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Old 04-12-2014, 11:03 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by misanman View Post

I came to suspect that the results of car owners surveys may not be all their cracked up to be.
I answer those survey questions as accurately as possible, especially if I've had a lot of problems. That's the best way I know to give the manufacturer the negative publicity they have earned.

Numbers is hard.

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension

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Old 04-12-2014, 11:21 AM   #22
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I have always reviewed CR guidance on autos before buying and found it useful, but I keep in mind that their reliability analyses are statistical and have limited applicability to individual situations.

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Old 04-12-2014, 04:26 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by travelover View Post
I used to do a lot of customer satisfaction analysis in my old j*b at MegaMotors. One thing that amazed me was how a vehicle built on the same assembly line from 99.9% of the same parts could have such different satisfaction among owners of the three brands that it was sold under. The "Japanese" brand was the most favored. So, needless to say there is an error band around these ratings, but CU doesn't tell you what they are.
Skimming the CR 2014 car rating seems to suggest the 'error band' is prob a notch or 2. Many of CR's subsystem ratings vary by this much for 'identical twins' of same model year (like Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix, prev gen Ford Fusion/Mazda 6, or Big3 'twins' like Ford Crown Vic/ Merc Gr Marquis, etc.).

Historically it may have been worse than that. Not to bash 1 automaker but 10+yrs ago Toyota had a big problem with oil sludge in some of their most popular car engines (used in >3 million '97-'02 Toyota & Lexus vehicles). Thousands of complaints of engine failure. Even led to a big class-action settlement which Toyota settled by paying repairs & extending warranties.
Toyota settles class-action suit on oil sludge buildup - Los Angeles Times
Toyota/Lexus Class Action Settlement-Customer Support Program
During all that time, CR was consistently giving very positive reliability ratings for cars using these engines.
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Old 04-12-2014, 08:27 PM   #24
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I used to subscribe back in the early 90's but stopped when CR went on some political rants. At that time I realized they had a bias which extended to their subscriber base. The surveys are of their subs, so they have a bias.

I still occasionally check an issue at the library for broad overviews of items. It isn't worth nitpicking over a "solid red" and "half red". Maybe solid red to solid black.

As others mentioned here, the bias is seen in those twin cars -- especially the NUMMI cars coming off the same assembly line. DW has a Pontiac Vibe which is full of Toyota parts and is even included in the latest Toyota recall. Ha ha.

Someone also mentioned "True Delta". This guy (Michael Karesh) is trying to build a base of car data. He could use more data to make it better! My car is registered. It is a simple survey question once per quarter. I'm still not too sure of his data since it can have small sample sizes, but I'm hoping he continues to build it up.
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Old 04-13-2014, 06:49 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
+1. I don't recall if it was CU or not, but I remember seeing drastically different reliability ratings for the Dodge Caravan and the Dodge Grand Caravan. The Grand just had an extended body (~ 1'?), and everything else was the same.
I had a regular Caravan at the time and ISTR that the Grand had a new transmission that was troublesome. They eventually got it fixed but the ratings never caught up. We upgraded to the Chrysler Town and Country in spite of the ratings and never had any problems.
For the fun of it...Keith
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Old 04-13-2014, 09:21 AM   #26
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There are private web-based car 'clubs' or forums for many cars &/or brands. Owners swap impressions, problems, solutions, etc. Obviously these sites tend to attract more satisfied owners, but every model has its (possible) warts
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Old 04-13-2014, 05:07 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by clifp View Post
Now days the difference between a average reliability and top marks for reliability wouldn't factor much into my buying decision. Perhaps 30 or 40 years ago when cars were less reliable and I needed to get work everyday I'd place a much higher premium.
I agree. I don't put much faith in CR's reliability ratings either. I've had vehicles that had very high CR reliability ratings that were junk, and vehicles that got low CR reliability ratings that I've had few problems with. Several friends have had the same experience. I think the difference in reliability between different makes of vehicles was probably much greater years ago than it is today.
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Old 04-13-2014, 10:00 PM   #28
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TrueDelta has been mentioned a couple of times. I've been supplying my car's reliability data to TrueDelta for about 6 years. It's a valuable resource for (hopefully) unbiased reliability data. If you want a good alternative to CR, sign up and start answering their very short surveys to help build up the database.

It would be interesting to see what TrueDelta has to say about reliability of some of the twin brands.

Now the fun begins
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