10-26-16

CONSUMER REPORTS YANKS HONDA CIVIC RECOMMENDATION ON POOR RELIABILITY

Honda

Another ding to Japanese car maker struggling to
maintain its stellar quality reputation

By Christina Rogers, The Wall Street Journal - Consumer Reports has pulled its recommendation for the Honda Civic after owners of the popular compact car reported many reliability issues, representing yet another ding to the Japanese car maker which in recent years has struggled to maintain its stellar quality reputation.

The influential product-review magazine pointed to several problems on the redesigned Civic - ranging from electronics failures to entire dashboard consoles needing replacement - as reasons for withdrawing its coveted stamp of approval for the second time in five years.

Jake Fisher, head of auto testing for Consumer Reports, said this is the first time in recent memory the magazine has yanked its recommendation of the Civic for poor reliability scores, a surprise given Honda's long record for finishing near the top of the magazine's quality rankings.

Honda slipped two notches to number 10 in Consumer Reports' latest reliability study released on Monday, while rival Toyota Motor Corp. held steady with its Toyota and Lexus brands topping the list of most reliable brands.

Honda, in a statement, said it values both customer and third-party feedback and will continue "working diligently to enhance the usability and functionality of these in-demand technologies in our unrelenting effort to create new value for our customers."

General Motors Co.'s Buick brand jumped four spots to number 3 in the latest rankings, making it the first domestic brand in more than three decades to break into the top three for reliability.  Nissan Motor Co.'s luxury Infiniti brand climbed 16 notches to land in the top 10.

"We see across the board as auto makers introduce complex electronic systems they're having more problems," Mr. Fisher said.

Honda made extensive design changes when it overhauled the Civic for the 2016 model year, increasing the chances of problems occurring, he added.

Whereas Honda once took a more conservative approach to model redesigns - phasing in major changes over several years rather than all at once - it has become more aggressive in recent years in moving quickly to introduce new technology, Mr. Fisher said.

In 2011, Consumer Reports dropped its recommendation for the 2012 Honda Civic, citing "lower interior quality" and "a choppy ride, long-stopping distances and pronounced road noise."

Honda has also encountered other quality woes in recent years related to problems with faulty Takata Corp. air bags and multiple recalls on its subcompact Fit.

GM continues to improve in Consumer Reports' reliability rankings with its Chevrolet brand climbing five spots to number 15.  The Detroit car maker, however, continues to struggle with its large trucks and sport-utility vehicles, Mr. Fisher said, with the Cadillac Escalade ranking among the least reliable vehicles in this year's study.

Ford Motor Co. fell one spot to number 18, mostly because of problems with the dual-clutch transmissions in the Focus and Fiesta small-car models, while four brands owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV - Ram, Fiat, Chrysler and Dodge - ranked at the bottom of the pack in reliability.

Consumer Reports restored its recommendation for Tesla Motors Inc.'s Model S sedan after yanking the accolade last year due to problems ranging from battery charging issues to leaky sunroofs.

Tesla's overall score, however, landed it fifth from the bottom as continued reliability problems with its Model X sport-utility vehicle continue to dog its quality performance.

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01-25-16

GM REPORTS THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR OF RECORD GLOBAL SALES

Global Sales

  • GM #1 in North America, South America and China
  • Cadillac sales up 8 percent globally
  • Buick achieves third consecutive global sales record
  • Chevrolet sales in North America up 6 percent
  • Opel/Vauxhall post best European results since 2011

 

By General Motors, Detroit - General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) global sales totaled 9.8 million vehicles in 2015, up 0.2 percent for the company's third consecutive year of record sales.

"GM continued to grow in 2015 as our focus on the customer and successful new vehicle launches more than offset the challenging conditions in South America and the curtailment of our presence in certain markets such as Russia," said GM President Dan Ammann.

Deliveries in North America rose 6 percent in 2015 to 3.6 million cars, trucks and crossovers.  In the U.S., GM grew its retail sales, which are sales to individual customers, faster than any other automaker.

In China, General Motors and its joint ventures delivered a record 3.6 million vehicles, up 5 percent compared to 2014.  Their lineup expanded through the introduction of 12 new and refreshed models.  SUV deliveries were up 144 percent, led by new models such as the Buick Envision and Baojun 560.

In 2015, General Motors' cars, trucks and crossovers were leading automotive sales in China and its North American and South American regions.

GM has several major product launches underway around the world, including the new Opel Astra with more than 80,000 orders across  European markets and the new Chevrolet Malibu in North America, which began arriving in showrooms at the end of last year.

Global Sales Highlights (vs. 2014)

  • Chevrolet grew retail market share in the U.S. faster than any full-line automotive brand, with total sales up 5 percent to more than 2.1 million cars, trucks and crossovers.  Chevrolet sales in Canada increased 3 percent while sales in Mexico went up 18 percent.  Combined sales for the brand in North America were up 6 percent.
  • Buick set a global sales record for the third consecutive year, driven by record sales in China and record crossover deliveries in the United States.  Total sales surpassed 1.2 million vehicles.
  • Cadillac grew globally by 8 percent, driven by record sales in China and the strong growth in SRX and Escalade deliveries in the U.S.
  • GMC continued to grow and achieved its 6th consecutive year of sales gains.  Based on new and significantly refreshed products, deliveries grew 11 percent to 680,000 vehicles.
  • Opel/Vauxhall achieved its best sales result in four years delivering more than 1.1 million vehicles despite its strategic departure from the Russian market.  Share of the total European vehicle market increased for the third year in a row to nearly 6 percent.
  • In the U.S., GM's total sales were up 5 percent supported by the momentum of vehicles like the Chevrolet Silverado and Colorado, the GMC Sierra and record crossover deliveries.  Retail deliveries increased 8 percent.
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