Car Ratings: Consumer Reports Issues New Best List and Honda Gets a Wake-Up Call

The latest results from Consumer Reportsshould be a wake-up call for Honda executives . When I asked David Champion about the quality and reliability of the latest models tested by Consumer Reports, Champion said bluntly, “They’re still reliable, but the re-designs are disappointing. Their fit, finish, steering, and handling all need work.”

If that isn’t bad enough for Honda, consider his analysis of the interior of some Honda models compared to the interiors of Big Three models. Champion tells me, “It’s a complete reversal from 10 or 15 years ago. Honda used to have the superior interior while Ford and GM had uninspiring and cheaper looking interiors. Now it has flipped.”

The annual ranking of auto reliability by Consumer Reports is a benchmark annual report.

The 2012 Subaru Forester
The 2012 Subaru Forester

Often, those who slip and fall in the rankings get as much attention as those who are at the top. That is certainly the case this year.

The Consumer Reports top three auto brands:

1. Subaru
2. Mazda
3. Toyota

Consumer Reports bottom three

11) Mercedes-Benz
12) General Motors
13) Chrysler

So why am I writing about Honda?

Mainly because the Consumer Reports rankings show how much the brand has slipped.

For the second time in the last three years, Honda has no models selected as a top pick by Consumer Reports.

What’s the problem?

Champion says “It’s a complete lack of direction.”

Let’s be clear, Honda has had an extremely challenging last year following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The supply chain was broken and while Honda recovered, the Thai floods dealt another blow to the Japanese automaker.

Still, the review from Consumer Reports confirms what many in the auto industry have felt for some time. Honda is a brand that needs to reset itself. Yes, they are still reliable, but these days reliability is not enough.


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