Made in the USA

I heard on WBZ yesterday morning that a recent Consumer Reports survey found that the reliability of GM cars has “improved drastically in the past year – with some GM brands outranking several European manufacturers.”

I have to admit, I was surprised. The American auto industry has always been a mystery to me. You have your loyalists, like my grandfather, who time after time buy a Lincoln Town Car or Chevy truck. These folks believe that buying an American-made car is a good way to support our country, and I give them a lot of credit for that.

Consumer Reports Cars, GM, Ford, Audi, BMW, MercedesWe’re very patriotic at our house – we have the flag hanging next to our front door and listen to John Phillips Sousa on the 4th of July. But my husband and I have wondered many a time – why is it so hard for America to design cars that actually look cool and work well when everyone else seems to be able to do it?

American cars have had a bad rap, but maybe things are starting to turn around. Performance is the real driver of reputation, and according to the Consumer Reports survey, GM and Ford are performing.

Across GM brands (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC), 69 percent of models had average or better-than-average reliability. Eighty-three percent of Chevrolets (GM’s major brand) achieved average or better scores in predicted reliability, up 50 percent from last year. And, some GM cars now outrank Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz in terms of reliability.

Ford also achieved a 90 percent average reliability rating (including Lincoln models).

Despite these results, American cars still trail Toyota and Honda in terms of reliability. We have a Toyota and a Honda, and while I’ve never driven a car to 200,000 miles, it’s nice to know that I could if I wanted to. When I heard the survey results yesterday – that American cars are now expected to exceed 100,000 miles – I couldn’t help but wonder: Why this is remarkable?

American car makers must continue to improve their product – both in design and functionality – if they’re going to rebuild their reputations. I genuinely hope this is the beginning of a new chapter for these corporations that have been, for so long, part of the fabric of our wonderful country. And, I hope that soon, it won’t be noteworthy that American cars can be relied on to go not 100,000, but 200,000 miles.

If anyone at GM is reading this, my colleague would really like a Buick LaCrosse, Regal, or Cadillac CTS Coupe.

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