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2010 Auto Brand Quality Ratings and Rankings
by James Bleeker

Content Summary

This page provides two rankings of the brands of automobiles sold in North America from model year 2004 to 2009. Each ranking employs a different method of computation.

The statistics used in the computations for rating and ranking the brands are those found within the April 2010 issue of Consumer Reports. The two sections providing the necessary statistics are CR's Worst-Cars 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 brands is based on each brand's infrequency of trouble-prone models. This ranking provides a measure of how well each brand's models successfully avoided the bottom end of the model-quality spectrum.

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

2010 Auto Brand Quality by Infrequency of Trouble-Prone Models

To form a brand-quality measure from the 2010 list of Worst Cars, the first step is to count each brand's entries on the list. Each model year of each model is treated as a separate entry. For the 2010 computations, only entries from the 6 most-recent model years are counted, for the reason explained in the following paragraph.

Next, as the number of automobile models sold under a brand name varies greatly from brand to brand, it is necessary to take account of the fact that a brand 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 within a brand, as well as a variability in model data sufficiency, the number of a brand's entries in CR's 2010 Worst-Cars list is divided by the total number of overall reliability ratings for the brand found in the reliability charts of the same issue of Consumer Reports. The overall reliability ratings are found in the Used-Car-Verdicts row of the 2010 reliability charts. As the 2010 reliability charts are limited to the 6 most-recent model years, the count of a brand's entries on the Worst-Cars list is limited to the 6 most-recent model years as well.

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 brand and is achieved only when a brand has no entry on the Worst-Cars list.

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

2010 Auto Brand Quality by the Average of Overall Reliability Ratings

To compute brand-quality ratings and assemble a brand-quality ranking using Consumer Reports' overall reliability ratings, a number is associated with each rating. A +1.0 is ascribed to a rating of Much Better Than Average, a +0.5 to a rating of Better Than Average, a 0 to a rating of Average, a -0.5 to a rating of Worse Than Average, and a -1.0 to a rating of Much 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 2010 overall reliability ratings are found in the Used-Car-Verdicts row of its reliability charts.

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

The Bar Graphs of 2010 Brand Quality

In both of the graphs that follow, the order of the car brands is with the best on top.

When two or more brands have no entry in CR's list of Worst Cars, the brands are listed in descending order of number of overall reliability ratings (a brand with a greater number of overall reliability ratings appears above a brand with fewer ratings), as those brands with a greater number of ratings would have a greater opportunity for a trouble-prone model year to be found.

Automobile Brand Quality in 2010 by Infrequency of Trouble-Prone Models Automobile Brand Quality in 2010 by Average of CR's Overall Reliability Ratings

Summary and Analysis

Some important points given by the above graphs are:

1. In 2010, two of Ford Motor Company's three North American brands were in the top half by infrequency of trouble-prone models and all three were in the top half by overall reliability.

2. In 2010, all three of the Chrysler Group's remaining brands - Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep - were in the bottom half by both quality measures.

3. In 2010, all of General Motors' North American brands were in the bottom half by overall reliability; all but the Buick brand were in the bottom half by infrequency of trouble-prone models.

4. In 2010, all three of Toyota Motor Corporation's brands, Scion, Toyota, and Lexus, both of Honda Motor Company's brands, Acura and Honda, and Nissan Motor Company's Infiniti constituted the Top 6 by both measures of quality.

5. The Hyundai brand, which placed worst of all brands by both quality measures in 1995, outranked all North American and European brands in 2010 by both quality measures. Subaru and Mazda similarly outranked all North American and European brands in 2010.

Additional Resources

To view the graphs showing the 2010 ratings and rankings of the car manufacturers, 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.

AutoOnInfo.net: The auto-quality website with the Open Directory Cool Site Award.

 

Additional Resources

Detailed information on auto reliability and car, truck, brand, and manufacturer quality, as well as changes in U.S. car and light vehicle market shares, are given in the car guides below. These are available as Kindle ebooks and may be purchased for a small fee on Amazon.com. Links to the Amazon pages offering the books are provided.

Icon for AutoOnInfo.net’s Car Quality Series, Volume 3: Car Guide and Shopping Companion: The 2012 Reliability GPAs and Grades of the 6-to-10-Year-Old Cars and Trucks from Model Years 2002 to 2005

AutoOnInfo.net’s Car Quality Series, Volume 3: Car Guide and Shopping Companion: The 2012 Reliability GPAs and Grades of the 6-to-10-Year-Old Cars and Trucks from Model Years 2002 to 2005

Volume 3 of AutoOnInfo.net’s Car Quality Series offers quality ratings on car and truck models, brands, and manufacturers using Auto Reliability Grade Point Averages (GPAs) and Grades. With these measures of performance, this e-guide brings to the aid of auto consumers a convenient, anywhere, anytime source of automobile information on enduring reliability. As a further aid, this book provides graphs depicting both automobile brand and manufacturer spectral signatures and density functions.

Ratings and rankings of vehicle models, brands, and manufacturers are for North American model years 2002 to 2005 when the cars and trucks were between the ages of 6 and 10 years old. Used car buyers may use the Reliability GPAs and Grades as a valuable shopping tool for earlier and later model years as well. New car buyers looking for models and lines that have withstood the test of time may use the GPAs and grades as a guide for what runs well over a multi-year time span. Motor vehicles graded and ranked include small cars, family cars, upscale cars, luxury cars, sport cars, small SUVs, midsize SUVs, large SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks. For each of these body styles, the best and the worst are listed in separate chapters.

Icon for AutoOnInfo.net’s Car Quality Series Volume 2: Brand Quality for Model Years 1985 to 2006 and Effect on Brand Market Shares from 1985 to 2009

AutoOnInfo.net's Car Quality Series, Volume 2: Brand Quality for Model Years 1985 to 2006 and Effect on Brand Market Shares from 1985 to 2009

This volume of AutoOnInfo.net’s car guide series offers consumers and researchers an historical summary of the reliability and durability of car and truck brands and examines how these brands have fared in their U.S. market shares. It uses 6-year-old model entries in Consumer Reports’ Used Car to Avoid – also termed Vehicles to Avoid and Worst Cars, Year by Year – and CR’s reliability charts to ascribe quality grades to automobile brands for model-year groups 1985 to 1989, 1990 to 1994, 1995 to 1999, 2000 to 2004, 2005 to 2006, and 1985 to 2006. In addition to ascribing quality grades to each brand, it provides a chart that plots the number of the brand’s 6-year-old model entries in CR’s vehicles to avoid. To examine the effect that a brand’s reliability and durability has had on sales, two or more charts depicting the brand’s U.S. market shares for calendar years 1985 to 2009 are given. These grades and charts and the author’s comments impart an historical perspective that sheds light on the present condition of surviving vehicle lines and their future prospects, individual and institutional shortcomings, and what effect these may have on the U.S.

Icon for AutoOnInfo.net’s Car Guide and Shopping Companion: The 2009 Reliability GPAs and Grades of the 6-to-10-Year-Old Cars and Trucks from Model Years 1999 to 2002

AutoOnInfo.net’s Car Guide and Shopping Companion: The 2009 Reliability GPAs and Grades of the 6-to-10-Year-Old Cars and Trucks from Model Years 1999 to 2002

AutoOnInfo.net’s Car Guide offers quality ratings on car models, brands, and manufacturers using Auto Reliability Grade Point Averages (GPAs) and Grades. With this guide, GPAs and grades, familiar by common-place use in educational settings, are brought to the aid of car consumers seeking a convenient, any-where, any-time source of automobile information on enduring reliability. Car models rated are from North American model years 1999 to 2002 when the cars were between the ages of 6 and 10 years old. Used car buyers may use the Reliability GPAs and grades as a valuable shopping tool for earlier and later model years as well. New car buyers looking for models and lines that have withstood the test of time may use the GPAs and grades as a guide for what runs well over a multi-year time span. Motor vehicles graded and ranked include convertibles, coupes, sedans, wagons, hatchbacks, minivans, SUVs, and pickup trucks.

Also visit www.CarsOnInfo.net and www.CarQualityInfo.net for more car and truck quality tables, charts, graphs, and information.