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Auto Quality Ratings and Auto Quality Rankings

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1995 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 1987 to 1994. 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 issues of Consumer Reports. The two sections providing the necessary statistics are CR's 1995 Used-Cars-To-Avoid list and its reliability charts in the April 1995 to April 2002 issues. 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 each manufacturer's reliability percentrank averages for model years 1988 to 1994. The second ranking provides a measure of how well a manufacturer's models performed over the entire model-quality spectrum.

It should be noted that the second rankings for 1985 and 1990 are based on the average of the overall reliability ratings of each auto maker's models found in the Trouble-Index row of CR's reliability charts. However, in 1995, this overall reliability rating was not offered by Consumer Reports; consequently, the reliability percentrank averages for model years 1988 to 1994 are used.

1995 Auto Manufacturer Quality by Infrequency of Trouble-Prone Models

To form a car-manufacturer quality measure from the 1995 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 1995 Used-Cars-To-Avoid list is divided by the total number of reliability columns for the manufacturer found in the reliability charts of the same issue of Consumer Reports.

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 companies 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.

1995 Auto Maker Quality by the Average of the Manufacturer's Reliability Percentrank Averages

This manufacturer quality measure is a simple average of the manufacturer's reliability percentrank averages for model years 1988 to 1994. The manufacturer reliability percentrank averages for these model years may be found at CarsOnInfo.net: 1988 to 1998 Car Reliability Percentrank Averages for Car Manufacturers. Cars on Info is a sister site to Auto on Info.

For this measure of quality, the range is from 0 (the worst possible) to +1.0 (the best possible).

The quality ranking of the car makers by this set of computations, together with their quality ratings, is given in the second bar graph below.

The Bar Graphs of Auto Manufacturer Quality in 1995

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

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

Automobile Manufacturer Quality in 1995 by Infrequency of Trouble-Prone Models Automobile Manufacturer Quality in 1995 by Average of Cars on Info's Reliability Percentrank Averages

Summary and Analysis

In 1995, the Top 3 auto manufacturers by infrequency of trouble-prone models were, in descending order (best first), AB Volvo, Daimler-Benz AG, and Suzuki Motor Corporation. All three had a perfect score by this quality measure. Because of one bad model year, Honda Motor Company dropped from first place in 1990 to 9th place in 1995, a drop that largely results from its rather small number of offerings.

The Bottom 3 auto manufacturers by frequency of trouble-prone models were, in ascending order (worst first), Hyundai Motor Company, Volkswagen AG, and Ford Motor Company. General Motors Corporation was 5th from the bottom and Chrysler Corporation was 6th from the bottom. This reflects a little improvement for GM from 1990, when it was 4th from the bottom. Chrysler's rank was unchanged.

In 1995, the Top 3 auto manufacturers by the broader percentrank averages were, in descending order, Toyota Motor Corporation, Honda Motor Company, and Daimler-Benz AG.

The Bottom 3 auto manufacturers by the broader percentrank averages, in ascending order (worst first), were Hyundai Motor Company, Volkswagen AG, and Chrysler Corporation. Ford Motor Company was 4th from the bottom and General Motors Corporation was 5th from the bottom.

The one car manufacturer common to the Top 3 of both quality rankings is Daimler-Benz AG.

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

Hyundai Motor Company
Volkswagen AG

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 1990 and 1985. Change comes slowly, if at all.

Additional Resources

To view the graphs showing the 1995 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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