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Subaru Named Top Automaker by Consumer Reports as Honda Falls in Rankings

February 28, 2012

A boxer car architecture of a Subaru on March 1, 2011 at the Geneva motor show. Photographer: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

A boxer car architecture of a Subaru on March 1, 2011 at the Geneva motor show. Photographer: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Subaru, a unit of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (7270), was named top automaker in Consumer Reports magazine’s annual rankings as Honda Motor Co., last year’s leader, fell to fourth.

Subaru received 75 of 100 points based on the scores of its seven U.S. models, Consumer Reports said in results released today at the National Press Club in Washington. The Tokyo-based company earned its score for building “dependable, all-wheel- drive vehicles with simple interiors,” the magazine said.

“This is great news for Subaru,” said Rebecca Lindland, director of strategic review for IHS Automotive, an industry forecasting firm. “Consumers still trust Consumer Reports and will take these recommendations very seriously.”

Mazda Motor Corp. (7261), based in Hiroshima, Japan, was second with 74 points, followed by Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) Honda’s ranking fell as redesigned models scored lower than those they replaced.

“There’s not a lot of separation among the brands at the top of the list,” Brandy Schaffels, senior editor of TrueCar.com, a Santa Monica, California-based auto buying service, said by phone.

Ford Motor Co. (F), the most improved automaker last year, slid to 10th place from fifth. The magazine criticized the Dearborn, Michigan-based company’s electronic interfaces and transmissions. General Motors Co. (GM) ranked 12th.

Chrysler Group LLC, while finishing last among the 13 companies, scored eight points higher than last year, “which is a really good sign for them because it shows that they’re improving,” Schaffels said.

Toyota, Nissan

Toyota has the most models the magazine recommends buying, with 22 out of 26 tested. Nissan was second with 13 of 20 examined.

“There are a lot of good cars out there, and they may not come from the companies with the most advertisements on TV,” David Champion, Consumer Reports senior director of automotive testing, said in an interview.

Consumer Reports, published by Consumers Union, evaluates cars for how well they drive, interior-finish quality, fuel economy and reliability. Consumer Reports received vehicle reliability data from about 1.3 million subscribers for this year’s rankings, Champion said.

“Clearly the things we’re strong on in our vehicles are recognized by Consumer Reports -- safety and reliability,” Michael McHale, a spokesman for Tokyo-based Subaru’s U.S. unit, said. “Scoring well in Consumer Reports is very important for our customers.”

The rankings by the Yonkers, New York-based publication are published in the magazine’s annual auto issue.

“People consider Consumer Reports to be a very trustworthy source because they don’t accept advertising,” said Schaffels, of TrueCar.com. “Not only that, they are very well known for their methodical testing style.”

Consumer Reports Magazine’s Best, Worst Car by Category


Hatchback, Fuel-Efficient:
Best: Volkswagen Golf TDI. Worst: Smart For Two Passion

Hatchbacks, Subcompact:
Best: Honda Fit Sport. Worst: Scion xD

Hatchbacks/Wagons, Small:
Best: Volkswagen Golf. Worst: Mini Cooper Clubman

Wagons, Best:
Mazda5 Grand Touring. Worst: BMW 325xi

Sedans, Subcompact:
Best: Hyundai Accent GLS. Worst: Nissan Versa SV

Sedans, Small:
Best: Subaru Impreza Premium. Worst: Volkswagen Jetta

Sedans, Family Entry-Level:
Best: Nissan Altima 2.5 S. Worst: Dodge Avenger SXT

Sedans, Family:
Best: Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE. Worst: Chrysler 200 Limited

Sedans, Compact Sports:
Best: Infiniti G37 Journey. Worst: Audi A4 Premium Quattro

Sedans, Upscale:
Best: Hyundai Genesis 3.8. Worst: Dodge Charger SXT Plus

Sedans, Luxury:
Best: Audi A6 3.0 Premium Plus Quattro. Worst: Volvo S80 3.2

Sedans, Ultraluxury:
Best: Lexus LS 460L. Worst: BMW 750Li

Sports Cars, High-End:
Best: Chevrolet Corvette Z06. Worst: Jaguar XK Convertible

Sports Cars, High-Performance:
Best: BMW 135i. Worst: Chevrolet Camaro 2LT

Sports Cars, Sporty:
Best: Volkswagen GTI. Worst: Honda CR-Z EX

Sports Cars, Two-Seat and Convertible:
Best: Porsche Boxster. Worst: Mini Cooper Convertible S

Convertibles, Four-Seat:
Best: Volkswagen Eos Lux. Worst: Chevrolet Camaro 2SS

Minivans, Best:
Honda Odyssey EX-L. Worst: Toyota Sienna LE

SUVs, Compact Sporty, Best:
Audi Q5 Premium Plus. Worst: Land Rover LR2 SE

SUVs, Small: Best:
Subaru Forester 2.5XT. Worst: Jeep Liberty Sport

SUVs, Midsized: Best:
Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited. Worst: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Sahara

SUVs, Luxury:
Best: Lexus RX 450h. Worst: Cadillac Escalade

SUVs, Large:
Best: Ford Flex Limited. Worst: GMC Yukon Hybrid

Pickups, Compact:
Best: Honda Ridgeline RTS. Worst: GMC Canyon SLE Z71

Pickups, Full-Sized:
Best: Chevrolet Avalanche LT. Worst: Nissan Titan SV

Pickups, Heavy-Duty Diesel:
Best: Chevrolet Silverado 2500 LTZ. Worst: Dodge Ram 2500
Laramie

Source: Consumer Reports

To contact the reporter on this story: Angela Greiling Keane in Washington at agreilingkea@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net


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