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April Conumer Reports issue--minivan reliability
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Dan
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2003 5:00 pm    Post subject: April Conumer Reports issue--minivan reliability Reply with quote

Got the April Annual Auto Issue of Consumer Reports in the mail the other day.

For reliability based on reader's feedback, the top four are:

1) Toyota Sienna
2) Mazda MPV
3) Honda Odyssey
4) Kia Sedona
Note that the Sienna and MPV were nearly even, and the difference is probably not significant. The Odyssey was above average, but not in the same league as the Sienna and MPV. These are the only three that are 'above average'. The 'average' is taken for all vehicles regardless of type, and minivans as a class rate poorer than average so most minivans are 'below average'.

The Kia Sedona was slightly below average, but still noticeably better than the next minivan, the Chevrolet Venture and siblings. The Kia was only scored on one model year (which may have skewed the numbers in its favor); the other vans were all scored for at least two model years.

The rest of the minivans were in the following order:

5) Venture/Silhouette/Montana
6) Chrysler T&C/Dodge GC
7) Ford Windstar
8) Voyager/Caravan(V6)
9) Astro/Safari

Also in the same issue they gave a preliminary report on the Mazda6, and it was fairly favorable. A full report will be in next month's issue. The 6 also graced the cover of the magazine.

[b:a970de293f]Dan[/b:a970de293f]
2001 Rainforest Green LX (164,795 miles)--Minnie (The vacationator)
2006 Honda Civic EX with NAVI and 5sp MT (102,338 miles, new block at 89K) (Dan's daily driver)--Blue Car
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javadoc
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2003 5:09 pm    Post subject: Re: April Conumer Reports issue--minivan reliability Reply with quote

That report is not good news for the DC van folks. Their van is way down there in the rankings. However, you normally hear the Dodge commercials quoting JDPower 'initial' quality figures.

I think it's good that the Kia is fairing well. I don't really like that van, but maybe they're producing a good product now. Slightly below average is actually a good thing for a Kia car, so kudos! That, and they've got a good warranty to help out with that slightly below average rating.

The Sienna has been quite the quality trooper, hasn't it?
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SilverMachZTS
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2003 10:59 am    Post subject: Re: April Conumer Reports issue--minivan reliability Reply with quote

javadoc wrote:

The Sienna has been quite the quality trooper, hasn't it?



Hopefully it will carry over into the '04 models. I'm waiting for my dealer to call so I can go look at one. Should be in in about a week or so.
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Dan
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2003 11:29 am    Post subject: Re: April Conumer Reports issue--minivan reliability Reply with quote

Kind of sad that the top four are all Asian nameplates, and the bottom five are all North American. It would be nice if some of the domestic manufacturers had better reliability reports. But I am glad that there are several decent models (in terms of reliability) to choose from, and I hope Kia can hang in there with its current rating (or get better). It's nice to think/hope that someone can buy an inexpensive van and not have to have it down for repairs and problems frequently.

Also, I am not forgetting that Odyssey's are built in the U.S.

[b:a970de293f]Dan[/b:a970de293f]
2001 Rainforest Green LX (164,795 miles)--Minnie (The vacationator)
2006 Honda Civic EX with NAVI and 5sp MT (102,338 miles, new block at 89K) (Dan's daily driver)--Blue Car
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javadoc
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2003 11:40 am    Post subject: Re: April Conumer Reports issue--minivan reliability Reply with quote

I think it goes back to the design process, as well as the supplier choices, and less of where they are actually built. Domestic companies tend to source their parts from the lowest bidder on their RFP, while Japanese (for example) companies tend to stay with a supplier for a long time, nurturing a relationship. From my studies on the Japanese economic machine, their business philosophies are heavily geared towards relationships... while ours over here seem to be geared mainly to the profit margin. Interesting, I think.

IIRC, the Sienna is domestically assembled, as well.
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Dan
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2003 11:57 am    Post subject: Re: April Conumer Reports issue--minivan reliability Reply with quote

Interesting comments and observations, Scott.
[b:a970de293f]Dan[/b:a970de293f]
2001 Rainforest Green LX (164,795 miles)--Minnie (The vacationator)
2006 Honda Civic EX with NAVI and 5sp MT (102,338 miles, new block at 89K) (Dan's daily driver)--Blue Car
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javadoc
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2003 2:09 pm    Post subject: Re: April Conumer Reports issue--minivan reliability Reply with quote

I minored in Int'l Economics... so my brain thinks this way. It's a curse, believe me. Confused

An interesting twist on the 'quality by design, not by geography' train of thinking, is S.American-built VWs. These cars were (not sure anymore) of lower overall quality and have higher incidents of failure than their Wolfsburg (or Dutch)-built brethren. 'But wait,' you say... 'you wrote that quality came from the design and vendor choices.'

Ah, well I've not researched this, but I would guess that the S.American-built VWs are built w/S.American vendor supplies and not the normal VW-Europe vendors. I'm sure there's enough VW buffs here to set me straight, but that's my theory.

So, Ford is a prime, almost too easy, company to pick on. When Ford has a new part that they've designed for, say... a defroster control switch, they put this item (and it's specs) out to bid, on a Request for Proposal (RFP) to any and all vendors that may wish to supply Ford w/their new defroster switch. The Proposals flow in from everywhere, because let's face it, Ford wants 2million of these things in the next 2Qs so buisines would be good if you snagged that gig, right? Ford almost always picks the lowest bidder on 'soft parts,' meaning parts like electronics, switchgear, seals, seat coverings, HVAC motors, water pumps (I've been told at least)... items not related to the overall performance of the car.

So, lowest bidder gets the Award of the contract... and since they were rock bottom, you can almost count on the fact that their margin was super low, and therefore they may cut corners, or may use inferior finishing processes. This may just end up as a rougher surface, cheaper looking plastic trim, or a water pump w/a plastic impeller which fails prematurely. Hmmm, heard that one before, haven't we?

The vendor doesn't really care about wowing Ford, b/c Ford has no loyalty to the vendor, no long-term relationship. Their contract is over after the 2million switches have been made, and maybe extras if the new part is for a popular model line-up. So, just pump out the parts for the client (Ford in this case), and then bid on the next RFP that comes down the pipe... quality doesn't really matter.

Whew... you'd think I wrote a 40pg paper on the subject or something! Wink


Last edited by javadoc on Wed Mar 05, 2003 2:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Dan
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2003 2:15 pm    Post subject: Re: April Conumer Reports issue--minivan reliability Reply with quote

The Sienna had been built in Georgetown, Kentucky but starting with the 2004 model year it will be built in Princeton, Indiana.
[b:a970de293f]Dan[/b:a970de293f]
2001 Rainforest Green LX (164,795 miles)--Minnie (The vacationator)
2006 Honda Civic EX with NAVI and 5sp MT (102,338 miles, new block at 89K) (Dan's daily driver)--Blue Car
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osakampv
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2003 11:39 am    Post subject: Re: April Conumer Reports issue--minivan reliability Reply with quote

I’m glad to win the second place, since the general reputation in Japan on Mazda isn’t always so good as Honda and Toyota, and also believe the high quality wouldn’t have been maintained without well-trained excellent employee and a lot of severe voice of consumers in the North American market.

Many Japanese auto-parts manufacturers have transferred to North America and South East Asia along with Japanese car manufactures over the past fifteen years or so.
I think the strong relationship between the suppliers and car-manufacturers, which is called “Keiretsu Maker” in Japanese, is getting weak year-by-year, but its relationship is still stronger than that of America.
It seems that most of Japanese car manufactures tend to require the same high quality and strict specifications of all suppliers outside Japan as well as Japan in order to have the customers satisfy.

I found an interesting web site regarding European and Japanese companies including many kinds of car industries.
Someone who participates in this forum might be working there now.
http://www.cinergy.com/Economic_Development/Greater_Cincinnati/default_1771.asp

Thanks for an interesting topic.

Toshiki
'01 Mazda MPV 4WD SPORTS
'02 Mazda AZ-WAGON
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Dan
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2003 7:12 pm    Post subject: Re: April Conumer Reports issue--minivan reliability Reply with quote

osakampv wrote:
I?m glad to win the second place, since the general reputation in Japan on Mazda isn?t always so good as Honda and Toyota...


As mentioned earlier, the difference between first place (Toyota) and second place (Mazda) was so small as not to be significant and that it would probably be fair to call it a tie for first place.

[b:a970de293f]Dan[/b:a970de293f]
2001 Rainforest Green LX (164,795 miles)--Minnie (The vacationator)
2006 Honda Civic EX with NAVI and 5sp MT (102,338 miles, new block at 89K) (Dan's daily driver)--Blue Car
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2003 12:25 am    Post subject: Re: April Conumer Reports issue--minivan reliability Reply with quote

Toshiki, your command of the English language astounds me!

Thank you for the input regarding “Keiretsu Maker." I was trying to remember the phrase, but it'd been a while.
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JimMPV
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2003 9:11 am    Post subject: Re: April Conumer Reports issue--minivan reliability Reply with quote

I think that the new Toyota Sienna and the Nissan Quest are both funny looking. They look too complicated, as compared to the simple appealing design of the MPV. I read in Automotive Design & Manufacturing magazine about how "clever" Toyota was to put the sliding door track under the rear glass! Big deal, Mazda, along with Ford and Chrysler have had it for around 3 years now. The Odyssey has it in the rear fender panel, which does detract from the lines of the body. The Sienna does have some neat seat configurations now, with the 60/40 split rear seat seat that can tuck into the floor individually. The MPV has good seat adjustments too. The Sienna is also much more expensive! What does everyone else think?
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2003 4:46 pm    Post subject: Re: April Conumer Reports issue--minivan reliability Reply with quote

Yeah, and guess what. The Sienna now has the innovative feature of roll down windows in the sliding door. How wonderful!!!

Oh, wait... The windows in my MPV also roll down. Hmm. Laughing
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osakampv
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2003 11:27 am    Post subject: Re: April Conumer Reports issue--minivan reliability Reply with quote

Unfortunately, we Japanese never seem to be able to drive the real one, but if new Sienna or Quest should be imported into Japan, it would be much costly like current Lagreat, Odyssey in North America.

No one has discussed about the Chevrolet Astro.
As to the Chevrolet Astro that is one of the representatives of American minivan of which Japanese folks who are very interested in the American cars are enamored, it may be making a good fight for its age among the latest contenders.
I'm wondering about why quite a few people who reside in North America choose the finished (mature) Astro over the latest minivans.

Scott,
I remember you were kind enough to answer my question about the Astro on E's forum before. Wink

Toshiki
'01 Mazda MPV 4WD SPORTS
'02 Mazda AZ-WAGON
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