Toyota Tumbles in Consumer Reports Reliability Ratings

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

CNN Money is reporting that Toyota has dropped from first to fifth place in Consumer Reports' (CR) ranking of average predicted reliability for all models sold under a given brand after one year of ownership. ToMoCo now slots beneath Honda, Acura, Scion and Subaru. What's worse, CR no longer recommends V6 Camrys or V8 Tundra full-size pickups due to their poor reliability. And the hits keep happening. CR says the results are so rad/bad they're changing their "free ride" methodology. Before now, Consumer Reports would assume at least average reliability for Toyota's new cars, without waiting for owner survey data. From now on, the magazine will wait for a full year of reliability survey data before recommending a Toyota product. As it does with most other manufacturers. As it should have from the git-go. Meanwhile, of the domestics, only Buick made it into CR's top ten, although Ford and Mercury are climbing CR's brand reliability charts (to 13th and 11th respectively). Of the 39 cars rated "most reliable," the domestics scored just four nods. Of the 44 "least reliable" models, The Big 2.8 accounted for 20. And the biggest loser is… the Solstice, with 234 percent less reliability than CR's statistical average. Pontiac's once red-hot roadster just beat the Cadillac Escalade EXT for the bottom position. CR reckons the 'Slade is 220 percent less reliable than average. That doesn't sound good.

[TTAC data provider truedelta analyzes CR's methodology here.]

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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4 of 48 comments
  • Johnson Johnson on Oct 17, 2007

    Heads have already rolled at Toyota. Toyota has already taken some big steps to boost quality back up to earlier levels. Now it's only a matter of time until we see the fruits of Toyota's new quality efforts.

  • Umterp85 Umterp85 on Oct 17, 2007

    It does not matter whether you are talking CR or JD Power---all surveys have their flaws. CR may have 2 million subscribers----but it is not a scientific sample from a pure market research standpoint. Said another way---it is a self selected sample (vs a random general market sample). That said, if one were to look at all of the reliability surveys----there is plenty of overlap in results between them and stronger conclusions can be drawn rather than just relying on one source for information. As far as Toyota---there has been ample news besides surveys (recalls, TSB's etc) related to their quality slip against most of their new launches---knowing Toyota---they will address these issues quickly.

  • EJ_San_Fran EJ_San_Fran on Oct 17, 2007

    To continue about the discrepancy between 2WD and 4WD rating for the Tundra. Consumer Reports listed their sample size: "We had 944 2WD V8 Tundras and 1259 4WD V8 ones." So, if they had ~4% defect rate for the 4WD, they had about 50 vehicles with at least one problem and fewer than that with a serious problem in the 4WD drive train. Cause for real concern?

  • Pch101 Pch101 on Oct 17, 2007
    So, if they had ~4% defect rate for the 4WD, they had about 50 vehicles with at least one problem and fewer than that with a serious problem in the 4WD drive train. Cause for real concern? Of course there should be cause for concern. With a sample size that large, you can fairly extract that about one out of every 25 owners of these vehicles is going to have an issue in this category. For any automaker, that would not be impressive. For an automaker whose major brand virtues are centered on quality and reliability, this has the makings for brand suicide if not addressed promptly and thoroughly. Consumers will happily pay a premium for Toyotas and give them top consideration because of their quality; TMC can't afford to blow this.