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Is Chevy More Reliable Than Toyota, Honda, Ford, and 23 Other Brands???

When you think of car brands that are the most reliable, you would probably name Lexus, Toyota, perhaps Honda, and a few others. But a new commercial from Chevrolet says you better think again. It claims that Chevrolet is more reliable than Toyota, Honda, Ford, and 23 other brands.

The commercial shows real owners of other car brands being surprised when the spokesperson reveals that “Based on a recent survey, Chevy is more reliable than Toyota, Honda, and Ford.” At the end of the ad, four 2019 Chevrolet vehicles are unveiled and the claim is repeated and expanded to include 23 other car brands.

In case you missed it, there was a little fine print disclaimer on the screen for about three seconds.


Chevy disclaimer

This informs the viewer of something very important. They are relying on the results of a study of 2015 cars to make a broad claim about Chevy’s reliability today. Really?

The 2018 study indicates that close to 50,000 car owners returned surveys indicating whether their 2015 vehicle needed repairs in the prior 12 months. In essence, this is getting feedback on repairs needed in the third year of ownership.

To check how legitimate Chevy’s reliability claim is, we reviewed the dependability studies of two prominent and well-respected sources — J.D. Power and Associates and Consumer Reports.

J.D. Power questioned about 37,000 owners of 2015 vehicles in late 2017 for their 2018 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study. Here are their results:

JD Power vehicle dependability study

This study is most like the one done by Chevy because it focuses on 2015 vehicles and asks about problems that needed fixing in the third year of ownership. It supports Chevy’s overall conclusions about the reliability of their 2015 cars compared to the competition.

Consumer Reports, however, does its reliability studies differently, aggregating survey data from about half a million of their readers for 2000 to 2018 vehicles combined. It asks about problems that car owners have experienced in the past 12 months, as well as other issues. This is a much larger universe and provides a broader prospective on predicted reliability using a span of model years, not just one.

Consumer Reports Reliability Rank
(2000-2018 Vehicles)

Consumer Reports Reliability Rank

The magazine paints an entirely different picture of Chevy reliability, ranking it in the bottom quarter of car brands, and below the brands it said it beat in the commercial.

It seems to us that Chevy is inappropriately using its good reliability ratings for the 2015 model year to imply that its current 2019 vehicles are equally dependable.

We asked General Motors to justify that leap, explain the details of its survey, and whether it will modify or pull the advertisement. The company explained the methodology, that it used standard survey techniques by a noted market research company, that the results were reviewed by independent statisticians, and that their definitions of reliability came from professional organizations.

The Chevy spokesperson did not respond to our question asking if it had any survey results for 2016, 2017, 2018, or 2019 vehicles that would confirm that it continued to beat Toyota, Honda, Ford and 23 other companies for those model years too. But the company attempted to justify why it was using the reliability of 2015 cars with this explanation:

“You need some time to develop a measure of actual reliability so you have to look back at previous MY [model year] vehicles.” — Chevy spokesperson

While it is certainly true that car companies can’t instantly provide reliability data for vehicles new to the market, they can be careful not to make broad, unqualified claims for new models using historic data. And clearly explaining the nature of that historic data rather than burying it in a fine print disclosure would go a long way toward creating transparency. As such, we call upon General Motors to pull its current series of misleading commercials.

Thanks to David B. for bringing this commercial to our attention.

Note: An update to this story will be posted on Monday morning.

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17 thoughts on “Is Chevy More Reliable Than Toyota, Honda, Ford, and 23 Other Brands???”

  1. I don’t there isn’t a single person that saw this commercial and didn’t question what “recent survey” they were referring to in the ad. Still not as diabolical as stating “top in initial quality”, what does that even mean?

  2. I’ve been a domestic and foreign car/truck mechanic for over 30 years.
    I get more chevys needing major repair work over any other auto brand.
    Chevy builds their vehicles based on production and profit.
    The quality is just not there.
    Chevy vehicles are “by far” the absolute worse vehicles built on the market.
    They are full of electric isuues, engine problems, transmission
    failures and the list goes on and on. I employ people to stay away from Chevy cars AND trucks.
    When your out shopping for a vehicle, base your search on company’s that base their principles on quality, reliability and longevity.
    You won’t find an American auto maker with these principles.
    Luck 🙂

  3. Yeah, Chevy is not my first thought when I think of dependability. It’s pretty clear they use very careful language in the video ad to avoid directly lying.

    @JZ “Initial Quality” is one of the all too common JD Power awards that are absolutely pointless. It’s literally judging quality and reliability in the first 90 days of ownership, so your Chevy is good till your second payment…

  4. We have an Acura that is 9 years old. These are really just pricey Honda’s. Ours has had zero problems other than the Takada air bag fiasco. Our Chevrolet had just about every problem imaginable ranging from computer issues to failing paint. This commercial simply isn’t honest. They can cover themselves legally with that fine print but that sure doesn’t make the car truly dependable. We’re ready for a new car but it sure won’t be a Chevy.

  5. Yes, well, that commercial seemed clearly slanted. I would speculate that this particular commercial was more likely targeted towards the people (‘Builders’ especially) that were already buying American cars in the first place. An ad like this would be perfect for reassuring the Big-Three buyers that their faulty perceptions of American cars were not faulty; especially if they show their childrens’ and grandchildrens’ generations’ being shocked that their Jap-cars are less reliable than American Jip-cars. Just about anybody that loves Japanese cars would see right through an add like this. I hope Chevy realized that unless their truly that out of touch about the low quality of their automobiles.

  6. I guess there’s a reason my 2001 Toyota Corolla is still running. Issues with the emissions system have been an ongoing problem, occurring every few years. Other than that, knock on wood. It’s good.

  7. We bought a brand new Chevy truck in 1992 and finally traded it off in 2015. I will say it was super comfortable to ride in. HOWEVER, about every 6 months the rocker switch for the headlights had to be replaced because it would overheat and melt. The fuse for the brake lights had to be replaced about every 3 months. The steering column started smoking one day and needed all the wires replaced…. Four replaced radiators and it would still overheat and spring a leak… Nope didn’t replace it with another Chevy! Their commercials are a joke.

  8. Do you ever wonder how much those “real people, not actors” get paid for being surprised? I also wonder how actors feel when it is implied that they are not “real people”.

  9. GM’s ad agencies are masters of doublespeak and mouseprint.

    In the previous Millennium, a Buick Skylark commercial ended with the words “And Skylark outsells the imports!” The claim was based on Skylark sales versus Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys imported from Japan which were extremely rare after Accord and Camry production was shifted to the USA. So basically the Skylark outsold a car you couldn’t buy.

    After decades of using the word “import” as a pejorative, GM marketed the Cadillac Catera as “The American Luxury Car Designed and Built in Germany”.

  10. I am appalled buy Chevy’s commercial. I think they should be sued for false advertising.
    My last vehicle I bought in 2007 was a Toyota. 206,000 miles and I have so far replaced two batteries and an alternator. Toyota fan for life!

  11. Still driving my 21 year old Toyota Corolla. Maintained oil changes and maintenance, no major repairs…. my co worker is on his fifth Chevy truck… just sayin

  12. Well, I’m not sure what to think of this study. I’ve had both Foreign and Domestice vehicles. I bought a 2010 Toyota Corolla, just over 100k miles currently, and the only money I put into it besides regular maintenance was a starter ($200 maybe). I also had a 2001 Chevy Malibu that I sold in 2013 with over 200k miles. It had it’s issues but the only real money I put into it was a catalytic converter ($300 maybe), sure the A.C. stoped working in 2010, but I didn’t fix it, I didn’t need it and it never affected it from starting. So I have mixed emotions, also it is worth noting that I took care of both cars equally.

  13. I drive an 18 year old Toyota Tundra. It has *never* been in the shop for repairs. Brake pads, tires, oil and gas. That’s it. Oh, sorry, I had to change an oxy sensor to pass emissions once. Over 200,000 miles and still has the original headlight bulbs. Never failed. Never been towed. Never made me walk…

  14. JDPower is a joke as they get PAID by Chevy for those rankings . I wouldn’t buy ANY GM vehicle after getting screwed since the late 70’s. I have been using Toyota for the last 20 years and have only done routine maintenance and normal wear items. Don’t Believe the HYPE! CHEVY SUCKS!!!

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