Car Brand Quality – The 7 Best Car Brands in 1990

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This article provides two methods for selecting the 7 best car brands sold in North America from late 1983 to 1989. The statistics used in the computations for selecting the seven best vehicle brands are those found within the April 1990 issue of Consumer Reports, likely the most respected and followed source of automobile quality information in North America. The two sections used for ranking brand quality are Consumer Reports' list of trouble-prone cars and its reliability charts. Reliability is defined by the magazine as the infrequency of serious problems, which it measures annually by a subscriber survey.

The first ranking of the Top 7 car brands is based on each brand's infrequency of trouble-prone models. This ranking provides a measure of how well each brand's models successfully avoided the bottom end of the model-quality spectrum.

The second ranking of the Top 7 car brands is based on the average of the overall reliability ratings of each brand's models. The second ranking provides a measure of well a brand's models performed over the entire model-quality spectrum.

Brand Quality by Infrequency of Trouble-Prone Models

In each of its April issues, Consumer Reports has listed the most trouble-prone models by model year since 1976. To form a brand quality measure from the 1990 list of Used Cars To Avoid, the first step is to count each brand's entries on the list. Each model year of each model is treated as a separate entry.

Next, as the number of automobile models sold under a brand name varies greatly from brand to brand, it is necessary to take account of the fact that a brand with more models has a greater opportunity to have more model years of low quality. To compensate for a possibly inflated, or deflated, frequency of trouble-prone model years within a brand, as well as variability in model data sufficiency, the number of a brand's entries in CR's Used-Cars-To-Avoid list is divided by the total number of overall reliability ratings for the brand found in the reliability charts of the same issue of Consumer Reports. The overall reliability ratings are found in the Trouble-Index row of the 1990 reliability charts.

By the method of computation, this quality measure begins with 0 and may run to a value some greater than 1. The value of 0 is the highest quality rating attainable by a brand and is achieved only when a brand has no entry on the Used-Cars-To-Avoid list.

The Top 7 car brands by the foregoing computations, together with their quality ratings, are ranked below in descending order, with best first. Only those brands with at least 5 overall CR reliability ratings are included in the list below.

The 7 Best Car Brands by Infrequency of Trouble-Prone Models

Honda's Acura, with a Worst-Car rating of 0
Honda's Honda, with a rating of 0
BMW's BMW, with a rating of 0.05
Toyota's Toyota, with a rating of 0.09
Ford's Lincoln, with a rating of 0.11
Volkswagen's Audi, with a rating of 0.12
Volvo, with a rating of 0.13

Brand Quality by the Average of Overall Reliability Ratings

To compute brand quality ratings and assemble a brand ranking using Consumer Reports' overall reliability ratings, a number is associated with each CR rating. A +1.0 is ascribed to a rating of Much Better Than Average, a +0.5 to a rating of Better Than Average, a 0 to a rating of Average, a -0.5 to a rating of Worse Than Average, and a -1.0 to a rating of Much Worse Than Average. Then an average is taken over all of the brand's model years and models offering an overall reliability rating. CR's 1990 overall reliability ratings are found in the Trouble-Index row of its reliability charts.

For this measure of quality, the range is from +1.0 (the best possible) to -1.0 (the worst possible).

The Top 7 car brands by the foregoing computations, together with their quality ratings, are ranked below in descending order, with best first. Only those brands with at least 5 overall CR reliability ratings are included in the list below.

The 7 Best Car Brands by Overall Reliability

Honda's Acura, with an average overall reliability rating of +1.00
Honda's Honda, with a rating of +1.00
Toyota's Toyota, with a rating of +0.82
Mazda, with a rating of +0.69
Nissan's Nissan, with a rating of +0.53
Fuji Heavy Industries' Subaru, with a rating of +0.50
Mitsubishi, with a rating of +0.47

The three brands common to both lists of the 7 best car brands of 1990 are Honda Motor Company's two brands, Acura and Honda, and Toyota Motor Corporation's Toyota brand.

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James Bleeker has 1 articles online

James Benjamin Bleeker has a B.A. from Carleton College in mathematics, a J.D. from Northwestern University, and an M.S. from the University of Minnesota in mathematics. He has practiced law, and taught Introductory Statistics, Calculus III, Business Calculus, Finite Math, College Algebra, Introductory and Intermediate Algebra and Foundations at various universities and colleges. He currently has two websites - Auto on Info at http://www.AutoOnInfo.net and Cars on Info at http://CarsOnInfo.net - which provide detailed auto quality information for cars and trucks sold in North America. For much of the 2000s, AutoOnInfo.net has been the dominant provider of auto reliability and durability information, some of it gathered from its own online surveys and questionnaires and some from the reliability studies of the Consumer Union and CAA.

In January of 2002, AutoOnInfo.net received the Open Directory's Cool Site award for its data-rich tables and graphs. It is the only automobile website to have received the Open Directory award.

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Car Brand Quality – The 7 Best Car Brands in 1990

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This article was published on 2011/01/11