercedes-Benz, finished midpack. Volvo finished last overall. Tesla fell six spots from last year and now ranks third-worst (27 out of 29). The Model S dropped to “Below Average” this year, and its Overall Score is no longer high enough to be “Recommended” by CR. Owners reported suspension problems and other issues that included the extending door handle. (Please see chart below.) The Model X SUV remained “Much-Worse-Than-Average” for reliability, with ongoing problems including the falcon-wing doors and center display screen. On the flip side, the Model 3 sedan has “Average” predicted reliability based on owner feedback. “While the Tesla Model S appears very similar physically to the car that launched six years ago, Tesla has made many significant mechanical and software changes over the past few years. Just as we’ve seen with many other manufacturers, major changes and updates can cause reliability to slide. It can take a year or two for carmakers to work out the kinks with new technology,” said Jake Fisher, Director of Auto Testing at CR. “Making air suspension and AWD standard in the 2017 model has added more complexity and more things that could potentially falter.” “Time and again, consumers tell us that reliability is what matters most when it comes to choosing a vehicle that will meet their families’ needs,” said Marta L. Tellado, President and CEO of Consumer Reports. “That’s why we conduct this exhaustive survey each year—to equip people with the trustworthy information they need to make confident choices, which in turn helps drive the market toward even greater reliability.” Consumer Reports’ survey also reveals that some automakers--striving for improved fuel economy--are clearly making more reliable turbocharged engines than others. When compared to the average non-turbo engine among 2016-2018 models, overall, Lexus makes the most reliable turbo powertrain, followed by Honda and Porsche. On the other end of the spectrum, Hyundai and Mini have the most problematic turbos. There hasn’t been a common thread to explain the problems, but new powertrains have the propensity to be problematic in their first few years. “Not only are auto manufacturers adding more and more turbocharged engines, but they’re increasingly pairing them to high-tech transmissions with eight, nine, even 10 gears,” Fisher added. “With this added complexity, it’s not surprising to see some brands struggling to get them right, particularly the ones that don’t have a long history of producing turbos.” Newly “Recommended” models show some bright spots for Detroit: Dodge, GMC edge up; Other domestics slide down Consumer Reports’ prediction of new-car reliability is a key element of CR’s Overall Score. The score also includes road-test performance, owner satisfaction survey results, whether a vehicle comes with key safety systems, and results from crash tests, if applicable. This year there are more than a dozen vehicles with reliability ratings that improved enough to lift their Overall Scores to enable them to be “CR Recommended.” Overall, there is a lot of reshuffling among the brands in CR’s latest predicted new-car reliability rankings, with most domestic brands moving down the list. But reliability for some key models from Detroit has risen over the past year, allowing CR to “Recommend” them. Those vehicles include the Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Suburban, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and Lincoln Continental. Brands from Fiat Chrysler Automotive (FCA) continue to occupy the bottom third of CR’s rankings. Dodge edges up three spots to number 21 out of 29 brands thanks partly to the “Better-Than-Average” reliability rating of the Dodge Charger, which has steadily improved over the past few years. The Dodge Grand Caravan continues to have “Average” reliability, while the Challenger, Durango, and Journey all stay “Below-Average.” Jeep has mixed results, falling two spots to 22. The Grand Cherokee and Renegade improve to “Average,” while the Cherokee and Compass SUVs have “Below-Average” reliability. Chrysler drops seven spots to number 24. While the Chrysler 300 improves to “Average,” the Pacifica minivan falls to “Below-Average.” Ram was the worst-charting FCA brand at 26. GMC inches up one spot to number 25 due to average or above reliability for the Terrain, Yukon, and Yukon XL. The Acadia and all the pickup trucks rate “Below-Average.” Other GM brands saw their place in the rankings fall from last year. Buick, which had recently been a bright spot for reliability among all domestics, falls 11 spots to 19 – this year’s biggest decline. The redesigned Enclave SUV had a “Much-Worse-Than-Average” rating, with owners reporting problems related to the new nine-speed automatic transmission. Chevrolet is down five places to number 23, in part because the redesigned Traverse had “Much-Worse-Than-Average” reliability. Cadillac is again the worst-performing of the GM brands, dropping one spot to 28. Only the XTS sedan rates “Better-Than-Average” for reliability. Ford ranks number 18, down three spots from last year. The Taurus, the oldest model in Ford’s fleet, has “Much-Better-Than-Average” reliability. But the usually reliable Fusion drops to “Below-Average”, mainly because of problems with the Sync 3 infotainment system screen. The Mustang and Explorer are “Worse-Than- Average.” As for 20th ranked Lincoln, its bright spot is the Continental’s "Much-Better-Than-Average” reliability rating. The MKC, MKX, and the MKZ are “Below Average.”   Volvo sinks to last in down year overall for Europe Volvo drops six spots from last year as it rapidly brings a number of new models to market. It’s now in last-place among the 29 brands in the survey due in large part to an infotainment system that’s common to a number of different models including the XC60 and XC90 and the S 90. For the XC60, owners also reported problems with the climate system and interior cabin rattles. Other European automakers also lost ground. Audi tumbles three spots to seven on the list. BMW falls three spots to eight, followed by Mini at number nine. Mercedes-Benz declines three spots to number 17. The C-Class coupe and sedan improves to “Average,” but the GLC and E-Class are “Below-Average.” Porsche bucks the trend in this group, rising two places to number 11. Lexus, Toyota trade places at the top as Asia dominance persists Lexus and Toyota take the top two spots, respectively, in CR’s predicted new-car reliability rankings, as they have for six years in a row. Mazda jumps nine spots in the rankings to third overall, making it the year’s biggest gainer, as the automaker worked out the problems that plagued the CX-9 and MX-5 Miata roadster. Subaru continues its recent march up the chart, rising two places to fourth overall. The Infiniti brand also rebounds slightly, with the Q50 getting an “Average” score and the QX60 improving to “Above Average.” Nissan similarly tumbles a few slots, even with both the Maxima and the redesigned Leaf rating above average. Honda turns in mixed results, landing at 15, which is six spots lower from the year prior. The brand’s reliability is bogged down by some of its new and redesigned models. The Odyssey and the Clarity have “Much-Worse-Than-Average” reliability, and the CR-V and new Accord drops to “Average.” However, Acura seems to have worked out recent trouble spots with its new transmissions and infotainment systems. Honda’s luxury brand gains six spots in this year’s rankings to number 13. Kia drops two spots but remained in the top-ten as its all-new Stinger hatchback rates “Average” for reliability, as was the Sportage. Hyundai comes in at number 10, and its luxury Genesis brand is close behind. The G80 has “Above Average” reliability, and the G90 is below average, with reported problems in the area of body hardware and power equipment. View full article
  5. Most people aren't so keen on letting an autonomous system take control of their vehicle according to a new survey done by Cox Automotive. Nearly 85 percent of the 1,250 people surveyed said they should have the option to drive themselves even in a self-driving vehicle. Only 16 percent said they would feel comfortable allowing a autonomous driving system take over. When asked if they would be a fully-autonomous vehicle (Level 5 under SAE's vehicle autonomy guidelines), almost half said no. Automotive News notes that is up from the 30 percent of people surveyed in 2016. Why the increases in overall apprehension? It mostly comes down to number of crashes that autonomous vehicles have been involve in, such as the Uber crash that killed a pedestrian. “People now have a deeper understanding of the complexities involved when creating a self-driving car, and that has them reconsidering their comfort level when it comes to handing over control,” said Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book. In the past two years, awareness into self-driving tech increased 24 percent. But the perception of the safety of self-driving vehicles dropped 20 percent. Despite the trepidation, Cox believes the adoption of self-driving vehicles will gain traction - bringing big implications for automakers and dealers. “Miles traveled will shift toward fleet-owned vehicles, causing what we believe to be a potential 40 percent reduction in consumer vehicle sales,” said Isabelle Helms, vice president of research and market intelligence at Cox Automotive. We should note that Cox Automotive does an interest in the self-driving marketplace. Automotive News says the company has created a new unit that will sell software and services for car-sharing, ride-hailing, subscription programs, and, eventually, self-driving taxi fleets. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  6. Most people aren't so keen on letting an autonomous system take control of their vehicle according to a new survey done by Cox Automotive. Nearly 85 percent of the 1,250 people surveyed said they should have the option to drive themselves even in a self-driving vehicle. Only 16 percent said they would feel comfortable allowing a autonomous driving system take over. When asked if they would be a fully-autonomous vehicle (Level 5 under SAE's vehicle autonomy guidelines), almost half said no. Automotive News notes that is up from the 30 percent of people surveyed in 2016. Why the increases in overall apprehension? It mostly comes down to number of crashes that autonomous vehicles have been involve in, such as the Uber crash that killed a pedestrian. “People now have a deeper understanding of the complexities involved when creating a self-driving car, and that has them reconsidering their comfort level when it comes to handing over control,” said Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book. In the past two years, awareness into self-driving tech increased 24 percent. But the perception of the safety of self-driving vehicles dropped 20 percent. Despite the trepidation, Cox believes the adoption of self-driving vehicles will gain traction - bringing big implications for automakers and dealers. “Miles traveled will shift toward fleet-owned vehicles, causing what we believe to be a potential 40 percent reduction in consumer vehicle sales,” said Isabelle Helms, vice president of research and market intelligence at Cox Automotive. We should note that Cox Automotive does an interest in the self-driving marketplace. Automotive News says the company has created a new unit that will sell software and services for car-sharing, ride-hailing, subscription programs, and, eventually, self-driving taxi fleets. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  7. The U.S. Commerce Department is asking automakers to spill their secrets; product planning, financing, supply chains, and other bits that aren't in public filings. Bloomberg reports that the department’s Bureau of Industry and Security sent out a 34-page questionnaire asking for sensitive details to several automakers. Failure to do so could result "in a maximum fine of $10,000, imprisonment of up to one year, or both" as mentioned on the first page of the survey. “The breadth and depth of this request is invasive, requiring massive amounts of proprietary and confidential business data from global operations -- all under the pretense of national security,” said Gloria Bergquist, spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers - a group that represents a number of companies including General Motors, Toyota, and Volkswagen. “Frankly, it’s stunning from an administration committed to getting government out of the way of business.” This is part of the Commerce Department’s investigation into whether or not the imports of cars and car parts hurt U.S. national security opened in late May. It may result in imported vehicles being hit with tariffs as high as 25 percent. What is being asked in this survey? Other questions deal with the business plan from now until 2020 and whether or not imports hurt sales. Susan Helper, a former chief economist of the Commerce Department during the Obama administration said Bureau of Industry and Security has conducted dozen of these surveys in the past, mostly dealing with sectors closely linked to the defense industry. “This is a consequence of the Trump administration’s expanded definition of national security I hadn’t thought about. I can see both sides on this -- it is burdensome for companies, but on the other hand it’s important for policy makers to understand global supply chains as they have an increasing impact on the U.S. economy,” Helper told Bloomberg. Dave Sullivan, an analyst at AutoPacific told Bloomberg that the level of information that the government is asking is "disturbing'. “The only time I’ve seen something like that is when a supplier is not doing very well financially and the automaker is trying to understand their financial state and their future. They’re fully undressing automakers and how they do their business to a disturbing level.” The Commerce Department will be holding a hearing on the investigation on July 19th in Washington D.C. Around 45 people, representing various automakers, labor unions, and more will be testifying. Source: Bloomberg, Link to Questionnaire
  8. The U.S. Commerce Department is asking automakers to spill their secrets; product planning, financing, supply chains, and other bits that aren't in public filings. Bloomberg reports that the department’s Bureau of Industry and Security sent out a 34-page questionnaire asking for sensitive details to several automakers. Failure to do so could result "in a maximum fine of $10,000, imprisonment of up to one year, or both" as mentioned on the first page of the survey. “The breadth and depth of this request is invasive, requiring massive amounts of proprietary and confidential business data from global operations -- all under the pretense of national security,” said Gloria Bergquist, spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers - a group that represents a number of companies including General Motors, Toyota, and Volkswagen. “Frankly, it’s stunning from an administration committed to getting government out of the way of business.” This is part of the Commerce Department’s investigation into whether or not the imports of cars and car parts hurt U.S. national security opened in late May. It may result in imported vehicles being hit with tariffs as high as 25 percent. What is being asked in this survey? Other questions deal with the business plan from now until 2020 and whether or not imports hurt sales. Susan Helper, a former chief economist of the Commerce Department during the Obama administration said Bureau of Industry and Security has conducted dozen of these surveys in the past, mostly dealing with sectors closely linked to the defense industry. “This is a consequence of the Trump administration’s expanded definition of national security I hadn’t thought about. I can see both sides on this -- it is burdensome for companies, but on the other hand it’s important for policy makers to understand global supply chains as they have an increasing impact on the U.S. economy,” Helper told Bloomberg. Dave Sullivan, an analyst at AutoPacific told Bloomberg that the level of information that the government is asking is "disturbing'. “The only time I’ve seen something like that is when a supplier is not doing very well financially and the automaker is trying to understand their financial state and their future. They’re fully undressing automakers and how they do their business to a disturbing level.” The Commerce Department will be holding a hearing on the investigation on July 19th in Washington D.C. Around 45 people, representing various automakers, labor unions, and more will be testifying. Source: Bloomberg, Link to Questionnaire View full article
  9. It seemed that it would never happen, a domestic brand cracking into the top three of Consumer Reports' annual Auto Reliability Survey. But in the 2016 survey, Buick became the first domestic brand in three decades to be in the top three of reliable brands - behind Lexus and Toyota. “Buick’s achievement is commendable and sure to be a wake-up call to other manufacturers. One reason why the brand has been able to leapfrog others in the General Motors’ stable has been its limited vehicle lineup--with none of the pickups and truck-based SUVs that have negatively impacted Cadillac and Chevrolet,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing in a statement. For the 2016 survey, Consumer Reports changed up their predicted reliability score to a 0-100 scale. Brands that score between 41 to 60 were deemed to be reliable. If a brand finishes below, it is deemed to be less reliable, while those that finished above were deemed to be more reliable. Rounding out the top ten list include Audi, Kia, Mazda, Hyundai, Infiniti (up 16 spots), BMW, and Honda. Chevrolet was the second highest domestic brand by finishing 15th. Ford placed 18th in the survey, still being troubled by the dual-clutch transmissions used in the Fiesta and Focus. FCA had a rough showing again with Chrysler, Fiat, and Ram Trucks finishing in the bottom three. Other notes from the 2016 Annual Auto Reliability Survey: Tesla is now part of the survey as they now have two models - Model S and X. They placed 25th. The Model S saw its reliability rating improve to average, while the Model X is toward the bottom due to numerous problems. Subaru fell out of the top 10 because of the WRX and STI getting below average reliability, and the Legacy/Outback falling to average. The recently redesigned Honda Civic is said to have “much-worse-than-average” reliability due to issues with the infotainment and power accessories. Source: Consumer Reports, Automotive News (Subscription Required) Press Release is on Page 2 Consumer Reports 2016 Annual Auto Reliability Survey: Buick Becomes First Domestic to Reach the Top Three New Honda Civic Plagued with Power Equipment and Infotainment Systems Problems YONKERS, NY – While Asian brands continue to dominate, Buick has become the first domestic brand in more than three decades to earn a place in the top three most reliable brands in Consumer Reports’ Annual Brand Reliability Survey. The findings were announced during a press conference before the Automotive Press Association in Detroit today. There was trouble, too, for one of the imports: Honda’s popular Civic model proved to have “much-worse-than-average” reliability due to problems with its power equipment and infotainment systems. The Civic was North American Car of the Year for 2016. Buick, General Motors’ near-luxury brand, has been hovering in the top 10 of CR’s brand reliability rankings for the past few years. But CR’s latest findings show Buick has joined Lexus and Toyota on the podium for the first time since the organization began tracking brand performance in the early 1980s. Chevrolet ranks as the second-best domestic brand and is in 15th place overall among the 29 brands covered. Consumer Reports—the world’s largest and most trusted consumer nonprofit—first published its annual brand reliability rankings in 2001. That initial analysis showed that domestic nameplate vehicles had been lagging behind Japanese and European imports for the previous 20 years. Factoring in that history makes Buick’s third-place finish the highest for any American brand in more than 35 years. “Buick’s achievement is commendable and sure to be a wake-up call to other manufacturers,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing. “One reason why the brand has been able to leapfrog others in the General Motors’ stable has been its limited vehicle lineup--with none of the pickups and truck-based SUVs that have negatively impacted Cadillac and Chevrolet.” All of the Asian nameplates scored among the top half of the 29 brands tested, accounting for seven of the top 10 spots. Lexus and Toyota continued their domination, finishing in first and second place for the fourth straight year. All nine Lexus models CR rated had better-than-average reliability, as would have Toyota, had it not been for the below average score of the redesigned 2016 Tacoma pickup truck. Among the other Asian brands, Infiniti made the biggest gain, while Acura was up six spots and Nissan moved up two. All Mazda models remained above average except for the new CX-3 small SUV, which came in at average. Kia and Hyundai continue to surge up the rankings, coming in at five and seven this year. No Kia or Hyundai models scored below average. Honda has continued with its erratic trajectory, making landfall at number 10 among all brands. Usually a top finisher known for reliability, the brand has been hurt by new introductions. In addition to the new Civic, the redesigned Pilot SUV was just average. Historically a strong performer, Subaru is an example of how smaller manufacturers can be helped—or hindered—by the performance of one or two models. Subaru fell out of the top 10, hurt by the 2016 Legacy and Outback falling to average, and the sporty WRX/STi dropping to below average. Reliability improvements helped some luxury brands move up. Infiniti jumped 16 spots to number eight, but the brand still runs hot and cold. The older QX50 SUV and Q70 sedan had top scores, but the newer QX60 SUV and Q50 sedan were below average. BMW also moved into the top 10, with the 5 Series, X5, and i3 improving to average. Audi has had several years of upward progress, and it continues to rank in the top five. The new Q7 and the Q3 SUVs were very reliable. Other European brands continue their inconsistency. Mercedes was one of the big movers, jumping four spots to number 17. The 2016 GLC, which replaced the reliable GLK, launched with well-above-average reliability, and the GLA and GLE SUVs were average. But the large GLS SUV was among the 20 most trouble-prone new cars in the survey, and the C- and S-Class sedans remained unreliable. Volkswagen and Volvo, however, tumbled. Aside from the Tiguan SUV, all other VW models had below average reliability. The redesigned XC90 was the big culprit in Volvo’s plunge to the bottom third ranking, with its touch-screen infotainment and climate systems being particularly problematic. Transmissions with more ratios and advanced drivetrains continue to be a challenge for a number of brands. While the Acura TLX and Jeep Cherokee have seen improvements in the reliability of their nine-speed automatics, earlier models are still problematic. Ford’s dual-clutch automatic transmission continues to afflict the Fiesta and Focus, which is one reason they are among the lowest-scoring models. Likewise, early versions of the current Nissan Pathfinder and similar Infiniti QX60 SUVs continue to suffer from problems with their continuously variable transmissions. Other GM marques did not fare as well as Buick. Chevrolet saw gains, moving up five spots since last year. It was helped in particular by the stellar reliability of the redesigned 2016 Cruze, which topped all compact cars, and the Corvette, which moved up to average. Cadillac has two models with below-average reliability—the Escalade and small ATS sedan—while the CTS and XTS sedans were average or better. GMC has dropped, hurt by its versions of the same large SUVs and pickup trucks that haunt Chevrolet. Consumer Reports requires at least two models with sufficient data in order to be included in its brand reliability rankings. With the introduction of the new Model X SUV, Tesla is now included and is ranked toward the bottom, at 25th. The Model X launched with abundant problems, including frequent malfunctions of the falcon-wing doors, water leaks, and infotainment and climate-control system problems. The Model S gained ground this year, improving to average reliability. Fiat-Chrysler continues its turbulent voyage. The Fiat 500L, the most trouble-prone new car for the past two years, is now only the seventh-most troublesome. No Fiat or Ram vehicle managed even an average reliability rating. Only the Chrysler 300 sedan, Dodge Grand Caravan minivan, and Jeep Patriot SUV managed an average or better score.
  10. It seemed that it would never happen, a domestic brand cracking into the top three of Consumer Reports' annual Auto Reliability Survey. But in the 2016 survey, Buick became the first domestic brand in three decades to be in the top three of reliable brands - behind Lexus and Toyota. “Buick’s achievement is commendable and sure to be a wake-up call to other manufacturers. One reason why the brand has been able to leapfrog others in the General Motors’ stable has been its limited vehicle lineup--with none of the pickups and truck-based SUVs that have negatively impacted Cadillac and Chevrolet,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing in a statement. For the 2016 survey, Consumer Reports changed up their predicted reliability score to a 0-100 scale. Brands that score between 41 to 60 were deemed to be reliable. If a brand finishes below, it is deemed to be less reliable, while those that finished above were deemed to be more reliable. Rounding out the top ten list include Audi, Kia, Mazda, Hyundai, Infiniti (up 16 spots), BMW, and Honda. Chevrolet was the second highest domestic brand by finishing 15th. Ford placed 18th in the survey, still being troubled by the dual-clutch transmissions used in the Fiesta and Focus. FCA had a rough showing again with Chrysler, Fiat, and Ram Trucks finishing in the bottom three. Other notes from the 2016 Annual Auto Reliability Survey: Tesla is now part of the survey as they now have two models - Model S and X. They placed 25th. The Model S saw its reliability rating improve to average, while the Model X is toward the bottom due to numerous problems. Subaru fell out of the top 10 because of the WRX and STI getting below average reliability, and the Legacy/Outback falling to average. The recently redesigned Honda Civic is said to have “much-worse-than-average” reliability due to issues with the infotainment and power accessories. Source: Consumer Reports, Automotive News (Subscription Required) Press Release is on Page 2 Consumer Reports 2016 Annual Auto Reliability Survey: Buick Becomes First Domestic to Reach the Top Three New Honda Civic Plagued with Power Equipment and Infotainment Systems Problems YONKERS, NY – While Asian brands continue to dominate, Buick has become the first domestic brand in more than three decades to earn a place in the top three most reliable brands in Consumer Reports’ Annual Brand Reliability Survey. The findings were announced during a press conference before the Automotive Press Association in Detroit today. There was trouble, too, for one of the imports: Honda’s popular Civic model proved to have “much-worse-than-average” reliability due to problems with its power equipment and infotainment systems. The Civic was North American Car of the Year for 2016. Buick, General Motors’ near-luxury brand, has been hovering in the top 10 of CR’s brand reliability rankings for the past few years. But CR’s latest findings show Buick has joined Lexus and Toyota on the podium for the first time since the organization began tracking brand performance in the early 1980s. Chevrolet ranks as the second-best domestic brand and is in 15th place overall among the 29 brands covered. Consumer Reports—the world’s largest and most trusted consumer nonprofit—first published its annual brand reliability rankings in 2001. That initial analysis showed that domestic nameplate vehicles had been lagging behind Japanese and European imports for the previous 20 years. Factoring in that history makes Buick’s third-place finish the highest for any American brand in more than 35 years. “Buick’s achievement is commendable and sure to be a wake-up call to other manufacturers,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing. “One reason why the brand has been able to leapfrog others in the General Motors’ stable has been its limited vehicle lineup--with none of the pickups and truck-based SUVs that have negatively impacted Cadillac and Chevrolet.” All of the Asian nameplates scored among the top half of the 29 brands tested, accounting for seven of the top 10 spots. Lexus and Toyota continued their domination, finishing in first and second place for the fourth straight year. All nine Lexus models CR rated had better-than-average reliability, as would have Toyota, had it not been for the below average score of the redesigned 2016 Tacoma pickup truck. Among the other Asian brands, Infiniti made the biggest gain, while Acura was up six spots and Nissan moved up two. All Mazda models remained above average except for the new CX-3 small SUV, which came in at average. Kia and Hyundai continue to surge up the rankings, coming in at five and seven this year. No Kia or Hyundai models scored below average. Honda has continued with its erratic trajectory, making landfall at number 10 among all brands. Usually a top finisher known for reliability, the brand has been hurt by new introductions. In addition to the new Civic, the redesigned Pilot SUV was just average. Historically a strong performer, Subaru is an example of how smaller manufacturers can be helped—or hindered—by the performance of one or two models. Subaru fell out of the top 10, hurt by the 2016 Legacy and Outback falling to average, and the sporty WRX/STi dropping to below average. Reliability improvements helped some luxury brands move up. Infiniti jumped 16 spots to number eight, but the brand still runs hot and cold. The older QX50 SUV and Q70 sedan had top scores, but the newer QX60 SUV and Q50 sedan were below average. BMW also moved into the top 10, with the 5 Series, X5, and i3 improving to average. Audi has had several years of upward progress, and it continues to rank in the top five. The new Q7 and the Q3 SUVs were very reliable. Other European brands continue their inconsistency. Mercedes was one of the big movers, jumping four spots to number 17. The 2016 GLC, which replaced the reliable GLK, launched with well-above-average reliability, and the GLA and GLE SUVs were average. But the large GLS SUV was among the 20 most trouble-prone new cars in the survey, and the C- and S-Class sedans remained unreliable. Volkswagen and Volvo, however, tumbled. Aside from the Tiguan SUV, all other VW models had below average reliability. The redesigned XC90 was the big culprit in Volvo’s plunge to the bottom third ranking, with its touch-screen infotainment and climate systems being particularly problematic. Transmissions with more ratios and advanced drivetrains continue to be a challenge for a number of brands. While the Acura TLX and Jeep Cherokee have seen improvements in the reliability of their nine-speed automatics, earlier models are still problematic. Ford’s dual-clutch automatic transmission continues to afflict the Fiesta and Focus, which is one reason they are among the lowest-scoring models. Likewise, early versions of the current Nissan Pathfinder and similar Infiniti QX60 SUVs continue to suffer from problems with their continuously variable transmissions. Other GM marques did not fare as well as Buick. Chevrolet saw gains, moving up five spots since last year. It was helped in particular by the stellar reliability of the redesigned 2016 Cruze, which topped all compact cars, and the Corvette, which moved up to average. Cadillac has two models with below-average reliability—the Escalade and small ATS sedan—while the CTS and XTS sedans were average or better. GMC has dropped, hurt by its versions of the same large SUVs and pickup trucks that haunt Chevrolet. Consumer Reports requires at least two models with sufficient data in order to be included in its brand reliability rankings. With the introduction of the new Model X SUV, Tesla is now included and is ranked toward the bottom, at 25th. The Model X launched with abundant problems, including frequent malfunctions of the falcon-wing doors, water leaks, and infotainment and climate-control system problems. The Model S gained ground this year, improving to average reliability. Fiat-Chrysler continues its turbulent voyage. The Fiat 500L, the most trouble-prone new car for the past two years, is now only the seventh-most troublesome. No Fiat or Ram vehicle managed even an average reliability rating. Only the Chrysler 300 sedan, Dodge Grand Caravan minivan, and Jeep Patriot SUV managed an average or better score. View full article
  11. Yesterday, Consumer Reports announced the results of their annual reliability survey for 2015. Not surprisingly, the top ten was mostly made up of Japanese and Korean automakers, with Lexus and Toyota taking the top two spots. However, Audi led the Europeans by taking the third spot. For the domestics, Buick landed at number seven on the list. The survey reports that a number of automakers are still having troubles with the infotainment system, but also with transmissions. “We’ve seen a number of brands struggle with new transmission technology. “Whether it’s a complex system such as a dual-clutch gearbox, a continuously variable transmission, or one with eight or nine speeds. Many vehicles require repair and replacements because of rough shifting among the gears and slipping CVT belts,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ Director of Automotive Testing. One other bit of news to come out was the Tesla Model S losing its Recommended rating from the publication. While the vehicle earned top marks when it came to the tests done by Consumer Reports, the respondents tell a slightly different story. Problems listed include pop-out door handles that don't pop out anymore, leaking sunroofs, door rattles, and failure of the electric motor. Source: Consumer Reports Press Release is on Page 2 Consumer Reports’ 2015 Annual Auto Reliability Survey: New Transmission Technology Problems Emerge Lexus, Toyota, Audi, Mazda, and Subaru Most Reliable Brands YONKERS, NY—While problematic infotainment systems continue to be among the top issues reported by new car owners, Consumer Reports has identified an emerging trend of increased troubles with new transmission systems developed to improve fuel-economy, based on an analysis of its 2015 Annual Auto Reliability Survey. The findings, released today before the Automotive Press Association in Detroit, are collected annually from Consumer Reports’ subscribers. CR’s 2015 Annual Auto Reliability Survey takes into account data from more than 740,000 vehicles. This year, Acura becomes the latest brand to see its overall predicted-reliability ranking drop sharply (down 7 places from last year) due to problems with in-car electronics and transmissions for its newest RLX and TLX sedans. CR has already seen these trouble areas drag down overall scores for Ford, Nissan, Fiat-Chrysler and others. “We’ve seen a number of brands struggle with new transmission technology,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ Director of Automotive Testing. “Whether it’s a complex system such as a dual-clutch gearbox, a continuously variable transmission, or one with eight or nine speeds. Many vehicles require repair and replacements because of rough shifting among the gears and slipping CVT belts.” Not all new-generation transmissions are troublesome. Audi and BMW have created reliable dual-clutch transmissions, while the CVTs in Honda and Toyota hybrids have been strong performers. Among the Japanese brands, Lexus pulled off a rare feat, garnering top reliability marks for all seven vehicle lines scored in Consumer Reports survey. But it was the only strong Japanese luxury brand. Nissan’s Infiniti brand has continued its downward trajectory because of problems with its InTouch infotainment system. Although none of Honda’s vehicles rated below average, the brand has dropped a few places largely due to glitches with its infotainment system in redesigned and freshened models. Toyota, Mazda and Subaru were all in the top five. Audi, once synonymous with service problems, continued its recent upward trend leading all European brands and finishing third, just behind Lexus and Toyota. Mini, BMW, Volvo, and Volkswagen all finished in the top 15. Porsche dropped from ninth to 14th place because of a declining score for the Cayman and a below-average debut for the Macan. Korean automakers, Kia and Hyundai, are considerably stronger and continue to rise in Consumer Reports rankings. The sister brands finished sixth and ninth, respectively. For the first time, Kia beat the stalwart Japanese brand Honda, and by a significant margin. The complete reliability results for all 2016 are available at www.ConsumerReports.org, today, and in the December Issue of Consumer Reports, on newsstands November 1. For the second year, Buick was the only domestic brand in the top 10 coming in seventh place. Cadillac dropped seven places to near the bottom, still plagued by its CUE infotainment system. Other General Motors brands, Chevrolet and GMC finished in the bottom third of the overall rankings. Ford remains in the lower half of the rankings as well, but showed significant gains with most of its cars scoring average or better. The redesigned F-150 and Expedition SUV were bright spots, scoring above average in its first year. But the first-year Mustang had issues with its body hardware, drive shaft, and stability/traction control systems. Nine of the 13 Fords Consumer Reports scored had average or better reliability. Tesla’s Model S sedan got high marks in Consumer Reports’ 50-plus performance tests, but its predicted reliability is another matter. CR received about 1,400 survey responses from Model S owners who chronicled an array of detailed and complicated maladies. From that data, the Tesla Model S earns a worse-than-average predicted reliability score. The main problem areas are the drivetrain, power equipment, charging equipment, center console, and body and sunroof squeaks, rattles, and leaks. While the long-running Chrysler and Dodge minivans scraped up an average reliability score for the first time in many years, all of Fiat-Chrysler brands (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Fiat) finished at or near the bottom again. View full article
  12. Yesterday, Consumer Reports announced the results of their annual reliability survey for 2015. Not surprisingly, the top ten was mostly made up of Japanese and Korean automakers, with Lexus and Toyota taking the top two spots. However, Audi led the Europeans by taking the third spot. For the domestics, Buick landed at number seven on the list. The survey reports that a number of automakers are still having troubles with the infotainment system, but also with transmissions. “We’ve seen a number of brands struggle with new transmission technology. “Whether it’s a complex system such as a dual-clutch gearbox, a continuously variable transmission, or one with eight or nine speeds. Many vehicles require repair and replacements because of rough shifting among the gears and slipping CVT belts,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ Director of Automotive Testing. One other bit of news to come out was the Tesla Model S losing its Recommended rating from the publication. While the vehicle earned top marks when it came to the tests done by Consumer Reports, the respondents tell a slightly different story. Problems listed include pop-out door handles that don't pop out anymore, leaking sunroofs, door rattles, and failure of the electric motor. Source: Consumer Reports Press Release is on Page 2 Consumer Reports’ 2015 Annual Auto Reliability Survey: New Transmission Technology Problems Emerge Lexus, Toyota, Audi, Mazda, and Subaru Most Reliable Brands YONKERS, NY—While problematic infotainment systems continue to be among the top issues reported by new car owners, Consumer Reports has identified an emerging trend of increased troubles with new transmission systems developed to improve fuel-economy, based on an analysis of its 2015 Annual Auto Reliability Survey. The findings, released today before the Automotive Press Association in Detroit, are collected annually from Consumer Reports’ subscribers. CR’s 2015 Annual Auto Reliability Survey takes into account data from more than 740,000 vehicles. This year, Acura becomes the latest brand to see its overall predicted-reliability ranking drop sharply (down 7 places from last year) due to problems with in-car electronics and transmissions for its newest RLX and TLX sedans. CR has already seen these trouble areas drag down overall scores for Ford, Nissan, Fiat-Chrysler and others. “We’ve seen a number of brands struggle with new transmission technology,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ Director of Automotive Testing. “Whether it’s a complex system such as a dual-clutch gearbox, a continuously variable transmission, or one with eight or nine speeds. Many vehicles require repair and replacements because of rough shifting among the gears and slipping CVT belts.” Not all new-generation transmissions are troublesome. Audi and BMW have created reliable dual-clutch transmissions, while the CVTs in Honda and Toyota hybrids have been strong performers. Among the Japanese brands, Lexus pulled off a rare feat, garnering top reliability marks for all seven vehicle lines scored in Consumer Reports survey. But it was the only strong Japanese luxury brand. Nissan’s Infiniti brand has continued its downward trajectory because of problems with its InTouch infotainment system. Although none of Honda’s vehicles rated below average, the brand has dropped a few places largely due to glitches with its infotainment system in redesigned and freshened models. Toyota, Mazda and Subaru were all in the top five. Audi, once synonymous with service problems, continued its recent upward trend leading all European brands and finishing third, just behind Lexus and Toyota. Mini, BMW, Volvo, and Volkswagen all finished in the top 15. Porsche dropped from ninth to 14th place because of a declining score for the Cayman and a below-average debut for the Macan. Korean automakers, Kia and Hyundai, are considerably stronger and continue to rise in Consumer Reports rankings. The sister brands finished sixth and ninth, respectively. For the first time, Kia beat the stalwart Japanese brand Honda, and by a significant margin. The complete reliability results for all 2016 are available at www.ConsumerReports.org, today, and in the December Issue of Consumer Reports, on newsstands November 1. For the second year, Buick was the only domestic brand in the top 10 coming in seventh place. Cadillac dropped seven places to near the bottom, still plagued by its CUE infotainment system. Other General Motors brands, Chevrolet and GMC finished in the bottom third of the overall rankings. Ford remains in the lower half of the rankings as well, but showed significant gains with most of its cars scoring average or better. The redesigned F-150 and Expedition SUV were bright spots, scoring above average in its first year. But the first-year Mustang had issues with its body hardware, drive shaft, and stability/traction control systems. Nine of the 13 Fords Consumer Reports scored had average or better reliability. Tesla’s Model S sedan got high marks in Consumer Reports’ 50-plus performance tests, but its predicted reliability is another matter. CR received about 1,400 survey responses from Model S owners who chronicled an array of detailed and complicated maladies. From that data, the Tesla Model S earns a worse-than-average predicted reliability score. The main problem areas are the drivetrain, power equipment, charging equipment, center console, and body and sunroof squeaks, rattles, and leaks. While the long-running Chrysler and Dodge minivans scraped up an average reliability score for the first time in many years, all of Fiat-Chrysler brands (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Fiat) finished at or near the bottom again.
  13. What is the big problem with new cars? According to a new survey, it happens to be the infotainment systems. A study done by automotive consultants SBD and polling firm Nielsen asked some 14,000 owners about features in their cars and asked which ones were the best and the worst. The ten that scored the lowest in the survey were all related in some form to the infotainment system. These included smart phone integration, built-in apps, customizable instrument panels, and voice recognition. “It’s sort of an arms race -- who can have the most technology in the vehicle -- and consumers are confused,” said Nielsen Vice President Mike Chadsey at a connected-car symposium yesterday. The study also showed that 43 percent of participants said automakers are adding too much infotainment tech. So why are automakers adding all of this tech? Andrew Hart, director of SBD explained that automakers add all sorts of tech to draw in customers and to help boost revenue. But this might backfire as owners might go to another brand because of how bad the infotainment system was. If you to improve the chances of owner sticking with your brand, just get the infotainment right, getting the right set of features that people actually want to use and making them easy to use,” said Hart. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  14. What is the big problem with new cars? According to a new survey, it happens to be the infotainment systems. A study done by automotive consultants SBD and polling firm Nielsen asked some 14,000 owners about features in their cars and asked which ones were the best and the worst. The ten that scored the lowest in the survey were all related in some form to the infotainment system. These included smart phone integration, built-in apps, customizable instrument panels, and voice recognition. “It’s sort of an arms race -- who can have the most technology in the vehicle -- and consumers are confused,” said Nielsen Vice President Mike Chadsey at a connected-car symposium yesterday. The study also showed that 43 percent of participants said automakers are adding too much infotainment tech. So why are automakers adding all of this tech? Andrew Hart, director of SBD explained that automakers add all sorts of tech to draw in customers and to help boost revenue. But this might backfire as owners might go to another brand because of how bad the infotainment system was. If you to improve the chances of owner sticking with your brand, just get the infotainment right, getting the right set of features that people actually want to use and making them easy to use,” said Hart. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

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