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Do the worst car companies really make the worst cars?

Gasp! Who'da thought?

The Truth About Cars has just published their 2008 Ten Worst Autos list. And the winners (?) are:

10. Chevy TrailBlazer / GMC Envoy / Isuzu Ascender / Saab 9-7X
9. VW Routan
6. Dodge Nitro
5. Dodge Caliber
4. Chrysler Aspen / Dodge Durango
3. Chevrolet Aveo
2. Jeep Compass
1. Chrysler Sebring / Dodge Avenger

Notice anything interesting?

Uh-huh -- 9 out of those 10 cars are made by GM or Chrysler, and the VW Routan is widely considered to be nothing more than a bad copy of the Dodge Caravan.

All ten of these vehicles are currently in 2009 model year production.

Yep. I'm feeling better about that auto bailout already ...


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Comments (19)

I dont agree with any bailo... (Below threshold)

I dont agree with any bailouts. People need to tighten their belts and work thru the rough times, balance the budget, and dont spend money they dont have.

I don't understand their cr... (Below threshold)

I don't understand their criteria for worst car. Is it just some greenie, environmentally friendly bullshit? I'm no fan of the bailout, but American car companies are still making good cars. I love my 2006 Durango. One of the best vehicles I've ever driven.

i have never even considere... (Below threshold)

i have never even considered buying an american car after growing up riding in the ones my dad always bought; allegedly higher-end family sedans and even a sports car that all fell apart after 2 years, causing endless problems and quite enough embarassment to deal with

but i do believe america can save its auto industry, and that we should. if honda can build a good car in our country and turn a profit then so can we. the bailout is a loan for a sector of the economy that we cannot afford to lose. if the UAW needs its back broken for a return to profitability then so be it, but it would have to follow after a return to quality. this is one of those very rare occasions where i agree unreservedly with bu$h

Over the years I have bough... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Over the years I have bought five new American cars, trucks and a van. I've had Ford, Chevy, and Dodge. Then I started reading Consumer Reports, which lead me buy Honda and Toyota. What I want in a vehicle is good value, good mileage for the class, and high long term quality. Of the big 3 only Ford has been able to match the quality of the top Asian brands, but only on some models. If Ford can deliver high long term quality on all their models, like the top Asian brands do, then they will be able to compete. GM has a long ways to go and I doubt Chryslers can ever make the grade.

What makes for high quality is management that won't accept anything less and is willing to pay for the infrastructure, the research, the engineering, good materials, worker training, and modern production equipment.

Maybe the bailout will help some of the big 3 turn things around, but I doubt it and that's the key. If a large number of people in the market for cars doubt the big 3 will survive then they likely won't.

Hmmm, seems like some stupi... (Below threshold)
Jojo BoZley:

Hmmm, seems like some stupid on line poll from a lame car web site. The Hummer H2 smokes your pathetic Prius, I'm sorry.

No doubt, some of these cars are a waste of time to make and I agree the Big 3 must refine their line up to be more profitable. But the poll is just a poll....of on line car geeks.

I call BULLSHIT on #10. I ... (Below threshold)

I call BULLSHIT on #10. I have leased 3 trailblazers, and I love them to death. I leased an Outlook to get better gas mileage, and if I could terminate the lease and get the last year of Trailblazers I would do it in a second. Other than the 15 MPG, it is an awesome vehicle.
(disclosure notice: I work for GM, I'm not a UAW member.)
I'm against bailouts, I would prefer bankruptcy, but most of the commenters on the right leaning sites I frequent (yes, I am a conservative) have zero idea about the problems that would ensue. I don't have enough room here to describe the entire scenario, but it would be much worse than a lot of people let on.

I think the funny thing abo... (Below threshold)

I think the funny thing about this list is that it obviously focused strictly on the American car market. i swear that people think in mystical magial Europe-land everyone drives around in their Audi, Porsche, BMW, Mercedes and other high end lux vehicles. And those in the United Kingdom drive Jags and Aston Martins. The reality is MUCH different. Anyone who has taken a trip to europe and Uk knows that the people there get the same stupid crap we get. Its just not exported here to the US. We only export our high end cars to Europe and they do the same. No one in the US wants to drive the Nissan Micro or the Vaxhaul anything.

In all fairness the US automaker is overburdened by many things that have been talked about, but one of the ones that hasnt is the same model/ different marquee thing we do here. Do we really need a Ford Explorer and a Mercury Mountaineer? They are the same car with different badges and interiors. A better solution is to make an up-market Ford Explorer that IS the Mountaineer and sell it at a premium but as a Ford and do away with Mercury. The day of brand loyalty is gone so deal with it. GM does not need Pontiac and Chevy. Having so many of the same model does nothing but create unneeded inventory, bloated union rolls and wasted production time on the assembly line. GM and Ford have proven they can play with the big dogs with the ZR1 and the Ford GT supercars. The GT was hindered by low build numbers and a bit of quality control issues, but anyone who has seriously owned a highend supercar like a Ferrari or Lambo knows that is part of the deal with supercars. But the ZR1 is setting world records for speed and performance.

Minimize the # of similar models and offer more options instead. Options are cheaper to produce and offer vs whole models.

We also need to allow for small manufacters to skip certain levels of EPA and NHTSA testing. Sorry thats the way it needs to be. If you make less than 500 cars a year, you should have to pass a simple sniff test and no crash tests. Upon purchase of the car, you sign a waiver stating that you understand the inherent risks in buying this car as it is not built to the same specs as a mass produced car. What this will lead to is more jobs in manuf and engineering and more importantly, the opportunity to develop at a cheaper cost, new technologies for the future of the auto industry. How many time shave we seen it in other tech sectors? Flat screen TVs cost a fortune 5 years ago. Today they are the ONLY TVs you can buy and cost the same or close to the same as an old style TV cost! Allowing new technology to develop on a cheaper scale allows it to get to the consumer faster and it allows for the larger Ford and GM to lease the tech licence for their cars and improve the tech. It gets to them and the consumer cheaper because they lose the development costs or at least they are slashed to fractions of what they used to be. Sure some people like myself will take advantage to build a sick and nasty supercar,(less than 500 a year IF that) but other people will have the incentive to develop "green" technology and wont be handcuffed by the govt.

its too bad that Uhh-bama wont do this because it removes all control from him and allows for American ingenuity and spirit to be released. He cant have that.

Currently my family drives ... (Below threshold)

Currently my family drives a 2005 Chrysler Pacifica and a 2004 Oldsmobile Alero. We absolutely love the Pacifica, which obviously benefits from Daimler's styling and engineering expertise. The Alero is a piece of junk - a cramped, cheap interior, squeaky brakes, and noticeably underpowered. Fortunately we bought it used. Had I paid full sticker price for it, I would have been pissed.

Yeah, most UAW made product... (Below threshold)

Yeah, most UAW made products are in the bottom tier of their markets. The products they manufacture are substandard and even more dangerous compared to others.

Their companies need to be allowed to fail in the short term so companies with good products and real jobs can rise to take their place. Otherwise, in the long run, we will have no jobs as the rest of us have to carry these deadbeats until they die.

The Routan IS a Chrysler va... (Below threshold)
Bill Johnson:

The Routan IS a Chrysler van, just rebadged. Thus, all 10 are domestic.

Having as my newest car a 1997 model, I decline to comment on these models myself.

Checking Consumer Reports I... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Checking Consumer Reports I see that the highest quality American Family cars are the Ford Fusion (4-cyl) and the Mercury Milan (4-cyl), both of which are only outranked by the Toyota Prius. The Ford Fusion V6 and Mercury Milan V6 are in the top 10 and beat out anything from Honda and Hyundai. All of these cars have much better than average long term reliability, which is something I demand in a new car. This shows that at least Ford can build true world class cars. Now if Ford can expand that know how from the Fusion and Milan into all of their models I would consider a Ford from my next new car.

As Bill Johnston pointed ou... (Below threshold)

As Bill Johnston pointed out - the VW is a Chrysler - so why isn't the Chrysler on the list?

I recently rented a trailblazer on vacation. It was almost nice, but oh so cheap under the covers. I've always wondered what automotive writers meant when they were writing about a lack of 'on-center' feel. The Trailblazer is the poster child for that feel (it only had 13,000 miles on it, so it couldn't have been clapped-out already).

It figures. I just won one... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

It figures. I just won one of each in my local Albertson's "Ten cars in ten days" sweepstakes. Isn't that always the way?

I'm sure surprised to see a... (Below threshold)

I'm sure surprised to see any Jeep here on this list. I just bought a Jeep Cherokee recently, and I'm sure glad I did. We have 21 degree weather and about 11 inches of snow on the ground in Portland, and this trustworthy great vehicle brought me safely up to Safeway to buy some groceries and pet food while many other folks had to stay home with their less snow-worthy vehicles. And without tire chains as well. What can I say. Jeeps are great trucks.

Despite anecdotal evidence ... (Below threshold)

Despite anecdotal evidence that some people like some of these cars, sales figures and profitability are some of the main real world measurements. The Big Three are in trouble because they do not have enough market share and aren't making enough profits.

I think the bail out is just delaying the inevitable.

When Lee Iacocca reuqested assistance funds from congress in the 80's to bail out Chrysler, he reduced his salary to $1 p.a. He put his b*lls on the line and turned Chrysler around and repaid all the loans early. None of the current CEOs seem to be in a hurry to put their money where their mouths are.

So we prop up these companies who are led by guys who this very situation proves are no good at their jobs. If they don't change the people, nothing will change and this situation will be repeated way too soon.

I have a 2000 Z71 Tahoe. I... (Below threshold)

I have a 2000 Z71 Tahoe. I could think of a bunch of stupid things that could have been done better in making this high-dollar car. You can hear air whistling around the windshield while driving: always have. The air vents have those little wheels that are supposed to open and close vents, but they don't work. The vents don't close and no matter which way you turn them, they still blow right on you. The seat warmers stopped working 5 years ago. The electric locks stopped working 4 years ago. The transmission went out completely 4 years ago. The back windows only roll down about three inches because of the rear wheel well design. The dashboard started cracking 3 years ago.

My husband has babied this car. Regular checkups, oil changes, armorall, the whole nine yards, since day one.

My Jeep Wrangler is a '97. Never been in the shop. Not once, except for tires and brakes and I bought a new canvass top for it about 4 years ago.

It's an online poll--for al... (Below threshold)

It's an online poll--for all that this implies.

For the most up-to-date vehicle reliability information:


We have bought US made ve... (Below threshold)

We have bought US made vehicles but none on the attached are any of the ones we have bought.

The vehicles we have bought average at least 10 years and many times longer. They are reliable and safe.
We are very pleased with our vehicles.

michael: the survey is good but only has 2008 and 2007 in it.

This ship will sink. The T... (Below threshold)

This ship will sink. The Titanic never had it so bad.






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