Japanese cars have dominated for decades, however, in recent years Ford (NYSE:F) has been competing well and been a model of American reliability. But, the Ford (NYSE:F) Explorer, Fiesta, and Focus all had below-average reliability in their first year. Thus, Ford had the biggest drop for any major nameplate in Consumer Reports’ 2011 Annual Auto Survey. Their overall reliability slipped from 10th to 20th.
Ford’s (NYSE:F) drop can likely be attributed to problems with new technologies. Chrysler’s quality has risen, but even with Chrysler’s improvement Detroit models still have reliability problems. General Motors (NYSE:GM) has declined after edging up last year. The Buick and Cadillac models, in particular, appear to have taken a step backward.
Japanese (NYSE:EWJ) brands continue to dominate Consumer Reports survey’s upper echelons and took the top nine spots. They were led by Scion, Lexus, Acura, Mazda, Honda (NYSE:HMC), an Toyota (NYSE:TM). The biggest improvement was from Mazda, which moved up eight spots from last year. Volvo ranked the highest among European brands, at 10th overall. Consumer Reports Annual Auto Survey Ratings are unrelated to vehicle road-test results; however, they are a key factor in determining whether or not Consumer Reports recommends a car.
Recommendations are made for models that have performed well in tests conducted at CR’s 327-acre Auto Test Center. Cars must also have average or better predicted reliability based on its annual survey.
“Full reliability history charts and predicted-reliability ratings on hundreds of 2012 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 in our Reliability special section, in the December issue of the magazine, and in the upcoming Consumer Reports Cars publication, Best & Worst New Cars for 2012, on sale November 15, 2011,” according to ConsumerReports.org.