Toyota Tundra Slips to Below Average Reliability in Latest Consumer Reports Ratings
By: Mike Levine Posted: 10-16-07 10:15 PT
© 2007 PickupTruck.com

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Consumer Reports has issued a press release that scores four wheel drive V8 versions of the new Toyota Tundra 'Much Worse Than Average' in CR’s predicted reliability rating, down from its previous rating of 'Very Good'.

Two wheel drive V8 trucks are rated as 'Much Better Than Average' in the same CR used car verdicts.

On its blog, CR also announced that the Tundra will no longer qualify as a 'Recommended' vehicle, and that it will no longer automatically award first year Toyota cars and trucks with an assumed 'Better Than Average' reliability until real-world data can be tabulated and verified. This was one issue identified during a recent half-ton comparison test that CR performed.

The ratings drop is one more challenge Toyota has faced launching the Tundra, after four-star crash test ratings in federal impact tests, camshaft problems in early 5.7-liter V8 models, and the addition of a new, low-end trim line to better value-price the truck for shoppers.

In light of these difficulties, the 2007 Tundra still continues to sell incredibly well, with sales up 57.9% year to date through September.

It will be interesting to watch what impact, if any, the CR Ratings will have over the next few months and if that might cause Toyota to miss its first year target of 200,000 units in sales volume. The lowered rating is also likely to ding resale values, at least for model year 2007 versions until the CR Ratings can return to their previous lofty levels.

This also begs the question, what is causing owners to rate the Tundra lower than its predecessor?

Excerpt From Consumer Reports' Press Release:

Findings are based on responses on almost 1.3 million vehicles owned or leased by subscribers to Consumer Reports or its web site, www.ConsumerReports.org.

The survey was conducted in the spring of 2007 by Consumer Reports’ National Survey Research Center and covered model years 1998 to 2007. Consumer Reports’ expert team of statisticians and automotive engineers used the survey data to predict reliability of new 2008 models. Predicted reliability is CR’s forecast of how well models currently on sale are likely to hold up. To calculate predicted-reliability ratings, CR averages the overall reliability scores (used car verdicts) for the most recent three model years, provided that the model remained unchanged in that period and also didn’t substantially change for 2008. If a model was new or redesigned in the past couple of years, one or two years’ data may be used, or if that’s all that’s available.

Consumer Reports annual reliability survey is used in determining which makes and models are recommended to consumers by CR. Consumer Reports recommends only models that have performed well in tests conducted at its 327-acre Auto Test Center in Connecticut, and that have average or better predicted reliability based on its annual survey. In addition, vehicles must perform well in government or insurance-industry crash and rollover tests, if tested, in order to be recommended. Occasionally, Consumer Reports may recommend a new or redesigned model too new to have compiled a reliability record if the previous generation, or the manufacturer’s reliability track record has been consistently outstanding, and if the model scores well in CR’s tests.

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