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Cooley On Cars
Your emails: What makes a car reliable?Brian Cooley talks car reliability and dependability and which company makes the fewest lemons.
Hey folks Ryan Coolie here from Oncars taking one of your email about high tech car and modern driving. This one comes in from Matt Z in Dallas, who has a question about vehicle reliability. And says can you speak to the product development process at various car companies as it relates to making a vehicle reliable? He says he's always amazed of companies like BW Benz and BMW, despite huge resources of their disposal Seem to make what he says, "are increasingly unreliable models year after year," he continues, as someone who would love to trade in his always- reliable Japanese vehicle for something with that wanted German feel. He just thinks that it is a frustrating trade off, that he shouldn't have to make at this point in automotive history. Reliability in cars is not simple partly because you gotta look at the idea. Of make, model, model year, and generation. You can't just look at a brand of car and say Audi makes certain kind of cars or Honda makes reliable cars. It varies down to a much more fine level. The days like back in the old Ford Rouge plant where Ford had their own barges of sand and liquid rubber and iron ore coming in one end And cars made of glass, rubber, and steel coming up the other those are long gone. Car makers are not vertical they bring in lots of assemblies from other companies. In fact they dont even build their own cars out of assemblies. For many years, for example I think about a decade. The Boxsters and Cayman's were made by a company in Finland called Valmet Porsche didn't even make most of them, and their reputation for quality on those was really good. Plus, who makes the parts of those cars? Whoever assembles them. Big parts like transmissions, engine components. Entire interiors are not made by carmakers, they are bought in from suppliers who work off their design. So that affects the reliability. And again, that is hard to know as a consumer, where the sourcing is coming from. The last thing I will tell you about is this idea of ratings. Now Consumer Reports and J D Power are the best known for reliability and dependability, the two terms they use respectively. Consumer Reports to my eyes seems to focus more on kind of drop dead stuff. Real hard core reliability that's going to give you a car that isn't functioning right or literally doesn't start. JD Power would tell you right off the bat, their ratings have been heavily swayed lately by consumers given them a lot of feedback about technology in the car that works technically speaking. But isn't designed well and is hard to operate. Consumer Reports put Audi at the top, then Subaru, Lexus, Porsche, BMW. JD Power starts with Buick, then Lexus, Porsche, Acura, Audi. So those are two different takes on reliability. Look they have a lot of core in common, so you gotta bear that in mind as you read the ratings of different orgs that follow this. Good luck, and know this. There are a whole lot less lemons on the market now than there were a couple decades ago. [MUSIC]