@Bunter: Good point about the variable valve timing innovation breakthrough. The Japanese have been making innovative breakthroughs also (so maybe their reliability is due to other factors besids just incremental refinement).
I also remember the 4 wheel steering innovation on the Honda Prelude years ago (and don't recall any reliability issues on this innovative breakthrough).
CR has been enamored with Honda since the Garden of Eden. Toyota is also infallible in their book. CR wouldn't acknowledge a top German or American product if we bribed them to do so... um, wait a minute.... ! !
Good points, D Hambley. Yes, automakers think Americans want cheapness over quality. If you watch television commercials, they also seem to think Americans want virility over quality. Why else could we be getting so many models that are called the SX, EX, XS, XE --gee, what could they be getting at?
The car rating magazines seem to have been in love with those Jap cars nearly forever, and that makes me suspect that they are just a bit subjective in their evaluations. Besides that, conservative design includes copying what others have already developed after it is possible to see just what variations were most widely accepted. And someplace in there is the consideration of cars being easy to work on and having aftermarket service parts available. And the Jap brands have been quite diligent about changing parts just a bit every year so that the aftermarket folks would have a hard time producing replacement parts. Not everybody notices that, but I certainly do.
So you cn go around telling everyone that your favorite brand is so very much "better" than others and if you say it often enough and with enough authoratative tone, a lot of folks can wind up believing you. And if you copy the good ideas of others after they are fully developed you have not only avoided the risk of something new, but also avoided the costs of developing something new. This leads to greater profits with less effort, doesn't it?
If you make the car too reliable and durable or easy to fix and repair, you will go out of business or be taken over by other companies.
Example Citroen, Rolls-Royce, Lada, etc.
And no matter how "bad" any car or how "good" any car statistically 50% of people will buy the same brand again, and 50% will want something "different" next time they buy vehicle.
Current vehicle advertising and promotions center about "infotainment" capabilities rather than anything else, and as we know any software and electronic technology is obsolete before you wear out your first set of tires.
Many years ago Porsche and Rolls-Royce were the ONLY two companies that carried spare parts for cars no longer in production, and both have given up on it.
In case of Porsche, some owners kept their cars for over 25 years, once the old part business was cancelled over 60% of them bought NEW Porsche, if they could no longer fix or maintain the old one conveniently.
In case of Rolls the value of the used cars plummeted and new vehicle sales collapsed as well. They auctioned off the entire RR inventory that dated back to 1930's one the Germans took them over.
And while sales of new Citroens in Europe are so so, there are people in France, Germany and Austria that make living keeping the DS 19 and 21 from 1960's still on the road and people will pay for them nearly the same price as they would for a new 2013 car.
But when you are OEM and make cars in millions the ultimate objective is to make profit and stay in business, reliability and durability are only important for "perception" which in consumer minds never matches with the reality anyway.
far911: The video that I saw very recently showed two fellows driving a battery-powered car "running on water", BUT the vehicle was designed in Israel, NOT Pakistan. Maybe the Pakistani auto empire has something even more technologically advanced.... could it be???
Except JD Powers and Consumer Reports know very little about cars, and even less about reliability since they don't have to work on them after they are 10 years or more old. It is pretty obvious that these magazines are just there to sell issues, are influenced by marketing more than engineering, and their results are based more on who gives them free loaners more than actual data.
The thesis is skewed. While Asian cars have excellent quality control, their cars are not really reliable at all. Because of their on demand view of supply, there can be over a half dozen different parts installed for any one component, over a period of time. That makes parts distribution nearly impossible, and make long term maintenance terrible on Asian cars. In contrast, it is much easier to get third party replacement parts for European cars. Basing quality ratings on consumer polls from magazines is terribly biased. The only real measure of reliability is resale value, and Europeans cars do much better than Asian.
A half century ago, cars were still built by people, not robots. Even on some of the country’s longest assembly lines, human workers installed windows, doors, hoods, engines, windshields, and batteries, with no robotic aid.
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