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20 cars in the quality check: negligence and orange peel

Hans-Dieter Seufert
20 cars undergoing a tough quality check
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The picture is confusing. A brand new Lexus CT 200h is parked there by chance next to a ten-year-old Opel Corsa, and the old small car shows smaller gaps than the supposed king of perfection from Japan. It was clear that the great quality check by a uto motor und sport would bring surprises, but not how big they would be.

But one after the other. When it comes to a car, the customer generally understands quality to mean both its reliability and its appearance. Freedom from defects and clean workmanship are among the most important customer requirements, regardless of whether it is a small car or a luxury model. To check the reliability, auto motor und sport evaluated its long-term tests as well as Dekra deficiency reports and reader surveys. That gives a clear picture: Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Toyota take the lead here.

BMW X5 and Toyota Yaris with high error rate

auto motor und sport long-term test, the large SUV X5 was noticed with a high error rate, at Toyota it was again the small car Yaris. It pulls the otherwise almost flawless endurance test record of the Japanese manufacturer down. The Mercedes small car brand Smart, on the other hand, has a below-average result in the Dekra Deficiency Index, which is all the more annoying since the C-Class is top in the same index.

VW more or less misses in all relevant examination points the top and can therefore not stand out significantly from Kia and Opel. While these two have both good endurance test and Dekra examination results, their own drivers still see the reliability significantly worse than at VW. It must be noted, however, that experiences with older models play a greater role in the reader survey.

Bad results at Ford, Fiat and Peugeot

Ford, Fiat and Peugeot rank - in this order - with consistently bad results at the end of the long-term evaluation. According to the auto motor und sport survey 'The best cars', only 14 percent of Fiat and only 22 percent of Peugeot drivers attest their brand to a high level of reliability, at Ford it is at least 41 percent.

An image that, surprisingly, does not change much when testing the quality impression. Contrary to the popular opinion that showroom and long-term quality are two completely different hats, these ratings clearly correspond in the test. Fiat and Peugeot are by far the most careless assembling of their cars. Partly unclean gaps, poor shape quality of the sheet metal (especially Fiat) and crooked interiors unite the two bottom lights. While Peugeot tries hard to make a good first impression, at least when it comes to the material quality with metal cladding and high-gloss paintwork, the very unpleasant plastic vapors in the Fiat Panda are immediately noticeable.

Opel and Ford mediocre

Opel and Ford are equally mediocre in the reader survey and in the quality check, but both with individual weaknesses: Both the Opel Insignia and the Corsa With strong orange peel and color deviations, they bring up the rear in the paintwork rating. A faux pas that the low noise level on the rough road does not make up for. Ford annoys its customers with cheap-looking panels and different gaps. After all, the proportion of hard plastic in the S-Max dashboard is lower than in the VW CC.

Kia would have every chance of getting even closer to VW move closer, but while the small car Rio is assembled above average neatly, the Optima with its poorly fitted light units and the exposed cables in the trunk only achieves below average results.

At VW and Toyota /Lexus, the test car quality confirms the opinion of the drivers: Up and CC are designed much more carefully than iQ and CT 200h. The compact Lexus in particular disappoints in this chapter and thus also confirms that the luxury brand received a dramatic 16 percentage points less than in the previous year in the 2012 auto motor und sport survey.

The podium The three German premium manufacturers get placements, withBMW /Mini allow negligence in paint quality and fits. So it is only just enough to make second place behind Mercedes. At the Swabian car manufacturer, despite the outstanding workmanship and paint quality of the C-Class, as in the reliability evaluation, the subsidiary Smart is the result. When it comes to their small car brands, both Mercedes and BMW are unpleasantly careless. Audi does not allow itself to do that, because the Ingolstadt-based carmaker shows remarkable perfection in both the A1 and the A4 and clearly wins.

Conclusion of the quality -Checks

If you believe the automobile manufacturers, nowadays almost everyone is at the limit of what is possible in terms of quality. But our test shows a different picture: orange peel paint even in the premium range and wavy sheet metal parts that indicate worn out punching machines, crooked fits, exposed cables, fraying pieces of fabric, sharp plastic ridges and sometimes even a penetrating plastic smell. There is still a lot in the way of it. Cars have to be carefully assembled across all classes. After all, a little chrome chichi can't hide the sloppy way of working. The test also clearly shows that this has negative consequences in terms of both the quality of appearance and reliability. A neatly assembled car not only looks more elegant, it also lasts longer.

However, the two really big ones in the test have some catching up to do: VW has to improve on reliability and is also already feeling that in the small car sector hot breath from Kia on the neck. Toyota, on the other hand, has to discard its negligence in detail, otherwise the negative survey trend will continue to decline for the former quality leader. That in turn is currently clearly called Audi.

This is how testing was carried out

The major quality test is divided into two areas: the reliability or long-term durability and the quality of appearance. The level of reliability was determined on the basis of three investigations: the Dekra Deficiency Index, whereby the values ​​in the small, compact and middle-class segment for cars with 50,000 to 100,000 km of mileage were compared for better comparability. During the analysis of the auto motor und sport endurance tests, the average of the assigned failure points per car was determined.

In addition, the results from the auto motor und sport -readers' choice 'The best cars'. This is based on the statements made by the drivers of the respective brand. The assessment of the quality of the impression is also divided into three areas: on the one hand, the results from the readers' poll 'The best cars', on the other hand, a large quality study - divided into interior and exterior quality. One small car and one mid-range model were represented per manufacturer according to the following criteriatested: basic quality impression, accuracy of fit, burrs, fabric and leather processing, haptics, cladding quality, gap dimensions, paint quality and noise development (creaking, crackling).


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