Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Japanese Gems

Consumer Reports has been naming their Top Picks for I think seven years now. And until this year there has always been at least one American company represented.

Until this year.

CR chose 10 Japanese brand vehicles this year, totally snubbing American, German and Korean-branded cars. No big suprise, but kind of a disappointment.

At the top of CR's list (and many many other people's) is the Honda Civic. And I can't disagree. The Civic is racking up honors left and right this year and is a great deal for as little as $14,000. I owned a 1997 model several years ago and can attest to their reliability, frugality and all-around fun.

Honda took three more spots and Acura (made my Honda) took one. Toyota, however, only took one honor and it wasn't for the seemingly bulletproof Camry. It was for the Prius. What a suprise!

I think the second most suprising vehicle on the list is the Honda Ridgeline. Honda's first attempt at making trucks beat out Chevy, Ford, Dodge and even Toyota. Way to go Honda.

So what does this mean? In the short term, it means GM, Daimler-Chrysler and Ford are all gonna lose even more market share. Long term is iffier, but not much different. As a car nut, I still can't recommend any American car over most Japanese-branded cars, and I drive a Chrysler! This latest Consumer Reports list only reaffirms what I've been saying for years. Car buyers are no different than condom buyers. They may try a brand once, but if it doesn't work, they'll never go back.

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