The 10 Best Automobile Brands in 2010
by James Bleeker
This page provides two rankings of the 10 best 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 successfully 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 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.
Auto Brand Quality by Frequency of Trouble-Prone
Models: The Top 10 of 2010
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
The 10 best car brands by the foregoing computations, together with their quality ratings, are given in the
first bar graph below. Only those brands with at least 5 overall CR reliability ratings are included.
Auto Brand Quality by the Average of Overall Reliability Ratings:
The Top 10 of 2010
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 10 best car brands by this set of computations, together with their quality ratings, are given in the
second bar graph below. Only those brands with at least 5 overall CR reliability ratings are included.
The Bar Graphs of the Top 10 of
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
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.
Summary and Analysis
By infrequency of trouble-prone models (first graph), the
ten best brands in 2010 were, in descending order (best first), Honda Motor
Company's Honda, Honda's Acura, Nissan Motor Company's Infiniti, Toyota
Motor Corporation's Scion, Toyota's Toyota, Toyota's Lexus, Hyundai, Fuji Heavy Industries' Subaru,
Mazda, and Nissan's Nissan. All of the Top 10 automobile brands of 2010
were from East Asia - 9 from Japan and 1 from South Korea.
Hyundai's leap from the Bottom 10 in 1995 (in fact, the
worst) to the Top 10 in 2005 and 2010 is a notable achievement.
By overall unreliability (second graph), the ten best
brands in 2010 were, in descending order (best first), Toyota's Scion,
Toyota's Lexus, Honda's Acura, Honda's Honda, Nissan's Infiniti, Subaru,
Mazda, Hyundai, and Ford Motor Company's Mercury (soon to be discontinued). Here, all
but one of the
Top 10 automobile brands were from East Asia.
By this quality measure as well, Hyundai leaped to the Top 10
in 2005 and 2010 from the worst in 1995.
There are 9 brands common to both best-10 lists; they are:
3 Toyota brands - Scion, Toyota, and Lexus
2 Honda brands - Honda and
There is no Big
Three brand in the Top Ten by infrequency of trouble-prone
models, and by overall reliability, only Ford's Mercury made the
To view the 10 Worst brands of 2010, click
To view the graphs showing the 2010 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.