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Auto Quality Ratings and Auto Quality Rankings

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2000 Automobile Manufacturer Quality Ratings and Rankings
by James Bleeker

Content Summary

This page provides two rankings of the manufacturers of automobiles with more significant sales in North America from model year 1992 to 1999. Each ranking employs a different method of computation.

The statistics used in the computations for rating and ranking the car makers are those found within the April 2000 issue of Consumer Reports. The two sections providing the necessary statistics are CR's Used-Cars-To-Avoid list and its reliability charts. Reliability is defined by the magazine as the infrequency of serious problems, which it measures annually by a subscriber survey.

The first ranking of the car makers is based on each manufacturer's infrequency of trouble-prone models. This ranking provides a measure of how well each manufacturer's models successfully avoided the bottom end of the model-quality spectrum.

The second ranking of the car makers is based on the average of the overall reliability ratings of each manufacturer's models. The second ranking provides a measure of how well a manufacturer's models performed over the entire model-quality spectrum.

2000 Auto Manufacturer Quality by Infrequency of Trouble-Prone Models

To form a car-manufacturer quality measure from the 2000 list of Some Used Cars To Avoid, the first step is to count each manufacturer's entries on the list. Each model year of each model is treated as a separate entry.

Next, as the number of automobile models sold by a car manufacturer varies greatly from maker to maker, it is necessary to take account of the fact that a manufacturer with more models has a greater opportunity to have more model years of low quality. To compensate for a possibly inflated, or deflated, frequency of trouble-prone model years of a manufacturer, as well as a variability in model data sufficiency, the number of a manufacturer's entries in CR's 2000 Used-Cars-To-Avoid list is divided by the total number of overall reliability ratings for the manufacturer found in the reliability charts of the same issue of Consumer Reports. The overall reliability ratings are found in the Reliability-Verdict row of the 2000 reliability charts.

By the method of computation, this quality measure begins with 0 and may run to a value some greater than 1. The value of 0 is the highest quality rating attainable by a car manufacturer and is achieved only when a manufacturer has no entry on the Used-Cars-To-Avoid list.

The quality ranking of the automobile manufacturers by the foregoing computations, together with their quality ratings, are given in the first bar graph below. Only those manufacturers with at least 5 overall CR reliability ratings are included.

2000 Auto Manufacturer Quality by the Average of Overall Reliability Ratings

To compute car-maker quality ratings and assemble a manufacturer-quality ranking using Consumer Reports' overall reliability ratings, a number is associated with each rating. A +1.0 is ascribed to a rating of Better Than Average, a 0 to a rating of Average, and a -1.0 to a rating of Worse Than Average. Then an average is taken over all of the brand's model years and models offering an overall reliability rating. CR's 2000 overall reliability ratings are found in the Reliability-Verdict row of its reliability charts and are limited to three grades - Better Than Average, Average, and Worse Than Average.

For this measure of quality, the range is from -1.0 (the worst possible) to +1.0 (the best possible).

The quality ranking of the car manufacturers by this set of computations, together with their quality ratings, are given in the second bar graph below. Only those manufacturers with at least 5 overall CR reliability ratings are included.

The Bar Graphs of Auto Manufacturer Quality in 2000

In both of the graphs that follow, the order of the car manufacturers is from best to worst.

Automobile Manufacturer Quality in 2000 by Infrequency of Trouble-Prone Models Automobile Manufacturer Quality in 2000 by Average of CR's Overall Reliability Ratings

Summary and Analysis

In 2000, the Top 3 auto manufacturers by infrequency of trouble-prone models were, in descending order (best first), Toyota Motor Corporation, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., and BMW AG. All three had a perfect score by this quality measure.

The Bottom 3 auto manufacturers by frequency of trouble-prone models were, in ascending order (worst first), the Chrysler Group, General Motors Corporation, and Isuzu Motors Ltd.

In 2000, the Top 3 auto manufacturers by overall reliability were, in descending order, Toyota Motor Corporation, Honda Motor Company, and Nissan Motor Company.

The Bottom 3 auto manufacturers by overall reliability, in ascending order (worst first), were the Chrysler Group, General Motors Corporation, and Saab.

Only one car manufacturer is common to the Top 3 of both quality rankings:

Toyota

Two car manufacturers are common to the Bottom 3 of both quality rankings:

The Chrysler Group
General Motors

One interesting point from the above graphs is that the Big Three - General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford - constituted half of the Bottom 6 by both quality measures, as they did in 1995, 1990, and 1985. Change comes very slowly, if at all.

The following table provides the change in automobile-manufacturer-quality rank over the 5-year period 1995 to 2000, where rankings are determined by infrequency of trouble-prone models.

Change in Quality Rank of Automobile Manufacturers from 1995 to 2000 by Infrequency of Trouble-Prone Models
Auto Manufacturer Change in Rank
Toyota Motor Corporation 2
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (Subaru) 1
BMW AG 3
Nissan Motor Company 2
Honda Motor Company 2
Mazda Motor Corporation 2
Daimler AG (Mercedes-Benz) -5
Volkswagen AG 5
Volvo -8
Ford Motor Company 2
Saab -2
General Motors Corporation -1
Chrysler Group LLC -3

The following table provides the change in automobile-manufacturer-quality rank over the 5-year period 1995 to 2000, where rankings are determined by overall reliability.

Change in Quality Rank of Automobile Manufacturers from 1995 to 2000 by Overall Reliability
Auto Manufacturer Change in Rank from 1995
Toyota Motor Corporation 0
Honda Motor Company 0
Nissan Motor Company 1
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (Subaru) 1
BMW AG 2
Mazda Motor Corporation 2
Daimler AG (Mercedes-Benz) -4
Volvo -2
Volkswagen AG 4
Ford Motor Company 1
Saab -2
General Motors Corporation -2
Chrysler Group LLC -1

It should be noted that for the 1995 overall reliability measure, reliability percentranks (see CarsOnInfo.net: 1988 to 1998 Car Reliability Percentrank Averages for Car Manufacturers) were used, as Consumer Reports did not offer overall reliability ratings in its April 1995 issue. The generally small changes indicate that the percentranks were a very good substitute. The larger changes for Daimler, Volvo, and Volkswagen likely reflect, in part, the smaller number of their model offerings, which may accentuate the impact of problems, and smaller data pool, which occasions greater statistical fluctuation.

In the computation of the change in Auto Manufacturer Rank, manufacturers not common to the 1985, 1990, 1995, and 2000 rankings were excluded and the remaining manufacturers were re-ranked accordingly.

Additional Resources

To view the graphs showing the 2000 ratings and rankings of the brands of automobiles, click Go.

For a Google Knol that summarizes the changes in auto-brand and auto-manufacturer ranking by these quality measures from 1990 to 2010, click Go.

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