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Comments: Consumer Reports/JD Power Rankings

Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,913
How much weight do you give these sources when evaluating your potential vehicle purchase?

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  • I hate C.R for Autos. They spread propaganda. They make your shopping experience more difficult. The information is not 100% accurate. Use that money for a few starbucks for all night FREE internet research.

    Anybody trying to SELL how to get a good deal,outsmart they carguy, screw the car guy are more shady than ANY car dealer.

    just my two cents
  • pch101pch101 Posts: 582
    What propaganda? CR has opinions about cars that people are free to accept or reject, just like any other source of opinion.

    And the reliability surveys are pretty good, arguably better than the JD Power study which surveys far fewer people.

    I wouldn't take it as a bible, and I wouldn't spend $12 on something that I can easily get for free (you can buy the Edmund's new car invoices prices book for EVERY car on the market for less than CR's report on just one of them), but it's a useful source just as are many others. The main thing to remember them is that they tend to test cars in the same way that they test refrigerators, so their tendency is to regard cars more as appliances than fun toys to drive. I'd read the car mags if you want a better idea of how well a car does from the perspective of an enthusiast.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Please tell us what is propaganda. Are you talking about CR's bargaining advice or their car reviews? I'm all ears. ;)

    I do know they give you the so-called "real price" in those $12 reports. Real price is invoice minus holdback, customer rebates, and dealer incentives. They say to bargain up from this "real price," because invoice is essentially a fictitious price.

    I'm wondering if there actually are consumers who make an offer at this supposed "real price," which basically means zero gross profit for the dealer (and of course no sales commission)? That's pretty outrageous in my view.

    Now as to their reviews, well they tend give a "thumbs down" on VW/Audi products because of their generally atrocious reliability. (Sorry, but my anecdotal experience seems to confirm this.) But they really like the current and prior-generation Passat, as long as its reliability rises to the "average" threshold.
  • Some of the VW product gets dinged, But as of 2006 (my most current issue, have not recieved the 07 book yet) The A4 and the Passat were CR recommended.

    I have not had one deal that someone brought in a CR report that was accurate. It is a nightmare everytime. And most people have the attitude that because they paid for it it has to be right.

    VW/Audi invoices are TRUE invoices unlike GM and Ford are 2. We get the acutal invoice with our MSO and its the same one the customer sees.

    Yes people offer the "True Price". I have got the "Oh that is not the price on the car the car should be this price" "this price" is usually BASE. We have had 2 price adjustments in the 07 model year.

    I think there are many sources that are FREE and more accurate.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,805
    And the reliability surveys are pretty good, arguably better than the JD Power study which surveys far fewer people.

    Just because JD Power surveys fewer people doesn't make it a worse survey. JD Powers actually does take a statistical sample, CR doesn't. In other words the JD Power sample is more representative of the population as a whole. CR's sample is not. For this reason I would suspect the JD Powers is a better survey.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,528
    Thank you.

    >JD Powers actually does take a statistical sample, CR doesn't. ...JD Power sample is more representative of the population as a whole. ...the JD Powers is a better survey.
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    JD Powers actually does take a statistical sample, CR doesn't. In other words the JD Power sample is more representative of the population as a whole. CR's sample is not.

    I don't really follow the details of either survey very much...could you explain a little further what you mean? Why is JD more representative than CR? Does CR only survey democrats or something?
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    AAACCKKK!

    Not the Consumer Reports vs. JD Powers debate. There's a thread in Edmunds already, and we've covered this upteen times in other threads.

    For another take on what's wrong with both surveys, go here (not that I necessarily agree with this source).
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    VW/Audi invoices are TRUE invoices unlike GM and Ford are 2. We get the acutal invoice with our MSO and its the same one the customer sees.

    Thank you very much for your response. But this leads to a few more questions:

    1. How are the GM and Ford invoices not true (I'm inferring there are two different "invoice" prices)?

    2. Does "MSO" mean manufacturer statement of origin?

    3. Do Toyota, Honda, and Nissan also play the game of phony invoices?
  • 1. It is true for the customer, and the other is I guess for bookkeeping. (probably includes holdback and the such)

    2. Yes you are right.

    3. Have not heard that they do. I think it is more of a Domestic deal.

    I really do not think any of the surveys are all that accurate. I had a 1995 Jetta and according to all the surveys, I should of ran not walked away from this car. IT WAS THE BEST CAR I EVER OWNED. I drove 100 miles a day. I did oil changes when I had the time. Never burned oil. Saved me in a accident.

    I agree with some that CR and JD power have to say, but I would not use it as a source on whether to buy a car or not. I would use real feedback from customers, not percentages and incidents per 1000 and the such. That is why I love Edmunds because you get real feedback from not only owners but auto professionals too. (not trying win brownie points just stating an opinion)
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    obviously you didn't read my question....I wasnt debating which is better or even care..I also didn't say anything was wrong with either survey... but snake made the statement that one is a better representation than the other and I was wondering why.
    Maybe you already know why...but I don't. If you don't like my question/post skip them and move on. pretty simple.
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    CR is reporting raw data whereas Powers is weighting their numbers.

    In other words, when CR says that '02 Honda Accord owners report a certain thing, they are talking about however many '02 Accord owner responded to the survey, whether it's 7 or 700.

    Powers, on the hand, adjusts their numbers. It's similar to polling techniques used for any type of marketing or political research. When ABC News reports that President Bush's job approval rating is 38%, the figure is based on a sample (rarely more than 1500 in number) which is said to reflect the views of 300 million Americans.

    I sure don't know exactly what yardstick Powers uses - X percent of a model's sales, I suppose. For a high volume product (Ford F-series, for instance), the sample size would be (relatively) large in absolute numbers. For a low volume product (say an Audi A8), the sample size would presumably be pretty small.
  • Yeah for the Range Rover CR only had data for 2003 MY. They don't have enough data to get raitings for any of the other years.

    The current issue of CR though has removed all of the 2003 Raitings for the Range Rover and now just shows ************* all the way down.

    Something that boggles my mind is that I have a 2006 CR mag and it gives the LR3 Average or above average relablity in almost every category but at the bottom CR puts its overall relablity as worst then average????

    Where did they get that from I have no idea as by just glancing at the seperate catagories I would figure relabliaty would be average.

    The 2007 CR mag moves most categories for the 2005 LR3 down a level compared to last year but the 2006 raitings are better then the previous 2005 raitings. They still put overall relablity as worst then average.

    Makes no sense to me.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,805
    Why is JD more representative than CR?

    CR only samples their readers which does not represent a cross section of the population. Certain groups of people are more or less prone to read CR. JD Powers will try to get respondents in such a way as that their representation in the sample corresponds with their representation in the population as a whole.

    Hence if 20% of F240 pickup trucks are farmers living in the midwest JD Powers will try to get their sample of F250 pickup owners to have 20% farmers in the midwest.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • pch101pch101 Posts: 582
    In other words the JD Power sample is more representative of the population as a whole.

    This doesn't matter. The CR survey asks specific questions about whether repairs were required on various components of the car -- it's not an opinion poll asking those surveyed whether the cars are "good" or "bad."

    Unless GM dealers make a point of selling their lemons to CR readers, it's really immaterial whether the surveyed read Consumer Reports, Soldier of Fortune or Reader's Digest. A bad water pump is a bad water pump, and the survey results reported deal with reported component failures and repairs, first and foremost.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,805
    This doesn't matter.

    Sure does matter, Its better to have a representation of the population as a whole regardless of what they ask. If it doesn't represent the population as a whole it is flawed.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • pch101pch101 Posts: 582
    Its better to have a representation of the population as a whole regardless of what they ask.

    It's not an opinion poll, it's a series of questions that are largely objective, i.e. did components X, Y and Z create problems. Unless CR readers buy the best-made Civics and the worst made Chevys, it makes no difference how you find the owners, just as long as you find them.

    The pool of CR readers should experience the same degree of problems as would the pool of non-CR readers, unless you think the dealers at your local Chevy store are conspiring to put their lemon law candidates specifically into the hands of CR readers. There is no reason that the Corollas owned by CR readers are going to have fewer component failures than would anyone else's.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,805
    It doesn't matter if its an opinion poll or not. It is a survey and to reduce the chance or error to its lowest it must represent a cross section of the population as a whole.

    The pool of CR readers should experience the same degree of problems as would the pool of non-CR readers,

    Not always. If most of CR readers are yuppie type individuals then the issues their F250 owners will not be the same as the 75% of F250 owners who use them for construction, farming and ranching type work.

    My point is different groups of people use their cars differently and maintain them differently, that would result in different results in "reliability" of the car. Also you must understand that certain groups of people tend to view "reliability" and "troubles" differently. I am sure the Yuppie driving the pickup truck would notice some things that the rancher driving the same model would simply not notice due to the type of use the truck gets.

    So having a proper cross section is very important.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,109
    it's not an opinion poll asking those surveyed whether the cars are "good" or "bad."

    That does not matter. The fundamental issue, as others have suggested, is whether the sample is truly representative.

    IN ANY CASE, this is not the place to debate statistical methodologies of CR, JD Power or others. Let's stick with buying tips and getting the best deal. :)

    tidester, host
  • pch101pch101 Posts: 582
    Even if you wish to assume that CR's readership is as monolithic as you would like to claim, it's impossible to believe that this very same sort of person who can get excellent service out of a Toyota is incapable of getting anywhere near that level of service out of your average Chevy.

    Except for a few yahoos who wind out their motors and drive their cars into walls, most of a car's relibility in its early years is a result of design and engineering, not its maintenance. That's particularly true in the modern era, when engines need very little maintenance in their first years of life.

    And you can't make an unreliable car reliable through rigorous maintenance. A bad car is a bad car, no matter who owns it.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,805
    Even if you wish to assume that CR's readership is as monolithic as you would like to claim,

    CR's readership is in no way shape or form representative of the population as a whole.

    it's impossible to believe that this very same sort of person who can get excellent service out of a Toyota is incapable of getting anywhere near that level of service out of your average Chevy.

    As I said certain groups of people will have differing ideals of what an issue is. Case in point my sister drives (but doesn't need) a pickup truck. She would notice any little squeak or noise as an issue.

    I have a friend who runs a farm that drives (and needs) a pickup truck. Since he hauls stuff in it and drives off road and on primitive roads most of the time he would take those same squeaks and noises as the result of the hard work he puts the truck through.

    Different people giving different results for the same issue.

    Since the host mentions to get back on topic here is my #1 tip.

    Follow the sales manager around and get a picture of him with his mistress and bring it in for negotiations. :P

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • jmonroejmonroe Pittsburgh areaPosts: 5,540
    Follow the sales manager around and get a picture of him with his mistress and bring it in for negotiations.

    Remember, you brought up this subject, not me.

    Years ago I worked with a guy whose cousin’s wife was having a fling with one of the senior salesmen at one of the larger dealerships in the area. He tells me about this and then says I want one of the cars that this dealer has and I’m in a dilemma. The dealer is known to be one of the better places to buy a car and their service department is also one of the best but he hated the idea of buying from them because of the situation just mentioned (no, his cousin was not aware of what was going on, at least not at that time). Then a fellow worker says, go buy the car if you can get a good deal, it is a good dealership and it’s not the dealerships fault what their employees do on their own time. So, the guy says, yeah you’re right and I’m going to see if I can get this sleaze bag as my salesman.

    Sure enough he seeks out this guy and after mentioning you know what he said he got the best deal he had ever gotten in his life.

    Now see what happens when you remind me of stuff like this?

    It’s not my fault you made me tell this tale.

    jmonroe

    '09 Genesis V8 and '12 Legacy Limited 6 cyl

  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,805
    It’s not my fault you made me tell this tale.

    I have that much control over you?

    Well I posted as a joke but I am glad to see that it works ;)

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • pch101pch101 Posts: 582
    I guess that developing a relationship with the salesperson can sometimes help with car shopping. It just so happens that this relationship doesn't necessarily have to be between the salesperson and the person who is buying the car...
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Thanks again for the answers!

    BTW, the Toyota invoices I've seen (through my employer, who buys a lot of cars) do show holdback (2% of base MSRP), wholesale financial reserve (1% of base MSRP), local dealer association advertising fees (around $300 or so), $10 for gasoline, and $6 for an owner's "portfolio" -- that faux leather case for the owner's manual and other booklets.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Sorry...didn't mean to offend you.

    But you saw how the thread veered off-topic, and the host had to intervene.

    Again, here's a good place that describes the flaws of both CR and JD Powers. Even better, the author is trying to come up with a better mousetrap!

    Now, back to buying tips!
  • pch101pch101 Posts: 582
    It's really just a gimmick to put the holdback on the invoice, when it really isn't an expense at all, but a form of revenue. I believe that this is what some of the automakers are doing to fool those customers who are working from the total invoice, but who don't understand the parts.

    One thing to bear in mind that what the "invoice" isn't really often what the dealers are paying out of pocket, but what they are borrowing against. It's really a way for the dealership to increase its leveraged returns, because it doesn't come out of pocket one penny to put a car on its lot -- it only pays for the car after it has been sold to the retail customer, of course using the money provided by the customer. Add in holdback, fee reimbursements, other factory-to-dealer incentives, etc., and you see that the dealership makes a lot of its money on new car sales simply by using OPM (Other People's Money.)
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    Does anyone break down age groups in their surveys??

    A 22 year old mazda buyer who has a relatively small problems often acts like its the end of civilization and hits the survey very hard...but a town car owner with a major problem seem to take things in stride and is easy on the survey...I guess life experience teaches us that "things happen" but I bet this age difference is heavily reflected in survey results.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,536
    I think there are some anomalies that CR has that just don't make me take them very seriously. Stated before, I think CR has a bit of that self fulfilling prophecies in their ratings. They tell their readership that a certain model car has electronic "glitches". Lo and behold, the owner of that model reports some sort of electronic gremlin when the survey hits....whether real or imagined.

    It's been quite a while ago, but I did order one of their pricing packages. The pricing was off...not by a lot, but it was incorrect.

    From that point forward, I didn't put much stock in CR. Besides, their tastes in what is important in a car, doesn't always reflect what I want in a car.

    Truth be told, I find Edmunds to be the one car source to be the closest to what I want in their reviews.

    Do I get a free Edmunds subscription for that?????? :blush:
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    When I am looking for a new ride, I look at a variety of sources for information in choosing which USED vehicle to purchase. (I will never buy a new car.)

    Here are my sources:

    1) Ask my mechanic. The guy does a great job and seems to know the weak spots of most popular models. He is also pretty good at giving me an idea of what vehicles will cost to fix up.

    2) Lemonaidcars.com - Phil Edmundston worked with the Nader group originally and is one of my favorite resources. He solves problems and is aware of all the various secret warranty programs. In his Lemonaid Cars books which are generally distributed in Canada only, he does a thorough job of reviewing most models. His reviews indicate that the reviewer has actually spent time driving the particular model.

    3) Edmunds - Great source of a lot of information from various people. Read through a few hundred posts on a model and you get a good idea of the good, bad and ugly. And some of the finest moderators around.

    4) Occasionally, I will look at Consumer Reports BUT ... their readership (and therefore, their rankings) are so skewed to the upper income/ coasts to be totally reliable. However, it does point out to me what to look out for.

    5) Finally, since I lease a lot of vehicles through TWO leasing companies, I have access to a) the CSRs and b) the large bank of mechanics that they hire to manage their customer's fleets. Most of the Service reps of the large fleet rental companies have 10-20 years auto shop experience and they are straight shooters.

    Hope that helps.
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