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Consumer Reports: Japanese Cars More Reliable than American

March 27, 1990

DETROIT (AP) _ Japanese cars were the most trouble-free in 1989 and American makes lagged, although Detroit produced a handful of 1989 models that were more dependable than in previous years, according to Consumer Reports.

Toyota and Honda led all automakers in producing cars that were on the road more often than they were in the shop, the magazine said in its annual car guide, which was in the April issue released Monday.

Of the 31 1989 passenger cars that were rated better-than-average or much better-than-average, 28 were Japanese.

Meanwhile, all but one of the 33 passenger cars rated worse-than-average or much worse-than-average were made by the Big Three automakers - General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Corp. The Jaguar XJ6 was the only import in one of those categories.

The magazine’s guide rated GM’s 1989 Buick Le Sabre and Chrysler’s 1989 Dodge Spirit.Plymouth Acclaim as better-than-average in reliability.

The 1989 Le Sabre’s better-than-average rating shows an improvement over previous years, the magazine said. The 1988 model was rated as worse-than- average.

The Spirit and Acclaim, introduced in the 1989 model year, earned better- than-average scores.

Consumer Reports based its conclusions on the repair records of more than 637,000 vehicles between April 1988 and March 1989. Readers were asked to rate their vehicles’ repair record on a five-point scale: much better than average, better than average, average, worse than average, and much worse than average.

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