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09.12.2013
Consumer Reports Magazine examines the state of customer service today and solicits input from Scott Broetzmann on the question: Are consumers too whiny? This PDF, together with a range of published articles, are available to download on our News page. Customer Care Measurement & Consulting helps Fortune 500 companies from every industry get a better ROI for their investments in the customer experience. Yonkers, NY – With a current crop of luxury models that are quiet, comfortable, fuel efficient, and among the most reliable, Lexus has earned the best overall score in Consumer Reports’ 2013 annual Car Brand Report Cards. Lexus’ models are rarely sporty, but the brand’s overall score of 79 was earned on a foundation of plush and very reliable vehicles. For 2013, Consumer Reports took a different approach than in previous years for its annual brand report cards story.
For example, Toyota, Lexus, and Scion models were each scored separately this year instead of being incorporated into one overall score for Toyota. For 2013, Honda delivered a solid, speedy refresh of the Civic that put it back on Consumer Reports Recommended list after the unimpressive 2012 redesign had fallen off.
Nissan brought up the rear among Japanese brands, weighed down by its low scoring and unreliable large trucks and SUVs, but still managed to land midpack among all automakers.
European brands ended up scattered across the middle of the spectrum, distinguished from each other more by reliability than test score.
Mercedes-Benz wasn’t far behind Audi and was tied with Acura for having the highest average road-test score. General Motors is revamping its lineup and building several promising models, but some of its brands still anchor the bottom of Consumer Reports Brand Report Cards.
Ford vehicles’ road-test scores have also been handicapped by some models’ unrefined dual-clutch automated manual transmissions and a new lineup of EcoBoost turbocharged engines that don’t deliver the performance and fuel economy of some competitors’ larger engines. Consumer Reports calculates each brand’s overall score using an equally weighted composite of the road-test and reliability scores for each of its tested models. That’s why CR’s 2013 rankings do not include Fiat, Jaguar, Land Rover,  Mitsubishi,  Porsche,  Ram,  or  Smart: Each had too few models for which CR had adequate reliability data. Aviation consumer protection division, Handles and reports air travel problems and complaints, offers aviation travel tips and publications, lists recent airline service cessations, and has links to each. Consumer updates - food drug administration, Health and safety brochures in english and spanish..
Consumer expenditure survey, The consumer expenditure survey (ce) program consists of two surveys, the quarterly interview survey and the diary survey, that provide information on the buying. Carfax™ - vehicle history reports and used car listings, What does the carfax vehicle history report ™ show you?
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Even with a recent rash of recalls, Toyota (along with Scion and Lexus) is still near near the top of CR's reliability chart.
General Motors has improved considerably, though Honda and Toyota still dominate in the latest predicted-reliability Ratings of new cars, according to Consumer Reports 2010 Annual Auto Survey.
While some GM nameplates had been among the least reliable brands in past years, they now rank above some major European competitors such as Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. As a company, GM is still a ways from the top when it comes to reliability-the major Asian automakers, including Honda and Toyota, are still out in front. In the new survey, based on 1.3 million vehicles, 90 percent of Fords, including Lincoln models, have at least average reliability. Despite recent safety recalls, Toyota models, including those from Scion and Lexus, remained among the most reliable and earned top scores in five vehicle categories: small cars (Yaris), midsized SUVs (FJ Cruiser), luxury SUVs (Lexus LX), minivans (Sienna V6, FWD), and full-size pickups (Tundra V6). Honda and Acura are among the top four brands along with Porsche and Scion, with their models topping five vehicle categories-upscale cars (Acura TL, FWD), luxury cars (Acura RL), small SUVs (CR-V), upscale compact SUVs (Acura RDX) and compact pickups (Ridgeline).
Hyundai and Kia continued to do well, with only one model, the Kia Sedona minivan, rated below average. Subaru had a good record overall, with a top rating going to the four-cylinder Legacy sedan and the non-turbo version of the Forester SUV. Six of Mercedes-Benz's 13 models were below average, and the GLK SUV was far below average. Predicted reliability is Consumer Reports' forecast of how well models currently on sale are likely to hold up. On rare occasions Consumer Reports make predictions for a newly redesigned model, but only if previous versions had outstanding reliability.


Consumer Reports Annual Auto Survey Reliability Ratings are unrelated to Consumer Reports vehicle road-test results, but are a key factor in determining whether or not Consumer Reports recommends a car. Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Choose up to 3 vehicles to compare side-by-side on price, features, performance, cost of ownership and more.
Guide to the latest ADAS offerings, including Blind Spot Monitoring, Turn Assist, Backup Collision Warning and more.
CR graded each automaker’s individual brands rather than calculating a single score for all the brands under one carmaker.
The same was true for Honda, Ford, Nissan, General Motors, Chrysler and other large manufacturers that market several brands. Consumer Reports notes that both brands build solid cars with good handling, fuel economy, and versatility at relatively affordable prices.
Testers found the BRZ great fun to drive, and its ratings improved the brand’s overall score. The redesigned four-cylinder Altima delivered impressive fuel economy, though it wasn’t as engaging to drive as the previous model. Volkswagen lost ground with some redesigned sedans that didn’t score as well as their peers. Cadillac scored three places ahead of Chevrolet and GMC, based largely on the strength of the CTS.  Cadillac’s small and midsized models perform well and their reliability is average. The MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch control interfaces are very difficult to use, and electronic problems in those systems have affected Ford’s reliability scores.
Reliability scores are based on information that CR’s subscribers provided during the organization’s Annual Auto Survey. Updated daily, ConsumerReports.org is the go-to Website for the latest auto reviews, product news, blogs on breaking news and car buying information. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually.
Honda and Acura are also listed as producing highly reliable vehicles, with only the four-cylinder Accord and TSX receiving average ratings.
Eighty-three percent of Chevrolets, General Motor's major brand, now have average or better scores in predicted reliability, up from 50 percent last year. All six new models for 2010 (Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Sonata, and Tucson; Kia Forte, Sorento, and Soul) had average or better reliability-an impressive first-year showing.
The Altima and Maxima sedans; the Murano and Pathfinder SUVs all rated average or better in predicted reliability. While the BMW M3 topped the sporty cars category, the 1-, 3-, and 5-Series models with the 3.0-liter turbocharged (N54) engine had high problem rates related to the fuel system, among other gripes.
The survey was conducted in the spring of 2010 by Consumer Reports' National Survey Research Center and covered model years 2001 to 2010. To calculate predicted-reliability ratings, CR averages the overall reliability scores (used car verdicts) for the most recent three model years, provided that the model remained unchanged in that period and also didn't substantially change for 2011. CR only recommends models that have performed well in tests conducted at its 327-acre Auto Test Center in Connecticut, and that have average or better predicted reliability based on its annual survey. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.
The company also moved forward with the sporty new CX-5 SUV and its line of fuel-efficient Skyactiv engines. Honda and Toyota’s scores have been buoyed by the significant strides the automakers made with their respective redesigns of the Accord and Camry. The company’s luxury Infiniti brand placed four slots higher, thanks to its excellent G and M sports sedans, although the G is due to be replaced this summer.
Several of its niche models, such as the Touareg SUV and the New Beetle, have well-below-average reliability. Recent Volvos, such as the S60 and XC60, are competitive and reliable, but the brand is saddled with older models. Although the new Dart is an improvement over the car it replaced, it still lags behind the best compact sedans.
For a brand to be included, Consumer Reports must have test results and reliability data for at least three models. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, Website and other publications.


Nissan had a strong showing despite the fact that its Cube, in the first year it has appeared in this report, received a below average score.
Porsche and Volvo are near the top of the industry while Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi are among the worst.
First, GM's recent introductions, such as the Chevrolet Camaro and Equinox, Buick LaCrosse V6 (FWD), and Cadillac SRX, are proving reliable from the time they were launched. Its quality renaissance has been led by the Fusion, a design that has been very reliable since its debut five years ago.
The redesigned 2010 Toyota Prius, hurt by antilock brake problems on early vehicles, scored only average. The Titan had shown improvement in the last year or two, but both 2WD and 4WD versions have once again dropped to below average reliability. But Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz are among the worst automakers overall in terms of reliability. The new E-Class coupe, a wholly different car from the E-Class sedan, languished in the bottom ranks. Volkswagen did better, with its Golf, formerly the Rabbit, doing very well and the various Jetta models scoring average or better.
Consumer Reports' expert team of statisticians and automotive engineers used the survey data to predict reliability of new 2011 models. If a model was new or redesigned in the past couple of years, one or two years' data may be used, or if that's all that's available. In addition, vehicles must perform at least adequately in government or insurance industry crash and rollover tests, if tested, and have electronic stability control (ESC) readily available in a mainstream high-volume trim line in order to be Recommended by Consumer Reports. Audi separated itself from the pack as the only European brand to achieve very good reliability overall along with an excellent average road-test score. Jeep doesn’t fare much better; the only model that is CR Recommended is the V6 Grand Cherokee. Overall, Consumer Reports Recommends fewer than half of the domestic models the organization has tested, and most of them come from Chevrolet and GMC.
Asia is once again at the head of the class while America has reportedly made great strides and Germany is a mixed bag. In total, nearly 70 percent of the entire General Motors family is rated at average or better. BMW was certainly not helped by its N54 engine, Mercedes has six of 13 models receiving below average ratings and Audi got the same ratings for 75 percent of its lineup. In addition, GM shed many models with subpar reliability when it shut down the Hummer, Pontiac, and Saturn brands.
Ford vehicles are tops for reliability in two categories: family cars (Fusion Hybrid) and large SUVs (Ford Flex EcoBoost).
The small Nissan Cube had a below average score in its first appearance in Consumer Reports survey.
The rest of the lineup however, was rated average or better, including the entire Infiniti model line. Ford is the top domestic manufacturer on the list though, with 90 percent of its lineup being given ratings of at least average. On the flip side, the Porsche Boxster has the highest rated reliability in the entirety of the report. Even some older models, such as the Chevrolet Avalanche, Corvette, and Suburban have improved to average. Across GM brands (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC), 69 percent of models had average or better reliability. With Fiat's acquisition of Chrysler, many of its products will either be replaced or redesigned in the near future. Subaru, Hyundai and Kia all had good scores as well, with only Subie's WRX falling below average. It's not all good news in the states unfortunately as none of the Chrysler products were able to receive a rating higher than average.
Chevrolet had its best showing in years; 83 percent of models had average or better scores in predicted reliability, up from 50 percent.



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