Last post on Dec 30, 2011 at 9:54 AM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Toyota ECHO, Chevrolet Aveo, Kia Rio, Nissan Sentra, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, Toyota Yaris, Kia Spectra, Suzuki Forenza, Sedan
#1890 of 3871 Quality or reliability?
Jun 11, 2002 (3:51 pm)
Major, since you seem to take a lot of stock in J.D. Powers' Initial Quality ratings (e.g., basing your opinion on the superiority of American, European, and Japanese cars over Korean cars based on these ratings), I'd appreciate your opinion of the following sample of J.D. Powers ratings on the Accent 4-door and ECHO:
Going across, the ratings are for the '01 Accent, the '01 ECHO, the '02 Accent, and the '02 ECHO:
Mechanical Quality: 2 3 2 3
Features and Accessorites Quality: 3 4 3 3
Body and Integrity Quality: 3 4 3 5
Performance: 2 2 3 3
Creature Comforts: 3 3 2 2
Style: 4 4 2 3
I am having trouble figuring out why these ratings changed so much from '01 to '02. The only ratings that were the same from one year to the next were for Mechanical Quality. But the Accent and ECHO did not change between '01 and '02. So why should the rating for the ECHO's Features and Accessory Quality decline from '01 to '02? Why should its rating for body and integrity quality improve? How come the Performance ratings for both the Accent and ECHO magically improve, when there were no powertrain upgrades from '01 to '02? How come the ratings for Creature Comforts magically decline for both cars, when there was no change in options? And most interestingly to me, why did both cars' Style ratings drop, the Accent's significantly so, when there were no changes to the style? To me, numbers like these bring out the subjective nature of the J.D. Powers surveys. What do you think?
Another thing that bothers me about J.D. Powers' IQ surveys is that it does not reflect long-term reliability, which to me is more important than how a car holds up over the first 90 days of ownership. There were a dozen vehicles that took first, second, or third place in the 2002 IQ survey but are rated worse than average or much worse than average in predicted long-term reliability per CR. And some models that scored very high in CR's survey, like the ECHO, PT Cruiser, Protege, G20, Maxima, Avalon, I35, Millenia, Lexus GS, Land Cruiser, and MPV, did not show up in the IQ winner's list. Given this discrepancy, which survey is a prospective buyer to take seriously? The one that celebrates the Corvette's class-leading quality, or the one that shows that it is one of the worst cars for predicted long-term reliability? Or do we take an intersection of the two surveys, meaning we all run out and buy a Toyota (not the ECHO) or Honda, or a large American car?
Or maybe we go out and buy the car we like driving the most, that also fits our budgets?
#1891 of 3871 RE: Quality or reliability
Jun 12, 2002 (9:50 am)
What you point out does not mean that the questions are subjective as some have said. Some of the change can be attributed to the fact that different people with different cars are surveyed each year. And the one area that you listed last [style] as proof of the subjectivness of the survey is always subjective. Thus it does not prove the entire survey is subjective.
And of course the JD Powers IQ survey does not address long term reliability or dependability. JD Powers has other surveys for that. The results for one of them (I forget which one) are published in November.
Jun 12, 2002 (10:00 am)
I don't know about you, but I would be really worried about the Rio's (or any car's) brakes (even if it does not have ABS) that they locked up so badly that the article mentions the lock ups.
I didn't see them mentioning this about the other two cars. It would be reasonable to believe that no lock ups occurred with the Accent or the Echo.
Or is this omission another case of sloppy, incompetent (to use "your" word) editing?
BTW, you are right that the Rio did not have ABS, but I did not rely on a guess to make that determination. I went to Carsdirect.com and I was able to equip a Rio for the exact same price that Motor Trend listed the price of "their" Rio being. ABS would have added about $400 to the price.
As far as what we consider the car mags to be (entertainment first), I bet that is not what they consider themselves to be or want themselves to be viewed as.
And in doing their job, isn't how they view themselves more important than how we view them?
Jun 12, 2002 (10:13 am)
The Motor Trend article is wrong in my opinion that's all. The reason I keep discussing it is that it happens to be the topic of discussion right now.
Jun 12, 2002 (10:15 am)
Lng, you don't think the price advantage might have something to do with the sales advantage the Accent holds over the Echo.
Since you equate good sales of the Accent with the idea it must be quality since "people don't buy junk", I guess that means you think the Yugo was quality too.
#1895 of 3871 Major re Subjective
Jun 12, 2002 (10:41 am)
>>> Some of the change can be attributed to the fact that different people with different cars are surveyed each year. <<< Isn't that really that a definition of subjective? That is, two different groups of people evaluate the same cars (different units, yes, but same powertrain, engine, and features) using the same criteria, and coming up with markedly different results? If the awards were objective, i.e. fact based, would they not come up with the same answers for both years? And Style is not the only subjective category in the survey; what I maintain is that the entire J.D. Powers survey is subjective, just as the entire CR reliability survey is subjective, because they both ask for opinions vs. basing awards and ratings on purely objective criteria. I'm not saying that it is a horrible thing that the surveys are subjective, just that those who read them should be aware of that.
Also, I'd say it should be more important to the editors of MT about what we the readers (customers) think about their magazine. We pay their salaries and their stockholders, after all.
As to how they view themselves... have you read an MT lately, cover to cover? The jokes? The snide editors remarks in the Letters to the Editor? If it's not entertainment, it sure isn't news.
Yes, MT is the topic of discussion right now, but I've noticed no one else tends to make 4 (or more) posts in a row on a topic as you tend to do when someone has made a negative comment about the ECHO.
Jun 12, 2002 (10:54 am)
The simple (and honest) explanation for why I post so much is I have a lot of time on my hands before I go to work. I will reread posts (from others and myself) and think of something more to say. These two factors translate into a lot of posts.
To know if the JD Powers survey is subjective would require our knowing exactly what questions they ask and how they ask them. If JD Powers simply asks about problems with the power train (or other items), than different cars being the object of the questions would explain the difference. Or do you think that one car is built exactly the same as the next as they roll off the assembly line?
You can make the questions about many of the areas in the JD Powers survey objective ones. But you can't make the questions about style objective given this is an inherently subjective matter. That is my point.
As regards to MT, I think they want to view themselves as an authoritative automotive information source presented in an entertaining fashion. I think their snide comments shows how they view us. Now, if their snide remarks leads to a significant drop in circulation (which would mean a drop in prices they could charge in ads) and they are shown the reason why, the snide comments will stop.
Jun 12, 2002 (10:58 am)
Motor Trend wonders if an econo car will still be fun after it ceases being a new car. Paraphrasing here as I do not want the post pulled for copyright violations.
Anyway, perhaps they should have asked actual owners of the cars in question.
I have had my car since December of 2000 and it now has over 37,000 miles on it. Do I still enjoy driving it? You betcha. Does it still drive like it did when I first bought it with 55 miles on the odo? Yep.
Jun 12, 2002 (11:46 am)
Of course the Accent's leadership in value helps increase sales. What that says is that more people are beginning to feel that the extra money spent on the Toyota name isn't worth it. They can't decipher a big enough difference in quality to justify the much higher price. If they could, don't you think they would be smart enough to spend a few $k more to ensure their hard earned money isnt wasted on a money pit? If I had thought my Accent was going to be a piece of junk, I wouldn't have bought it. The aura of quality and how well it drove impressed me so much I didn't even bother to look at anything else after the test drive. I had confidence that it was built well and would be a good car, despite what others told me, and my intuition has proven correct. By the way, comparing Accent sales to Yugo sales is silly at best. First, Yugos started at around 5k, therefore, they attracted the few who absolutely wanted a new car but couldn't afford even the cheapest ones from everyone else. Secondly, Yugo sales never got anywhere close to what Hyundai sales are. Hyundai sold around 70k Accents last year alone.
As for mentioning locking brakes, I have read many articles that had concerns with it. It's rather common. It's just that some cars have poorer front-rear balance, brake modulation, and brake fade and therefore lock their brakes up easier. Car mags only mention it when it significantly lengthens the stopping distance. I guarantee you the Echo and Accent locked their brakes too, just to a lesser extent. I know my right front brake locks up quite easily, especially if the road is wet. By the way, the type of tire can also significantly impact a car's tendency to lock its brakes. The smaller the tire, the easier it is to lock the brakes, because the footprint is smaller and they have less traction. Performance oriented tires also decrease lockup because they have better traction then touring tires.
Jun 12, 2002 (4:43 pm)
>>> You can make the questions about many of the areas in the JD Powers survey objective ones. <<< Yes, I agree, it would be possible to frame objective questions for the J.D. Powers surveys. For example, they could ask about Performance in this way: Please accurately measure your vehicle's performance, using the techniques described on the back page of this survey form, in the following categories, and then rate them on the following scale: Acceleration, 0-60: 5 = under 6 seconds; 4 = 6-6.9 seconds; 3 = 7-7.9 seconds; 2 = 8-8.9 seconds, 1 = 9 seconds or more. Stopping distance, 60-0: 5 = under 130 feet; 4 = 131-140 feet; 3 = 141-150 feet; 2 = 151-160 feet; 1 = over 160 feet. Slalom time: ... well, you get the idea. I'm not so sure how one would frame objective questions to categories like Creature Comforts. What would be an objective measure of comfort? I have purchased or leased 11 new vehicles in my life. I have never been sent a J.D. Powers survey. (Hmm... who gets those surveys, anyway?) Perhaps someone who has seen a survey can tell us whether the questions on that survey are along the lines of my examples above, or if they are more like this: Please rate your vehicle in the following categories: Acceleration: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Average, 2 = Below Average, 1 = Poor. Braking: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Average, 2 = Below Average, 1 = Poor. ... I would be very surprised if the J.D. Powers survey's questions were of the objective type as I tried to demonstrate above, due to the difficulty of coming up with objective measures for these categories and the effort it would take respondees to accurately and consistently take those measurements. I have, however, responded to many CR reliability surveys, so I know for a fact that they are totally subjective. I am glad you are having a pleasant ownership experience with your ECHO. Ditto with me and my Hyundai. But I guess everyone else is supposed to discount our experiences because they are opinions of single individuals?