The Truth About TTAC's "Import Bias"

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
the truth about ttac s import bias

Whenever TTAC publishes a less than flattering review of a domestic nameplate, fans of the brand (or model) accuse us of being "import bigots" or "biased." So I went through our rated reviews and broke them down by nameplate (regardless of country of origin). The average rating (rounded to two decimals) for domestic brands: 3.17 stars. So-called imports: 3.43 stars. Three five-star imports are out of the reach of mere mortals (Gallardo, 911 Turbo and AMG CL63), so I took those out and re-calculated the import score; it dropped to 3.35. If you round any of these scores to star ratings, domestics average three stars and imports average, you guessed it, three stars. Taking it one step further (I gotta get a life!), 23 percent of the imports reviewed received ratings lower than three stars; only 17 percent of the domestics fell into that category.

I didn't crunch the numbers for editorials. Suffice it to say, TTAC's been critical of The Big 2.8, Toyota, Lexus, Porsche, Jaguar and the entire Chinese auto industry. If someone in this industry is doing something dumb, we're going to point it out. Period. As for our Detroit Death Watches, they cover the most important automotive story of our time; a story that's been largely ignored or improperly analyzed by the majority of the mainstream media. If that makes us "import bigots" or "anti-whatever," then so be it. TTAC's going to continue exposing the truth, wherever we find it. [NB: you are free to discuss TTAC's editorial stance or style in this post without restriction, within reason. If you know what I mean…]

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  • KixStart KixStart on Jan 21, 2008

    Hyundai? So what? Nobody spends much time praising Hyundai, either, except for their warranty. Whether you like it or not, each customer who will never look at a GM product again IS a challenge to GM. To survive and maybe thrive, GM needs those people back. Even if they said they'd never look at another GM product again, GM has to find a way. Conquest rebates aren't the way to do it, either. They didn't leave for price, they left for value. The first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem. As for an opportunity for dissatisfied GM customers to get their licks in, well, even if true, that's just too bad for GM, isn't it? Word-of-mouth is important. Take care of your customers. Charlene Blake appears to have a full-time job bad-mouthing Toyota for a sludge problem that, by some miracle, none of my friends have experienced. In fact, she'll show up in topics where such a rant is decidedly off-topic. Sauce for the goose, as they say.

  • KixStart KixStart on Jan 21, 2008

    Quasimondo, GM needs a KILLER warranty. Conquest rebates won't do it. Price is not the problem. The people that aren't coming back have visions of getting just out of warranty and finding themselves suddenly faced with a repair bill that's more than the car is worth. They want the value of a car they can rely on for 10 years. The current 5/100 warranty is a shell game and people know it. Hyundai can do it, you'd think GM could, too. A 10 year TRANSFERRABLE warranty would also help out with a boost to the resale value. What do people look for on the used market? Inexpensive but reliable wheels that they probably plan to run for a while. Between two 5 year old cars, the one that's still guaranteed to be kept useable for another 5 years has a big edge and this will be reflected in the resale price. A 10 year warranty makes the statement that the car it's attached to will be reliable for a very long time. The stumbling block, of course, is that the older the car gets, the more chickens come home to roost. If GM IS building a very durable and reliable car out of high-quality parts, a longer warranty won't cost much. If GM is building a car out of lowest-possible-bid pieces...

  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Jan 21, 2008

    Quasi, The point of Hyundai is a compelling one to raise. There is NO REASON that GM couldn't have designed a product renaissance the way Hyundai has over the last 20 years. People don't rail on Hyundai because Hyundai products are not only competitive, they're low cost price leaders or close to that in the categories where they compete. If GM had that type of value proposition, they would be well on their way to a much brighter future. But nope. Short term thinking, dealer greed, poor leadership, poor internal coordination and a starved product pipeline helped to get GM to where they are now. Malibu and CTS demonstrate there is hope, but since the Malibu isn't "better" than its competitors, it needs to be priced more aggressively.

  • Ricky Spanish Ricky Spanish on Jan 21, 2008

    The reason I come here is to get the truth - and get it I do. I've pretty much canceled my advertisement-subsidized subscriptions to almost every car magazine I ever got (with the exception of Excellence).