Consumer Reports get tricky

The Silence of the Lambs is on TV, so I’m still up.


My thoughts on Consumer Reports are well documented on this site. I have very little regard for the ‘service’ as far as cars are concerned. In my post on Saab USA incentives earlier today, Lisa mentioned the following in comments (yes, quite possibly a real, live woman commenting on this site – quite the novelty)….

Just two words to explain the sagging sales:

Consumer Reports.

So I’m not the only one.

It’s ironic, then, that CR has come up on my Google ads as seen by visitors to this site from the US. Eggs n Grits took a screenshot.


To filter them out or not?


Anyone looking for some alternative reliability data should consider checking out TrueDelta. You can also sign up to be part of their research pool and provide brief info on your Saab once every three months or so.

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  1. Swede, you can add restricted words to your google adwords list so that advertisers for those keywords don’t show up on your site. I would highly recommend you put consumer reports on there.

  2. Also, I often see ads here for sites that will tell the “shocking truth” about ethanol and how bad it is as a fuel. Get rid of that crap as well… 🙂

  3. I don’t know. Everyone is making a stink about this and, really, if you’re looking for nothing more than value and reliability, you can’t really fault CR for the choices they’ve made. All of the cars (except the Miata) are about as bland and boring as you can get. Fine- if that’s what you want. I drive Fords and old Jaguars, none that will ever make the CR list. I’m starting to enjoy Saabs (I didn’t know what I’d been missing!), but the’ll never make the list by CRs standards. I like my cars and really don’t care what CR says. And hey, the Fords have all been as trouble free as any Toyota! (I don’t yet own a new Saab)It’s just too bad that more people don’t think for themselves so if it isn’t recommended by CR, the resale value won’t be as good. The easy way out of this problem is to just keep the car until it dies and THEN get something new instead of just trading every three years for no reason and taking a bath. If you DO want a new car every 3 years its too bad you have to do it with an Accord or Carmy and not with a Saab or a Jaguar ‘R’.


  4. Merkur: Coincidentally saw a pristine (from the outside, anyway) XR4Ti this week in Houston. I’d forgotten how much they are shaped like the C900. I always liked them, but they weren’t the best-built cars (my sister’s XR4Ti ate two trannys and a rear end in about a year and a half — could have been her lack of care, however).

    As far as the ads go — leave them! Take their money and let them pay for the counterpoint! I feel that once you start censoring advertising, it’s tantamount to censoring the opposing view — you don’t get both sides of the story.

    From another perspective, view it this way: why wouldn’t one leave the future door open for more advertising revenue rather than narrowing it? If Consumer Reports or the anti-ethanol pukes or (whose ads are very funny) leads to other advertisers that prize the same demographic, why wouldn’t you welcome them? I’m thinking that Edmunds, pro-ethanol pukes and can’t be far behind. The latter, who cares, but the first two will be a boon! If they pay, let ’em play.

    Finally, do you think that a grocer turns down advertising revenue from one brand simply because he sells more of another? Heck, no! He wants to draw a wider range of customers to his store and if he sells more of the number two, he will likely sell more of the number one, too!

  5. I think it’s a bit naive to blame CR for SAAB’s sales problems. The 2003 9-3SS was in many ways a beta product foisted on consumers and it’s hard to undo that, and any reliability ratings dated from that model year are probably justified. The current SAAB lineup is somewhere between the Accords and Camry’s and A4’s and 3 Series in consumer’s eyes. We all know they beat the pants off of the Honda and Toyota appliances from a driving dynamics perspective, but SAAB somehow needs to attract the “appliance” buying car shoppers into the showroom for a test drive. The more cars SAAB sells the better chance of overcoming early reliability issues becomes.

  6. Is it possible that it’s not a coincidence? I think Google Ads are tailored to the content on the page. Google might have seen you write the keywords “Consumer Reports” on the site so it pushed their ads here. There’s a hockey chat room I frequent and when the discussion goes off-topic (as it often does as the Kings suck major butt this season) we’ve seen ads for the weirdest stuff on the page. It usually picks a keyword from something someone was joking about. Just don’t make any jokes about sex toys or anything or you’ll never know what ads Google will feed you!

    I don’t think you should block the ads. Just because we don’t agree with CR’s methodology doesn’t mean you should block them. People can make the decision whether or not they want to click on the link themselves. But then again, I was the only guy here suggesting you don’t kill the spider. Nobody listens to me… 😉

    You can read a rant from me against CR’s methodology in the comments here if interested:

    Shockingly I got my mom to consider other cars besides the Lexus ES330 she’s got her heart set-on (WHY???). I actually convinced her to test-drive a 9-5 tomorrow. She also wants to look at the Infiniti G35, the AUDI A4 (again, WHY???), and the Acura TL. Her #1 priority: reliability. Where do you go to determine a car’s reliability? Consumer Reports. I think that there’s no way she’ll get the 9-5 due to SAAB’s name being tarnished in CR due to the 2003 9-3 fiasco. They don’t seem to separate the two models and list “SAAB” (they don’t specify the 9-3) on their list of “least-reliable cars”.

  7. You may be aware of the site already but log onto and they have stats on warranty claims they paid. They supply warranty on older cars with no manufacturer warranty left. It is not biased as it is not based on attitudes etc. just what they paid out. You can even compare the 900, 9000 and 9-3.Yes SAAB is in the bottom 10 but so are Subaru and Porsche…

  8. Actually, the last time I looked at the annual car issue of Consumer Reports (I think it was the ’06 issue), the Saab 9-5 was a recommended pick between 2004 and 2006.

  9. Thanks, ChrisG. I’ll try and find that issue for ammo in trying to get my mom to test drive one!

    I’ve only seen this (do a “find” for SAAB on this page TWICE. SAAB is mentioned twice on the page, both times in a bad light):

    In order to read more and see where the 9-5 is ranked (if the teaser didn’t already scare you off) you have to subscribe to CR.

  10. Well, seems like I stirred up a hornets nest. Certainly didn’t plan on that. Oh well.

    But yes, I’m a real live woman on your website, Swade. I’ve been reading here for well over a year – I love what you’ve got going; TS is certainly “equal time” to all the generally misinformed crap floating around out here these days. Being new to the world of SAAB (three years into 9-3SS ownership with an ’04 Linear), it’s cool to be able to build up my knowledge base from someone who obviously enjoys the marque.

    Please keep up the great work, Swade – it’s breath of fresh air!

  11. I never would have bought my first 9-5 had it not been for CR’s fondness for the car. I’m now on my second 9-5 and still value the opinions of Consumer Reports. TrueDelta, while loaded with potential, groups the Saab 9000 and Saab 9-5 in the same data. Odd, to say the least given the gross differences between the models. Makes as much sense as grouping the original 1969 VW beetle with the original 1975 Golf/Rabbit in the same reliability ratings.

  12. At the suggestion of Jon, I looked at information and found a button that tracked US-sold cars. Their findings show that the top manufacturers for reliabilty are Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Kia, Daewoo, and Mazda. Some of these names, I think we know, are among those least well-received by both Consumer Reports and the public in general in terms of quality and reliability. Saab is ranked 33rd of 38, followed by Lexus, Cadillac, Porsche, Volvo, and Jaguar. (Toyota is 12th, Honda 14th) From what I understand, these are figures for cars out of warranty. Well, I don’t know what to make of these figures exactly, but I know that I will not be changing my used car buying habits absed on this list….

  13. Look at the UK listings too, ther are driver reviews and on SAABs they are often positive, one driver has clocked up 186k miles on a 9-5. The 9-5 does well coming in at No. 20 so it is worth checking out individual models too. The are even some driver reviews for the 9-3ss logged under the 9-3 hatch.

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