1975 Auto Brand Quality Ratings and Rankings
by James Bleeker
This page provides one ranking of the brands of automobiles sold in North America
from model year 1971 to 1974. Other web pages of this section provide two
rankings; however, the numbers required for the second ranking are not
available, that is, they do not exist.
The statistics used in the computations for rating and ranking the brands are those found within the April 1975 issue of Consumer Reports. The section providing the necessary statistics
is CR's reliability charts. Reliability is defined by the magazine as the infrequency of serious problems, which it measures annually by a subscriber survey.
The ranking of the car brands is based on the average of the overall reliability ratings of each brand's models.
It provides a measure of how well a brand's models performed over the entire model-quality spectrum.
1975 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 1975 overall reliability ratings are found in the
Overall-Record 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 bar graph below. Only those brands with at least 5 overall CR reliability ratings are included.
The Bar Graph of 1975 Brand Quality
In the graph that follows, the order of the car brands is with the best on top.
Summary and Analysis
Some interesting points exhibited by the graphs above are:
1. General Motors' Oldsmobile (off-loaded
in 2004) and Buick
brands are rather average; GM's other two listed brands, Chevrolet and
Pontiac (off-loaded in 2009), are below average.
2. Ford Motor Company's Lincoln and Mercury
brands are above average; Ford's Ford brand is average.
3. Mercedes-Benz, which placed first,
displayed its engineering excellence again in model years 1971 to 1974.
Nissan's Datsun placed second.
4. By 1975, Toyota Motor Corporation's
Toyota brand had already achieved Top 3 status.
To view the graphs showing the 1975 ratings and rankings of the
manufacturers of automobiles, click
For a Google Knol that summarizes the changes in auto-brand and auto-manufacturer ranking by these quality measures from 1990 to 2010, click
AutoOnInfo.net: The auto-quality website with the
Open Directory Cool Site Award.