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Scion earns top spot for reliability, Ford gains ground in auto survey

October 24, 2008|the associated press

NEW YORK — Toyota Motor Corp.'s Scion brand topped the list of most reliable cars in Consumer Reports' annual vehicle reliability study, as Asian automakers continued to crowd the top of the magazine's rankings.

Chrysler vehicles saw their scores fall sharply from 2007, while Ford Motor Co.'s nameplates gained ground over their Detroit rivals.

"Scion has a portfolio of three fairly small, fairly well-equipped vehicles," said David Champion, director of Consumer Reports' auto test center. "It's a basic form of transport, but put together well."

The study compiled responses from Consumer Reports readers for more than 1.4 million vehicles during the spring of this year, using the results to predict reliability of 2009 models. The results are closely watched by automakers because of their influence on car buyers.

In this year's study, Honda Motor Co.'s Acura and Honda lines ranked right behind Scion, followed by the Toyota nameplate and Toyota's luxury brand, Lexus.

Asian names occupied all of the magazine's top 10 slots, with a domestic automaker not appearing on the list until No. 11 with Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln brand.

Champion noted that Ford nameplates had pulled ahead of their Detroit rivals this year, with nearly all of Ford products carrying average-or-better rankings with the exception of some of its truck-based vehicles.

In addition, the Ford Focus sedan has been vastly improved since its 2000 debut, Consumer Reports said, and the car was ranked No. 4 among most reliable family vehicles.

"Ford's vehicles, especially their car-based vehicles, have all been exceptionally good in terms of reliability year after year," Champion said.

Consumer Reports called General Motors Corp. cars a "mixed bag," with bright spots being the redesigned above-average Chevrolet Malibu. The Buick Lucerne V-8 and Pontiac G6 also came in above average, but a quarter of GM models came in below average, the magazine said.

Chrysler vehicles clustered near the bottom of the rankings, with nearly two-thirds of the automaker's lineup below average.

The Chrysler Sebring was Consumer Reports' worst-rated car, coming in at a staggering 283% below average.

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