Why do people buy car brands and models which seem forever at the bottom of independent car reliability charts?
In simple terms if motorists only ever bought the ‘best’ cars we’d need fewer car brands or models for sale. There’d be less scrappage, longer lasting environmentally-friendly cars but fewer franchised dealerships/car sales jobs.
There’d also be less choice at car shopping time and less competition to keep prices low – but presumably there’d be fewer complaints and more satisfied motorists?
I doubt it’s quite as simple as that but I hope you get my point…
Most women are practical car shoppers, come the time, but it’s also true we can buy with our hearts and not our heads. I hear ‘it looked so lovely on the forecourt’ many times when helping members sort out problems later.
I also know many high flying business women who need cars to ferry exhibition and promo materials around yet they buy sports cars with no onboard space. I’m thinking of one in particular with a tribe of young children who really needs a MPV or estate car but chose a pricey, high emissions, small booted Mini… But I’d never dare question or advise her otherwise!!
Whilst we women are good shoppers on the High Street we’re not always as well informed about cars and there’s something semi-irresistible about certain stylish brands or a fantastic used car deal, that we then wish we HAD resisted after we buy one.
Cars that Perform and Disappoint
Take for example the Dacia range of cars. They come in at the top of most surveys for remarkable value for money (because they are really cheap) and they top the Which? survey for reliability (but not the JD Power one). They are so basic there’s surely little that can go wrong? Yes, you won’t find them as enjoyable to drive as others in the same group but perhaps this isn’t important to you. But when you know to compare their Duster, for example, with other SUVs you’ll find it performs badly in crash tests and that there’s a lack of safety features too. This sort of thing does matter to most of us, I’d suggest.
Maybe you think that luxury brands are likely to perform better, at the opposite end of the budget scale, but there are winners and losers there too. For example, Land Rover scores badly for reliability and the new Discovery Sport (2015-) seems to have more than its fair share of electrical faults according to the new Which? Car Guide 2017/18.
See below for 2017 JD Power survey results, just released.
Tesla sits at the bottom of the Which? brand reliability chart for battery and electrical issues but for those that can afford their £61000 Model S, the car’s performance is rated at 5 star probably because it’s such an impressive trailblazer, we all admire Elon Musk and hopefully Teslas will become more affordable for the rest of us in due course.
Sticking with new technology, after big success with its ground breaking hybrid Prius, Toyota is trailblazing again with its hydrogen car, the Mirai. Whilst there are too few hydrogen filling stations as yet, this will surely change soon because these cars can recharge in minutes which will give hydrogen-fuelled cars the edge re range and emissions compared to yesterday’s hybrids and electric car competitors?
Consistently Reliable Brands
As you might expect, some brands and models are consistently reliable performers. Mazda’s MX5 is probably the most reliable sports car there is and the Mercedes-Benz SLK (2011-2016 models) does well in a different price bracket – but if there’s a problem it’ll be expensive to fix. And whilst Audi’s A3 Saloon is top of the Medium size car group it’s a Dieselgate VW Group offender together with excessive emission levels that would fail the old Euro 1 standard.
We particularly like Volvo and Suzuki Cars (and have special affinity deals to make sure women do too) so we weren’t at all surprised to see these brands perform (2nd and 4th respectively) in the 2017 JD Power’s UK Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) with Kia at the top, Skoda in 3rd place and Hyundai in 5th.
We like this survey because it comes from owners and not from a PR company.
Whereas, at the bottom of the VDS you’ll find Dacia, Fiat, Land Rover, Audi and BMW listed (from 5th bottom to bottom) which might come as a shock to many of these owner drivers.
Disappointing Car Brands
Whereas after Dieselgate, it’s unsurprising to see VW near the bottom of a UK brand reliability chart alongside Vauxhall with so many Zafiras and Corsas bursting into fire.
There are many brands and models in between all survey extremes but the purpose of this blog is to remind you to do your car buying homework before you buy any new car that isn’t at the top of your chart. You’ll soon know why if you do AND you could end up wasting time, money and stress sorting out problems that could have been avoided.
Of course, after you’ve decided on the car, you then need to decide if you buy the car online or at a local dealer. Just remember that if things go wrong after you buy, you may be expected to return it to the selling dealer to put right. And do you really want to travel hundreds of miles each way to get this sorted?
If you buy a car and it develops a fault within six months, make sure you know your rights within the Consumer Rights Act. You have rights within six months of purchase even if your dealer doesn’t acquaint you of these and how to claim them.
If things go wrong and you’d like commonsense 1:1 advice from me, you’ll need to be a Classic Member of FOXYLadyDrivers.com first. You’ll hear me start by saying things like ‘Be reasonable at all times and don’t lose your rag’ because cars do go wrong, it’s always stressful, these things are never simple/sorted overnight and ‘nice’ people get the most help, even if they have to resort to law afterwards. Whereas those that lose their cool and start threatening businesses usually get no help at all which makes it hard for me to intervene, reasonably, on any member’s behalf, at any time.
PS: The basis of this blog has been informed by the Which? Car Guide 2017-18, the 2017 JD Power UK Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) plus a wealth of anecdotal experience.