The Reliability Landscape
New Cars
Used Cars
Our Response to Offended Dealers


The reliability of all automobiles has been improving steadily over the last few decades, but not everybody has been advancing at the same pace. Sometimes they even go backwards. Twenty years ago the most respected and reliable cars sold in the US came from Mercedes-Benz. Nissan, Buick and Mazda were ranked around the middle and Chevrolet, America's largest car marketer, scored fifth from the bottom, down there in the basement with the French, Italians and South Koreans.

Ten years ago the Koreans were still in the basement, the French and Italians had disappared altogether and the recently introduced Lexus and Infiniti were setting spectacular new quality standards. Mercedes had dropped to fifth place. The American management wizard W. Edwards Deming's gospel of relentless, never-ending improvement was really beginning to pay off for the Japanese now, and cars from that nation were soon dominating the top rankings in reliability surveys. Luxury cars, economy cars - it really didn't matter which price category - they had become the best in the world. Well, most of them anyway.

Today the reliability ranking for Mercedes-Benz cars is well below the industry average, and Chevrolet, showing impressive improvement, is scoring above average. Some Korean companies are making excellent cars as well.*

Do you see this remarkable reversal of fortune being trumpeted by the media today? Not really. Old-think dies hard. Ask most anybody today which company builds more reliable cars, Chevrolet or Mercedes, and they might want to know if it's some kind of trick question. So if you need to find out what's really going on today you'd better not go to your usual sources. In our opinion the best place to go to get the truth about any car, whenever you want it, is right here.

Today car companies have to work like the very devil just to maintain their positions, let alone advance them. To paraphrase the Red Queen, it takes all the running they can do just to stay in the same place. The fact is that, overall, cars are getting better, and some are getting better quicker than others. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of turkeys out there too. We're here to guide you through that minefield.

*Source: The 2006 JD Power Initial Quality Study ranked all new cars after three+ months of use. Results were drawn from surveys of over 48,000 owners.

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