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Japaneseusedcars.co.nz - Automotive News.

Japanese cars rule in Consumer Reports auto issue

DETROIT - Japanese automobiles are the true kings of the road judging by the latest annual "Best Cars" issue of Consumer Reports magazine, which hits newsstands next week.

All but one of the vehicles in the magazine's list of "top picks" in 10 different categories for 2005 are Japanese. The exception is Ford's small-sized Focus sedan.

Japanese vehicles score a clean sweep on the list of vehicles Consumer Reports says it can recommend because they earned "very good" or "excellent" scores in all five major ratings areas it tested.

The recommendations are important since the spring auto issue from Consumer Reporters, which accepts no paid advertising or free samples of the products its reviews, has long been seen as a trusted shopping guide by many U.S. car buyers.

Anything that could accelerate the rate of defection away from Detroit's mass market automakers is clearly bad news for the likes of General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. as they continue to lose market share to fast-growing foreign rivals.

The Big Three can take solace, however, from a Consumer Reports survey showing for the second consecutive year that the average domestic car is more reliable than its average European counterpart.

That trend, which gives Detroit at least some bragging rights, was reported by Consumer Reports for the first time in 24 years in its previous auto issue in 2004.

Reliability results this year were based on responses from Consumer Report subscribers about a record 810,000 privately owned or leased cars and trucks.

Japanese and Korean automakers once again produced the most trouble-free models, with an overall problem rate of 12 per 100 for the 2004 model year, the same rate they have had for the last three years, Consumer Reports said.

It said GM, Ford and the Chrysler side of DaimlerChrysler AG inched closer to the Asians with an overall problem rate of 17 per 100, however. That matched the industry average and was down from a combined rate of 18 per 100 last year.

By contrast, the problem rate for European automakers rose slightly to 21 per 100 from 20 last year.

"Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and Volvo had more than their fair share of problems. Only Audi came out better than average," the magazine said.

"The most reliable brand overall is now Subaru, which averages eight problems per 100," Consumer Reports said. It noted that Honda Motor Co. Ltd. , long a reliability leader, now averaged nine problems per 100.

The single most reliable vehicle in the 2004 model year was Hyundai Motor Co, Ltd's low-cost Sonata sedan, with a problem rate of just two per 100.

The showing "further establishes Hyundai's remarkable turnaround from one of the least reliable brands to one of the best," Consumer Reports said of the Korean automaker.

Ford's Lincoln Navigator sport utility vehicle and Nissan's Quest minivan tied for most unreliable vehicle, it said, with problem rates of 49 per 100. Close behind was the pricey Touareg SUV from Volkswagen AG , which had 48 problems for every 100 vehicles.


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