A car that's more reliable is a direct result of design philosophy and may not necessarily be engineered better. That's the takeaway from the latest Consumer Reports used car reliability survey, which once again placed Toyota and Honda at the top, far ahead of carmakers based in North America and Europe.
"The engineering in American car companies is just as good or better than anywhere else in the world, as is the manufacturing," Jake Fisher, director of auto testing for Consumer Reports, told us. "It's just that there's a whole different design philosophy."
The reason American and European cars do so poorly in the magazine's annual owner reliability survey (appearing in the April issue) is that the automakers tend to incorporate more cutting-edge technology in their vehicles, Fisher said. Ford Motor Co., for example, plummeted in this year's reliability ratings, largely as a result of introducing new powertrains and chassis across much of its vehicle line. Similarly, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW received some poor marks after rolling out products that use eight-speed transmissions and turbocharged hybrid powertrains.
This also implies management and leaders are usually not as intelligent on the technology workings and its implications as the engineers. Also management and leaders place very intense deadlines on engineers to complete these new technologies which means the new development do not get enough time to mature.
I have owned one Honda, transmission ailed at 92,000 miles. 2003 Odyessy. Search on the wb, it has been a problem for some time. The roof leaks on occasion just over the end of the signal stalk. Very reluctant to ever own another Honda.
On the other hand, I have been delightes with my Nexus7 tablet. Muliple user accounts native under "Jelly Bean". Shared between all five members of my family.
"The engineering in American car companies is just as good or better..." This represents a fundamental misunderstanding of what engineers do. Design for reliability is as much an engineering discipline as is development of a gee-wiz navigation system user interface. If it isn't reliable, either engineering dropped the ball, or (more likely), marketing demanded the feature be placed into production before engineering completed their work. Bottom line: never buy a new car model the first year it is produced.
That just applies to almost everything, after many years I finally decided to buy a Samsung tablet ( I already owned 3 Apple devices). I had to give it a try. I bought a 7" galaxy tab for like $180, the tablet was not good quality, software was clunky, returned it after 2 days bought a 2nd iPad mini instead. My apple devices never had any major issue ,
Reliability is very IMportant, I also own 2 Honda, never had any issues,
I've noticed this effect for a long time, actually, that when US and European car manufacturers introduce whiz-bang new features, they don't do their homework first. It takes years and years for them to sort out the problems.
Remember the Vega aluminum sleeveless engine? What a disaster. Remember the early Chevy Corvair? Another disaster. This problem is not limited to electronics. It's the philosophy that the consumer will be the one to provide long-term reliability testing. Remember when, in search for lighter weight, GM installed the Turbohydramatic 200 transmission in V-8 cars? Another mistake. Remember how the Pontiac Fiero had become a market failure by the time GM finally got it right?
It ain't just electronics.
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