Cadillac Named Best American Brand in Consumer Reports Reliability Study

Consumer Reports has released the results of their 2012 Reliability Study. While the American brands didn’t crack the top 10 this year, Cadillac did come out on top of the US brands in the number 11 spot (and improved 14 points on their score from 2011).

Top brands in this years study were:

Scion, Toyota, Lexus, Mazda, Subaru, Honda, Acura, Audi, Infiniti, and Kia

You might wonder what makes this study different from the old faithful JD Power.

I’ll let an article on this subject from the New York Times explain (emphasis is ours):

The Initial Quality Study looks at problems owners have with their new vehicles in the first 90 days of ownership. It broadly defines problems as things that have “caused a complete breakdown or malfunction, or where controls or features may work as designed, but are difficult to use or understand.”

It gives equal weight to problems that are defects, which can be fixed, and elements that are working as intended, yet rankle owners; the latter cannot be fixed immediately, if ever.

The Consumer Reports survey asks respondents whether they have had any problems with their cars “in the past 12 months that you considered serious because of cost, failure, safety or downtime.”

So, while both leave it up to consumers to define a problem, Consumer Reports asks for any problems that are ‘serious’ where JD Power asks for ‘complete breakdown or malfunction’. Both are flawed in their own ways by allowing one owner to rate a failure as something worth reporting while another might overlook the problem and never put it on the survey.

Either way, we can see that Cadillac is marching up the rankings and making their buyers happier than in years past.