I have always been fascinated with the studies conducted by Consumer Reports that contrast the price of various brands with their quality and endurance. Often it seems that those brands of products which are in the higher priced categories are not found to be of the highest quality. Of course, there are many definitions and components to quality measures.
When judging the quality of different makes of cars, I use one of the same criterion used by Consumer Reports. The magazine calls it reliability; I call it endurance. To me the cars with the highest quality are the ones that last the longest. And the ones that last the longest and have the fewest required repairs are not always the ones produced by so-called prestige manufacturers.
One graph in the April, 2011 Consumer Reports, “Reliability by Manufacturer,” for my money is worth more than the subscription price. Enlightened readers could avoid making a costly mistake in selecting their next car by digesting this information. The graph charts the problems/100 vehicles (makes of cars) over a 10 year period. While most makes cluster fairly well during the first and second year of ownership, there appears to be a wide and increasing variation up through the 10th year.
In Stop Acting Rich, I mentioned that Toyota was the number one make of motor vehicle most recently acquired by millionaires. More than one in ten drive Toyotas; among millionaire engineers it’s one in four! And, reading from the Consumer Reports‘ graph, Toyota was the number one manufacturer in terms of the fewest problems per vehicle after 5 years. In contrast, a ten year old vehicle that was manufactured by BMW or Mercedes Benz is nearly twice as likely to have problems than one manufactured by Toyota.