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Average Product-Quality Ranks of Most Auto Manufacturers with Sales in the U.S.
by James Bleeker

Content Summary

This page provides 4 tables of quality-rank averages for most of the automobile manufacturers with sales in North America. Each table employs a different method for computing the quality rank of the manufacturers.

The statistics used in the computations for ranking the car makers are those found within the April issues of Consumer Reports. The two sections providing the necessary statistics are CR's Used-Cars-To-Avoid lists 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 and third tables provide the average ranks of the car makers based on each manufacturer's infrequency of trouble-prone models. These average ranks provide a measure of how well each manufacturer's models successfully avoided the bottom end of the model-quality spectrum for the years 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010.

The second and fourth tables provide the average ranks of the car makers based on the average of the overall reliability ratings of each manufacturer's models. The average ranks provide a measure of how well a manufacturer's models performed over the entire model-quality spectrum in each of the years 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010.

Auto Manufacturer Quality by Infrequency of Trouble-Prone Models

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

Finally, the automobile manufacturers with at least 5 overall reliability ratings are ordered from best to worst for each of the years 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010. The best manufacturer in a given year has a quality rank of 1. The worst quality rank varies from year to year and ranges from 13 to 19.

Automobile manufacturers with a rank in at least one year include American Motors Corporation, BMW AG, the Chrysler Group (previously Chrysler Corporation, the Chrysler Group of DaimlerChrysler AG, and Chrysler LLC, and presently Chrysler Group LLC), Ford Motor Company, Fiat S.p.A., General Motors Corporation, Honda Motor Company, Isuzu Motors Ltd., Jaguar, Kia Motors Corporation, Mazda Motor Corporation, Daimler AG (previously Daimler-Benz AG and the Mercedes-Benz division of DaimlerChrysler AG), Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Nissan Motor Company, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Porsche AG, Saab, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., Suzuki Motor Corporation, Toyota Motor Corporation, Volkswagen AG, and Volvo.

For several of the above years, Saab was a division of General Motors Corporation and Volvo and Jaguar were divisions of Ford Motor Company; however, for all of the above years, they have been treated as separate companies.

The first table provides the average quality ranks of the automobile manufacturers by these computations, where the average is taken over the above 7 years. To be included in the table, the manufacturer must have been ranked in at least 3 years.

The third table provides the average quality ranks of the automobile manufacturers by these computations, where the average is taken over the 3 most-recent of the above 7 years. To be included in the table, the manufacturer must have been ranked in at least 2 years.

Auto Manufacturer Quality by the Average of Overall Reliability Ratings

To compute car-maker quality ratings and compute a quality rank using Consumer Reports' overall reliability ratings, a number is first associated with each of CR's overall ratings. 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 manufacturer's model years and models offering an overall reliability rating. Lastly, the automobile manufacturers with at least 5 overall reliability ratings are ordered from best to worst for each of the years 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010. The best manufacturer in a given year has a quality rank of 1. The worst quality rank varies from year to year and ranges from 13 to 19.

Automobile manufacturers with a rank in at least one year include American Motors Corporation, BMW AG, the Chrysler Group (previously Chrysler Corporation, the Chrysler Group of DaimlerChrysler AG, and Chrysler LLC, and presently Chrysler Group LLC), Ford Motor Company, Fiat S.p.A., General Motors Corporation, Honda Motor Company, International Harvester Company, Isuzu Motors Ltd., Jaguar, Kia Motors Corporation, Mazda Motor Corporation, Daimler AG (previously Daimler-Benz AG and the Mercedes-Benz division of DaimlerChrysler AG), Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Nissan Motor Company, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Porsche AG, Saab, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., Suzuki Motor Corporation, Toyota Motor Corporation, Volkswagen AG, and Volvo.

For several of the above years, Saab was a division of General Motors Corporation and Volvo and Jaguar were divisions of Ford Motor Company; however, for all of the above years, they have been treated as separate companies.

The second table provides the average quality ranks of the automobile manufacturers by these computations, where the average is taken over the above 8 years. To be included in the table, the manufacturer must have been ranked in at least 3 years.

The fourth table provides the average quality ranks of the automobile manufacturers by these computations, where the average is taken over the 3 most-recent of the above 8 years. To be included in the table, the manufacturer must have been ranked in at least 2 of the 3 most-recent years.

Note: As overall reliability ratings were not offered by Consumer Reports in 1995, Auto Reliability Percentrank averages were used for ranking the automobile manufacturers.

The Tables of Average Auto-Manufacturer-Quality Ranks from Best to Worst

Auto-Manufacturer Average Product-Quality Rank by Infrequency of Trouble-Prone Models for Years 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010
Auto Manufacturer Average Rank
Toyota Motor Corporation 2.1
Suzuki Motor Corporation 3.0
Honda Motor Company 5.7
Nissan Motor Company 6.0
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. 6.3
Volvo 6.6
BMW AG 6.7
Mazda Motor Corporation 7.0
Daimler (Mercedes-Benz and Smart) 7.1
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation 8.5
Porsche AG 9.7
Ford Motor Company 10.1
Hyundai Motor Company 10.8
Isuzu Motors Ltd. 11.5
Volkswagen AG 12.3
Saab 12.4
Chrysler Group 13.0
General Motors Corporation 13.6

Auto-Manufacturer Average Product-Quality Rank by Overall Reliability for Years 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010
Auto Manufacturer Average Rank
Toyota Motor Corporation 1.6
Honda Motor Company 2.6
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. 3.9
Nissan Motor Company 4.4
Mazda Motor Corporation 5.2
Daimler (Mercedes-Benz and Smart) 6.5
BMW AG 8.0
Suzuki Motor Corporation 8.0
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation 8.3
Porsche AG 9.0
Volvo 9.3
Ford Motor Company 10.3
Isuzu Motors Ltd. 10.5
Hyundai Motor Company 11.5
Saab 12.0
Volkswagen AG 12.1
General Motors Corporation 12.8
American Motors Corporation 13.0
Chrysler Group 13.8
Jaguar 16.7

Auto-Manufacturer Average Product-Quality Rank by Infrequency of Trouble-Prone Models for Years 2000, 2005, and 2010
Auto Manufacturer Average Rank
Toyota Motor Corporation 2.0
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. 2.7
Suzuki Motor Corporation 3.0
Honda Motor Company 3.7
Hyundai Motor Company 5.0
Nissan Motor Company 5.7
Mazda Motor Corporation 6.7
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation 7.5
BMW AG 9.3
Porsche AG 10.0
Ford Motor Company 10.0
Volvo 11.3
Saab 11.7
Daimler (Mercedes-Benz and Smart) 12.0
Isuzu Motors Ltd. 13.5
Volkswagen AG 13.7
Chrysler Group 14.7
General Motors Corporation 15.3

Auto-Manufacturer Average Product-Quality Rank by Overall Reliability for Years 2000, 2005, and 2010
Auto Manufacturer Average Rank
Toyota Motor Corporation 1.0
Honda Motor Company 2.0
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. 3.3
Nissan Motor Company 5.0
Mazda Motor Corporation 5.7
Hyundai Motor Company 6.0
Suzuki Motor Corporation 7.0
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation 8.0
BMW AG 9.3
Ford Motor Company 9.7
Volvo 10.0
Porsche AG 10.5
Isuzu Motors Ltd. 12.0
Daimler (Mercedes-Benz and Smart) 12.3
Saab 13.0
General Motors Corporation 14.0
Volkswagen AG 14.3
Chrysler Group 15.7

Summary and Analysis

Some important points from the foregoing tables are:

1. By the quality ranking based on the infrequency of trouble-prone models, Toyota Motor Corporation has no single competitor for the top spot.

2. By overall reliability, Toyota and Honda Motor Company are competitors for the top spot.

3. By both infrequency of trouble-prone models and overall reliability, Ford Motor Company's rank averages for the longer period and the more recent years have changed little.

4. General Motors Corporation and the Chrysler Group are in neck-and-neck competition to be manufacturer of worse product quality.

Additional Resources

To view the quality ratings of all of the auto manufacturers for a given year, click the applicable year.

2010  2005  2000  1995  1990  1985  1980  1975 

To view the graphs of the auto-quality ranks of each of the following, click accordingly:

North America's 6 Major Car Manufacturers: Go
Detroit's Big Three and 5 Japan-based Auto Manufacturers: Go
5 Europe-based Auto Manufacturers: Go
5 Europe-based and 5 Japan-based Auto Manufacturers: 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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