Domestic Brands Stumble In Consumer Reports Survey

DETROIT (WWJ) – Domestic brands are taking a hit in the latest auto survey by Consumer Reports.

Ford fell ten rankings, mostly because of concerns with new technology, especially the “My Ford Touch” system that uses a touch screen to run many of the vehicles controls.

“It’s poor when it works, and even worse when it doesn’t work at all,” says David Champion, who heads Consumer Reports auto testing team.

Consumer Reports readers have criticized the system for rebooting at odd times, and freezing up during cold weather.

While Ford was also criticized for issues with its fuel saving small car transmissions, Chrysler’s new cars were praised, because of a new emphasis on quality.

“Really Chrysler couldn’t afford to have a new vehicle come out and have poor reliability,” said Champion.

Dodge is now the top rated domestic brand, but it still finished far below several Japanese brands.

WWJ AutoBeat Reporter Jeff Gilbert said the study of Consumer Reports subscribers put Toyota’s youth-oriented Scion brand number one, with 24 Japanese models earning the highest ratings.

Several GM models also took a hit. The Buick and Cadillac brands, in particular, appear to have taken a step backward.

While the Chevrolet Cruze small car has been a hit in the marketplace, Champion said it did not do well in the Consumer Reports study.

“It’s been a number of issues. Some electrical issues. Some engine issues. Some body hardware issues.”

The major auto companies watch the Consumer Reports survey closely, because so many car buyers use the publication to make decisions.

Ford says it understands the issues people are having with its vehicles and is working to fix them.

“We were already working on them,” said Ford Spokesman Wes Sherwood. “Now we’re pleased to report that we’re largely back on track, in terms of addressing issues with our technologies, our advanced powertrains.”

The study is based on responses on 1.3 million vehicles owned or leased by Consumer Reports subscribers.

This graph charts predicted reliability of 2012 models  (.pdf format)

Full reliability history charts and predicted-reliability ratings on hundreds of 2012 models, plus a list of what’s up and what’s down, best and worst models, and a comparison chart of brands can be found online at

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