Uh oh, Ford…
The new Explorer, Fiesta, and Focus all had below-average reliability in their first year. As a result, Ford’s overall reliability rank among 28 major car makes slipped from the 10th to the 20th spot this year—the biggest drop for any major nameplate in Consumer Reports 2011 Annual Auto Survey.
This news was circulated yesterday in an e-mailed press release and posted on the CR website later in the day. While many blogs and news sources are repeating the message that Ford’s reliability has gone down the drain, the truth is, it hasn’t. Most of the problems reported are technology-related and involve the MyTouch infotainment system, a distraction I don’t believe should even be in cars.
Ford has already sent more than 100,000 newly redesigned Ford Explorers to new homes this year, proof that consumers are enamored with the vehicle regardless of what reviewers say. Compared with the same period last year, January through early-October, that’s a hefty 290 percent increase. Think Ford is lamenting the CR study? Probably not so much.
Chrysler (including Jeep and Dodge), should feel okay about the report, but mostly because it didn’t come in last. It’s 13th-place finish is respectable and, believe it or not, good enough take home the title of “most reliable domestic automaker.”
As far as GM goes, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC all fell in the rankings compared with last year.
Asian brands were honored with the top 9 spots in the reliability study, with Scion taking the top spot and Lexus, Acura, Mazda, Honda and Toyota finishing in the top 10.
I think it’s a pretty common belief among car enthusiasts that CR studies don’t influence buying decisions. For the average car buyer, though, the magazine can act as a veritable list of what, and what not, to test drive.
Would you let a Consumer Reports study influence the brand of car you buy?