American cars have surpassed their European competitors for the first time in 25 years by proving to be more reliable.
According to the information released by Consumer Reports, car manufacturers in Detroit now produce better autos than their European colleagues, and Buick breaks down not as often as BMW.
Such European names as Mercedez-Benz, BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, Volvo, Mini, and Jaguar turn out to be not quite as reliable as often believed. The magazine contains one of the most dependable data, since it includes real opinions of customers, among which 675 000 individuals have sent their reports about their car malfunctions in the course of one year.
According to Consumer Reports, average number of breakages for new cars in 2003 equaled to 20 per 100 autos. Owners of America’s most traditional cars such as Buick, Saturn and Dodge declared 18 breakages per 100 cars. Japanese cars appear to be absolute leaders with only 12 breakages per 100 autos.
However, experts from CR recommend Ford Focus among American cars as far as specific models go. Statistically, this particular auto proved to be most reliable in 2003.
According to The Wall Street Journal, one of the most notable tendencies these days appears to be decreasing quality of European (especially German) most prestigious cars. It is really quite unusual to find such names as Volkswagen, Mercedez-Benz, Audi and BMW on the “black list” of unreliable autos.
CR’s director of car testing David Champion states that German manufacturers produce “very complex vehicles” with plenty of electronics that may cause various problems. At the same time, he notes that their main competitors such as Toyota (Lexus) and Nissan (Infinity) managed to avoid such problems, despite the fact that Japanese cars are equipped with just as much electronics.
In the end, BMW 7 series has been named the worse European car. According to Champion, owners of new BMW 7 series reported numerous problems. The number exceeds that of Lexus LS 400 (1996) owners. “Those who purchase these BMWs are always busy. Even a minor problem may cause major frustration,” stated he.
Champion assumes that with time, such problems with quality assurance will eventually lead to significant reduction of European car sales. In the beginning of 2004, BMW 7 series sales have reduced by 21%, Volkswagen—by 29%, Audi—by 18%. Mercedez-Benz however still stands firm.
Consumer Reports also notes that such quality improvement can definitely be regarded as the greatest achievement for American car manufacturers.
This year, European manufacturers already start promising to make some improvements, while Americans are lucky enough to make their success public. At the same time, Japanese brands such as Toyota and Nissan still remain the best.