Cadillac Crushed by Consumer Reports

Douglas A. McIntyre

Consumer Reports issued its 2017 Car Brand Reliability Study. Of the 27 brands covered, Cadillac finished dead last, a blow to the troubled General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) luxury brand.

The Consumer Report measure was based on a 0 to 100 scale. Cadillac scored a 26, below perennial losers, non-luxury Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) brands Dodge at 32 and Ram at 30. Among the luxury car leaders based on sales, Toyota Motor Corp.’s (NYSE: TM) Lexus division scored 77 to put it second behind Toyota’s flagship brand, which scored 80. Audi scored a 68 to put it in fourth position, and BMW scored 62 to put it in fifth.

Although Cadillac has had some success in China, its U.S. results have been haphazard. CEO Johan de Nysschen has not been able to capture many sales with his limited model line. Now, Consumer Reports has dealt whatever comeback he planned a significant blow.

Cadillac’s sales are off 4.6% over the first nine months of this year to 113,846. The only model that has had any success is the XT5 inexpensive crossover, which has been buoyed by the popularity of vehicles in this category. In the meantime, BMW has sold 220,175 for the same nine-month period. Mercedes has sold 267,477, and Audi has sold 169,814.

Reliability reports from Consumer Reports and J.D. Power are carefully watched as key buying research for many consumers. The Consumer Reports study shows “how well vehicles have held up and the odds that an owner could be inconvenienced by problems and repairs.” The study contains data about more than 640,000 cars and light vehicles.

Many consumers believe Cadillac will never take market share from its larger rivals in the United States. The Consumer Reports data shows Cadillac faces another challenge, which is the low quality of its vehicles, something it can hardly afford.