The 10 Worst Automobile Brands in 1995
by James Bleeker
This page provides two rankings of the 10 worst brands of automobiles
sold 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 brands 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 brands is based on each brand's frequency of trouble-prone models. This ranking provides a measure of how unsuccessfully each brand's models avoided the bottom end of the model-quality spectrum.
The second ranking of the car brands is based on the average of each
brand's reliability percentrank averages for model years 1988 to 1994. The second ranking provides a measure of how well a brand'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 brand'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.
Auto Brand Quality by Frequency of Trouble-Prone
Models: The Bottom 10 of 1995
To form a brand-quality measure from the 1990 list of Used Cars To Avoid, 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.
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 1995 Used-Cars-To-Avoid 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 Trouble-Index row of the 1995 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 brand and is achieved only when a brand has no entry on the Used-Cars-To-Avoid list.
The 10 worst car brands by the foregoing computations, together with
their quality ratings, are given in the first bar graph below.
Auto Brand Quality by the Average of Overall Reliability Ratings:
The Bottom 10 of 1995
This brand quality measure is a simple average of the brand's reliability
percentrank averages for model years 1988 to 1994. The brand reliability
percentrank averages for these model years may be found at
CarsOnInfo.net: 1988 to 1998 Car Reliability Percentrank Averages for Car
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 10 worst car brands by this set of computations, together with their
quality ratings, are given in the second bar graph below.
The Bar Graphs of the Bottom 10
In both of the graphs that follow, the order of the car brands is with the worst on top.
Summary and Analysis
By frequency of trouble-prone models (first graph), the brands of General Motors Corporation
and the Chrysler Group account for 5 of the 10 worst brands
in 1995. GM brands on the 10-worst list are Pontiac (off-loaded in 2009),
Chevrolet, and GMC; Chrysler Group brands on the list are Jeep and Eagle (no
Also contributing to the trouble-prone list are Hyundai,
Volkswagen, Acura, and Isuzu. The presence of Acura on this worst list
reflects the influence of one bad model year on a brand with relatively few
By the broader percentrank averages (second graph), GM and the
Chrysler group account for 6 of the ten worst brands in 1995; GM's are
Chevrolet and Pontiac (off-loaded in 2009), and Chrysler's are Eagle
(off-loaded in 1998),
Dodge, Chrysler, and Plymouth (off-loaded in 2001).
Also on the 10-worst list of 1995 by unreliability are the Hyundai,
Volkswagen, Ford, and Ford's Mercury brands.
There are 6 brands common to both worst-10 lists; they are:
2 GM brands - Pontiac and Chevrolet
Note how particularly bad was the Hyundai brand in the late
1980s and early 1990s.
To view the 10 Best brand of 1995, click
To view the graphs showing the ratings and rankings of all brands, 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.