The truth about car quality...

Real Estate Agent with Nelms & Associates Services

If there is so much quality above and beyond the japs and other manufacturers, then why are they having trouble selling their cars?  It probably has to do with what they are offering to the consumer.  Too many big gas guzzlers would be my first thought and on second thought the cars that they are offering are not as attractive or economical as the japs.

Original content by Lane Bailey GA RE Lic # 282060

And it isn't what you think. 

There were a couple of things that ganged up today that made me write this post. 

  • Patricia Kennedy wrote this post.
  • Fox News had some "man (and woman) on the street" interviews with truly uninformed people.
  • I still like underdogs.
  • We are teetering on the edge of "bailing out" GM and probably Ford and Chrysler, too.

So, I knew that I had read the JD Power quality ratings and that Toyota wasn't "all that and a bag of chips", nor was Honda... but that everyone thinks they are at the very top.  So, I went searching. 

Let's start with overall corporate ratings...

  • 5 stars:  Lexus
  • 4 stars:  Mercury, Cadillac, Toyota, Acura, Buick, BMW, Lincoln, Honda, Jaguar
  • 3 stars:  Porsche, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Ford, Infiniti, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Pontiac, GMC, Mazda, Subaru, Chrysler, MINI, Dodge, Chevrolet, HUMMER, Scion, Volvo, Saturn
  • 2 stars:  Jeep, Volkswagen, SAAB, Isuzu, Kia, Suzuki, Land Rover

Now, there are a couple of things that should stick out to you.  The first is that Mercury and Cadillac both outscored Toyota, and Buick and Lincoln are right there... above Honda.  All of them, and Ford scored above Mercedes-Benz. 

Let's sample some cars and trucks...

  • In the Midsize Car category, the Chevy Malibu and the Ford Fusion both beat the Toyota Camry.  All of those, as well as the Buick LaCrosse, Mercury Milan and Pontiac G6 beat the Honda Accord. 
  • In the Compact Car category, Honda and Toyota led the way... but everyone smoked the Mini. 
  • In the Large Car category, the Chevy Impala and Buick Lucerne were right there with the Toyota Avalon... and all of them were behind the Pontiac Gran Prix, Mercury Sable, Grand Marquis and Ford Taurus.
  • In the Large Pickup category, The Chevy Silverado wins...  Toyota Tundra is second and the Chevy Avalanche was third.  Nissan's Titan came in dead last. 
  • In the Compact Multi-Activity Vehicle category, Honda's CR-V is in front, followed by the Chrysler PT Cruiser, Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4.  And those were above the Honda Element and Toyota FJ Cruiser.

There is a point to all of this.  People keep saying that the US automakers can't compete with the quality of the imports.  Obviously, this isn't the case.  The imports are in some cases better, other cases worse than the American makes.  And I am running into some groups that are saying that the difference might actually come down to the mindset of the owners.  There are a couple of groups pushing for a study of maintenance habits of owners of different makes of vehicles... 

But what I wanted to address is this...

As real estate agents we are harping about the media and perceptions.  In this case, most people are feeding the perceptions in regards to American cars and their quality.  Also, GM and Ford have both been building hybrids for a couple of years.  Chrysler has been building ultra high efficiency diesels in small vehicles for a few years.  A great example is the Jeep Liberty CRD...  which gets 22/27mpg, can tow 5,000 pounds and acts like the V6 which only gets 17/22mpg. 

The bottom line is that while people are saying that the American car companies are dying because they don't have the quality of the imports, and aren't building hybrids and high efficiency vehicles, that simply isn't the case.  Sure, they aren't really doing anything like the Yaris and Fit, but then Toyota and Honda aren't moving as many of those as they are Camrys and Accords.  And GM, Ford and Chrysler can take those on easily... when people give them a chance. 

As a side note, I will admit that I have a Ford and Chrysler in my stable, and I'm stewing for a Pontiac.  However, I have owned foreign cars as well as domestics.  I don't believe in the "Buy American" mantra... I just think that people should make their decisions based on reality (real estate or automotive) rather than flawed perceptions. 

And this is a GREAT time to buy an American made car... and property.

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