Monday 18 June 2007

North American Automakers Best Japanese at Last!

No, it's not a joke. There really is something where Ford and GM are superior to Toyota and Honda. And it's not something trivial either. What is the mystery characteristic, you ask?

It is all about insurance. While perusing the website of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, I came across a publication called How Cars Measure Up, which contains 87 pages of a table that lists and rates vehicles according to four different cost indices and two theft indices. The table is easy to read because the results are colour coded - red = bad, green = good, though one has to refer to the insurance jargon glossary on the same website to figure out what the abbreviations in the column headings mean.

Taking a quick scan through the table for the best (green across the row) and the worst (red all over), Ford and GMC have more than half of the "greenies" while Honda is the runaway (or should I say, out-of-control?) winner of the flashing red award.

The Best
  • GMC Astro/Safari Wagon AWD 1993-94 and Chev S10/Sonoma 4WD 1994
  • Ford F150 2WD 1993-96 and F250 4WD 1994
  • Ford Ranger 2WD 1993-95, 97-98
  • Ford/Mercury Crown Victoria Grand Marquis 1993-97, 2001
  • and a few others from outside ....
  • Mazda B2300/3000/4000 2WD 1994-96 and Miata / MX5 Convertible 1993-94, 97
  • Mazda Pickup 2WD 1996
  • Subaru Loyale Wagon 1993
  • Toyota Pickup 2WD 1993
The Worst
  • Honda Civic Si 2DR Coupe 1997-98, 2002-04 and Hatchback 2002
  • Honda Prelude 2DR 1993-2001
  • Toyota Rav4 4DR 4WD 2001, 03-05
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI 2DR Hatch 1998-2003
So, forget those testosterone ads for Ford pickups, they're safe and sedate! Stay away - on the lot and on the road - from the souped up versions of those Honda Civics (I do have the impression that most of them seem to be driven by twenty-something guys in ball caps who like to drag race down crowded streets ... maybe the red rating also stands for blood on the street?). Those wanting a sporty but safe car should go for the Miata. The Crown Vic ratings on the other hand fit right in with the "retired couple" image of the car. Do these ratings have more to do with the type of driver each car attracts, or does driving a 1993 make you a safer driver? Rest assured though, that the insurance companies will set your rates in line with these tables.

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