Buick Is First Domestic to Earn A Top 10 Spot in Consumer Reports Annual Car Brand Report Cards

Share Article

Rankings find Kia rising, while Acura, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz plummet

CR April 2015 Issue

For years domestic automakers built lower-priced and lower-quality alternatives to imports, but those days are behind us. Today many domestic models can go toe-to-toe with the best imports.

With improved reliability scores for its lineup, Buick has become the first domestic brand to earn a place among the top 10 in Consumer Reports Annual Car Brand Report Cards since its inception three years ago. The findings were presented today before the Washington Automotive Press Association at the National Press Club.

Sitting firmly at seventh on a list that has historically been dominated by the likes of Lexus and other Japanese brands, Buick takes top honors among all domestics for the second year in a row, and leapfrogs over Honda and BMW in the rankings for the first time. Currently, 83 percent of Buick vehicles are Consumer Reports’ Recommended.

“For years domestic automakers built lower-priced and lower-quality alternatives to imports, but those days are behind us,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports director of automotive testing. “Today many domestic models can go toe-to-toe with the best imports.”

To take a full measure of how the brands stack up, Consumer Reports calculates each report card score using an equally weighted composite of its road-test scores and reliability scores for each model that the organization has tested, and for which its subscribers have provided reliability data in its Annual Auto Reliability Survey. To be included in the Brand Report Card, Consumer Reports must have test and reliability data for at least two models.

For the third consecutive year, Lexus is still king of all brands—earning the highest score overall (78) by a clear margin. Next up was Mazda, which improved from sixth place the year before—with a solid lineup of cars that are reliable, fun-to-drive, and deliver impressive fuel economy. The other brands rounding out the top five were Toyota, Audi and Subaru.

Scores for all 28 brands included in Consumer Reports 2015 Car Brand Report Cards are available in the Annual Auto issue of Consumer Reports or by visiting Consumer Reports 2015 Autos Spotlight on ConsumerReports.org/AutosSpotlight.

With 78 percent of its vehicles CR Recommended, Kia further distanced itself in the rankings from its Korean counterpart Hyundai by breaking into the top 10 at number nine just a head of BMW.

Consumer Reports Reliability Survey has shown redesigned models can often come with a number of teething pains. As was reflected in this year’s Brand Report Card scores for Mercedes-Benz, Acura, and Infiniti.

Mercedes-Benz was the biggest loser this year, dropping from the top 10 to 21st, due to a decline in reliability from several of its models and the low-scoring, unreliable new CLA. Acura’s once-stellar reliability had dropped in recent years and the unimpressive RLX fell short in Consumer Reports’ tests. The brand fell from its high perch at number two last year, landing outside the top 10 for the first time.

Infiniti’s score was an example of how one low-scoring and unreliable new model can hurt a carmaker with a small lineup. Largely based on the poorly performing new Q50, Infiniti also falls out of the top 10 and lands at 17, just above Nissan. Currently Consumer Reports only recommends 29 percent of Infiniti models—significantly less than it did two years ago when it recommended 75 percent.

Despite Buick’s leap and the slight improvements seen in Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC. The bottom of the rankings included a number of domestic brands. Ford showed some incremental improvement and its infotainment systems have shown to have fewer reliability problems, but only 19 percent of its models are CR Recommended.

Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Fiat brands all scored near the bottom rankings, the result of poor reliability and a variety of new or redesigned models with low road-test scores. Historically, reliability issues have plagued most models from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). And though Consumer Reports road-test ratings of FCA products have improved in the past two years, much of the competition continues to raise the bar. Only two models, both from Dodge, are currently CR Recommended.

This year, Consumer Reports doesn’t have Brand Report Cards for RAM, Jaguar, Land Rover, Maserati, Mitsubishi, Smart, and Tesla because either the organization has too few currently tested models from those makes or it lacked sufficient reliability data. Ratings on individual models from those makers are available at http://www.ConsumerReports.org.

The complete report and scores for all 28 brands in Consumer Reports Car Brand Report Cards for 2015 is available in the Annual Auto Issue of Consumer Reports and at the 2015 Autos Spotlight on http://www.ConsumerReports.org starting February 24, 2015. Updated daily, ConsumerReports.org is the go-to Website for the latest auto reviews, product news, blogs on breaking news and car buying information. Check out CR’s ongoing Twitter feed at @CRCars.

Connect with us for live coverage of the Autos Spotlight, on Facebook.com/ConsumerReports, and on Twitter: @ConsumerReports and @CRCars #CRcarFest. Full coverage of the 2015 Autos Spotlight is at http://www.ConsumerReports.org/AutosSpotlight.

About Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports is the world’s largest and most trusted nonprofit, consumer organization working to improve the lives of consumers by driving marketplace change. Founded in 1936 Consumer Reports has achieved substantial gains for consumers on health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other issues. The organization has advanced important policies to cut hospital-acquired infections, prohibit predatory lending practices and combat dangerous toxins in food. Consumer Reports tests and rates thousands of products and services in its 50 plus labs, state-of-the-art auto test center and consumer research center. Consumers Union, a division of Consumer Reports, works for pro-consumer laws and regulations in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace. With more than eight million subscribers to its flagship magazine, website and other publications, Consumer Reports accepts no advertising, payment or other support from the companies whose products it evaluates.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

C. Matt Fields

Douglas Love