Why aren't Lincolns, Cadillacs, and German cars more reliable?
In the latest Consumer Reports Reliability Study something is starting to become clear. It isn’t really all Japanese brands that are high in quality. Rather, it is Lexus/Toyota followed closely by Acura/Honda. Within each of the automakers there are some hidden gems, but when it comes to overall brand quality, it is Toyota and its Lexus division that dominate year in and year out. Honda and Its Acura brand are also consistently solid.
Having written this story many times now over the years it is easy to try to do what the other publications do, which is pretty much ignore that Toyota and Lexus are always at the top, and then look for a story to write about how great some of the other brands that move around inside the losers bracket are doing. We could do that, but there will be terabytes of content that will take that approach. Let’s instead bash the losers (it is much more fun).
The German brands are among the most expensive in the US marketplace regardless of what market niche one selects, and they are not even close in quality to the Lexus and Acura brand. Many writers are touting how great Volvo is doing. Let’s keep it real, they are seventh. That means there are 6 brands that a buyer could consider that would be more reliable than this Chinese car pretending to be Swedish. Volvo’s reliability is also volatile, meaning it jumps around the quality index year in and year out. So some might be good, but it’s like saying there is one good tasting beer in every six pack. Is that the brand you want? And MINI (must remember to use all caps) is LAST. Aren’t MINIs supposed to be good because they are insanely expensive by the pound, like a fine filet? Guess not.
And what is wrong with the “American” brands? Ford, Lincoln, Chevy, Buick, cannot even break into the top 10! Where the heck is Cadillac? A fancy car in the shop is not a luxury car. It is a hassle. Lincoln is presently pounding the airwaves (and cable-waves or whatever) with a commercial that shows a young couple trying to decide between a Lexus and a Lincoln. Lincoln touts the size of its moon-roof as a reason to buy it. The commercial shows a sign above the Lexus that says “I’m shiny.” The sign breaks and falls apart. Much like the actual Lincoln will apparently do given the fact that it is not even in the top 10 in terms of quality. We have to say that same commercial shows a young woman say “I want adaptive front suspension.” At the risk of being sexist, can we safely assume that the chances of a young woman coming up with that exact combination of pronoun, verb, adjectives, and noun approaches zero?
Let’s also thank Consumer Reports for pointing out in its used car rankings that the 2003 Honda Accord V6 had a transmission problem that was catastrophic. The author knows. His was one of those that failed at less than 60,000 miles, and no, it was not covered under warranty. Reminders of bad problems that went unresolved by the automakers is a service that Consumer Reports provides to the buying community.
For more details on the Consumer Reports Reliability Study please see it directly. Make your own observations, jokes, and snarky comments and feel free to share them below.