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Old 08-11-2000, 12:44 AM   #1
SoCal
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Default Why I don't like C.R.

Rant Begin

The latest issue of Consumer Reports has come out and in it they test some small size cars.

They test the Focus, the Sentra, the Saturn, and Neon

They LOVE the focus. It scores first out of the 4. The BASH the Saturn SL2. Now some of what they say is accurate. However they seriously are biased against the Saturn. Here is why.

Cosumer reports is usually VERY concerned with a couple key issues.

1. Reliablity - The Focus is obviously untested for reliablity, however they gloss over this fact and barely make mention that Saturn has better than average reliability.

2. Safety - This is the part that makes me mad. The Focus didn't do so hot in safety testing. Side impact is pretty bad. They just make casual reference to it at the end as if it doesn't really matter too much, and then when talking about the Saturn make it appear as though the SL has never been tested for side impact when it fact it ranks 4 stars. #$!@*&#!*&!$#*&$*!&$(&$!(*&!#(*

3. Handling - They shred the Saturn for its outdated suspension. Folks I have driven the two cars back to back. The focus is high and has a lot more body roll than the Saturn. Yes you feel less of the road - but many people WANT to have feedback and imput from the road when they are driving.

This is what makes me mad. Cosumer Reports makes it so most people who don't know much about cars will NEVER even CONSIDER a Saturn based upon reviews like this. I can't think of why they hate Saturn so. The only thing I can think of as a possible reason is that they sell for 12 dollars a guide to help you negotiate a good price, and Saturn obviously makes that buying report worthless. (Its worthless anyways since you can get much more updated information via the Internet in about 30 seconds anyways)

Rant End

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Old 08-11-2000, 04:09 AM   #2
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Easy, tiger. I understand your fustration. Saturn vehicles are good quality cars and there seems to be a well spring of bad media regarding Saturn. I do believe that you may be a bit sensitive to the remarks. First, reliability isn't a real issue of comparison due to the Focus' short lifespan thus far. Second, safety wasn't stressed as a weak point of comparison between the two cars. Third, the average driver wants to feel less of the road, unless they are the more adventureous type.

Personally, Saturns are relatively solid on reliability. However, there is room for reasonable improvement. With ten years of production, many small reasonable improvements could raise the safety bar even further than it has thus far. Finally, handling could be reasonably refined and improved over the last ten years. While I believe the cars are pretty stable, they do let you know every bump in the road with crystal clarity. I think SOME improvements over the last ten years could have softened the ride. Maybe there is a difference between the S series amd the L series in this regard, I'm not personally familiar with the L series.

In any event, I would take the review with a grain of salt. Perhaps it wasn't as appealling as it could have been, but Saturn could certainly have made reasonable improvements over the last 10 years to make their cars even higher quality affordable cars.

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Old 08-11-2000, 05:41 AM   #3
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CR is an adequate resource if you are shopping for a television and want a rundown on features and street pricing. It is not a good resource if you want information on areas that involve more technical data or knowledge. I used to bicycle seriously, to the tune of hundreds of miles weekly. They had a review of bicycles that exhibited no knowledge of componentry, features, or anything to do with serious cycling and long term usability and reliability. They base their reviews on which is prettiest and which they "feel" best about. This also is how cars are reviewed it seems. I still buy a couple a year when there is something of interest, like the Saturn. I then take the empirical data provided and analyze it on my own. Their results do not always jibe with the item having the most red circles and least black circles coming out below first place. Caveat emptor and with CR only put credibility in the data not the opinions.. and be careful of the data.

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Old 08-11-2000, 08:58 AM   #4
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I don't know... CR's 1999 buying issue on washer/dryers was painfully terse. No real mention of how front loaders work, just a simple "they're generally more efficient".

Which left my questions unanswered. 1) Do they clean better? 2) If I use cold water only, what are my annual cost savings over a top loader? 3) What has the repair costs been?

Skipping over many majorly asked questions like these just didn't help my buying experience. It didn't really seem like any true tests were performed, just another known-name magazine supporting the unsupported opinions of a select handful (yes, I understand that's what every forum is about). Needless to say, after that, I don't read them anymore. Stick to industry sources/journals, they tend to be more in-depth, IMHO.
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Old 08-11-2000, 10:30 AM   #5
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Consumers Union has a lot of hidden agendas (like they hate SUVs) which they are not upfront about. Whoop's suggestion about the money lost selling those car price lists is interesting! I for one have never understood why they have always downrated Saturns even though Saturns always do well in their Owner Ratings on quality. One thing I hate about their reviews is that they have gotten less detailed than before and more subjective. In comparison to some of the car magazines, who show skid pad numbers, CU justs gives a rating on handling with no numbers to back it up! In every test that they show numbers (0-60, fuel economy) Saturn does either best or is in the top of the pack. It is on the subjective marks, for which they give no details, that they mark down Saturn, leading to our not trusting their reviews.

Another thing that has changed is that they have gone yuppie on us. Most of the cars they review seem to be more than the average price of a new car these days. Not the first time that a crusading organization has gone soft. I used to donate money to them until they started reviewing a lot of Volvos and Mercedes Benzes and I decided they did not need my donations.

I also noticed today that the Focus, their top pick (and the winner of a lot of other world-wide car prizes) did really lousy on the side crash test (one star). This is a surprise and a disappointment, because whether you like Fords or not, they usually do exceptionally well on crash tests.

The fact that CU marked the SL2 below the Neon and the Nubira is not even funny, it is insulting, they are really crappy and the SL2, though far from perfect, is not.

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Old 08-11-2000, 11:51 AM   #6
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JimC93SW2,

If you foolow CR's reviews of Saturn from the beginning, up until the 1995 review of the SL2, THEY liked and recommended Saturn. I have the issue somewhere in my fiels, but one thing that stood out, they did NOT understand the T/C button/light. REmember before 1995 on Saturns the T/C light was down below, then with the dash redesign they placed it on top to the radio area. CR was upset because the light came on and did not apparently know why or what to do with it. the cabin also got a little more room with the design BUT CR rated it lower.

I did a mini-review using CR's 1996 write-up of the SL1 and found that there is either a REAL bias or the reviewers did not review ALL the models that were discussed at the same time or the reviewers ONLY tested the car in the article and the other cars were tested by different people.

I still have the write-up I did that showed a problem with the review and have posted it on various NG's over the years. I sent it a couple of times to CR and NEVER received any feedback.

About their PRICE sheet that you can buy, I also ordered one to see what it showed several years ago. I then obatined a REAL Saturn invoice from one of the Retailers that I know. Guess what, they did NOT agree. I called CR to tip them off. I was NOT trying to get my money back but to let them know that THEIR prices were NOT correct. I wastold that I did not know what I was doing and that their information was right. I even offered to fax them the sheet and asked them to RELOOK at their data. ALL fell on deaf ears.

I have NOT really read this issue mentioned above by Whoop. I did do a quick glance and when I saw were they placed Saturn, I decided it was a weekend job, to do again, my own review. I already have a 2000 Sentra, so that will eady to talk about. I will try ot get a Focus to see what that is all about.

Al

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Old 08-11-2000, 12:39 PM   #7
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My mother in law has gotten me a subscription to Consumer Reports, and while I sometimes find it informative for products like airconditioners or dishwashers, their car reviews are useless at best and annoying at worst.

The latest issue came in and my wife said "Consumer Reports said that the Saturn is a piece of junk. Why did you buy it?" I told her that I had bought a LS, not an SL, and that CR is totally subjective when they rate a car. She said "sounds like a stupid car to buy", and just shook her head and walked away. So CR has made another negative impression about Saturn.

The review is completely subjective. I test drove a Focus before buying the LS and found it to be very jittery on the road, yet CR says the ride is "subtle" and it "soaks up bumps like a larger car". I also found the interior to be uncomfortable, yet CR says it is great. BUT THE POINT IS: these are all subjective remarks. Where's the data on maintenance schedules and costs, design of the engine, stainless steel exhaust, rust prevention features, etc, etc? It is not there. Just a lot of tripe about their "impressions" of the vehicle.

You may not know this, but they are based in Westchester, New York, a VERY wealthy community north of New York. No one in Westchester would be caught buying a Saturn. And CR is showing their biases... they test more and more upscale cars and trucks that are mainly status symbols, most of which are leased. So how are they helping the buying process? Not at all, IMHO.

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Old 08-11-2000, 12:44 PM   #8
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I guess it's time for me to post my numerical analysis of a CR auto test. As many know, I have analyzed almost all (I stopped doing every one) CR auto test since January 1996. For those that want to see the history of my analysis, as told in a series of long e-mails to the Saturn Mailing list, I will re-post links to copies of my first reports.

Anyway, I have been trying to reconcile CR's "objective" ratings (the ones that they use colored dots) with the overall rating that they use (in conjunction with expected reliability) to make recommendation. This "overall rating" is represented by a bar graph.

Here is what I got for this latest test:

<blockquote><pre><font size="1" face="Verdana">code:</font><hr><font face="Courier New" size="2">
Analysis of Consumer Reports Automobile Test
September2000 Small Sedans
Ford Nissan Dodge Saturn
Focus Sentra Neon SL2
ZTS GXE ES
Performance (5 items)
Acceleration 4 3 3 4
Transmission 4 4 2 3
Routine Handling 5 4 4 3
Emergency Handling 4 3 4 3
Braking 4 3 5 4
Comfort (7 items usually)
Ride, normal load 4 3 2 3
Ride, full load 4 3 2 3
Noise 4 4 3 3
Driving position 4 4 4 3
Front-seat comfort 4 4 4 3
Middle-seat comfort
Rear-seat comfort 3 2 3 2
Climate-control system 5 5 5 5
Convenience (3 items)
Access 4 3 4 3
Controls and displays 5 4 4 3
Trunk 4 3 3 3
Reliability
Predicted reliability 4* 4 4* 4

*- assumed for completeness
only

CR Overall Rating 4.64 3.60 3.12 2.47
Measured from Bar Graph


Summary by Category (averages)
Ford Nissan Dodge Saturn
Focus Sentra Neon SL2
ZTS GXE ES

Performance (5 items) 4.20 3.40 3.60 3.40

Comfort (7 items usually) 4.00 3.57 3.29 3.14

Convenience (3 items) 4.33 3.33 3.67 3.00

Reliability 4.00* 4.00 4.00* 4.00

Average of Averages, all items
4.13 3.58 3.64 3.39
% diff from CR Rating 112% 101% 86% 73%
% penalty or bonus 12% 1% -14% -27%
Point penalty or bonus 0.51 0.02 -0.52 -0.92

Average of Averages, exc. reliability
4.18 3.43 3.52 3.18
% diff from CR Rating 111% 105% 89% 78%
% penalty or bonus 11% 5% -11% -22%
Point penalty or bonus 0.46 0.17 -0.40 -0.71
</font><hr></pre></blockquote>

Very consistent will most of the CR tests (over 70) that I have analyzed. The top-ranked model almost always gets a boost, often double-digit percentage increase, and the last
place vehicle(s) get penalties of similar amounts.

IMHO, there is no question that CR is introducing subjective bias between their objective measures and their overall rating. In this particular test, it seems to be even more puzzling, since the SL2 had some positive advantages outside of the objective categories and it seemed to get no positive consideration.

I also have summary averages of "bonus or penalty percentage" sorted by brand.

It is no longer surprising to see what the most heavily penalized brands are.

<blockquote><pre><font size="1" face="Verdana">code:</font><hr><font face="Courier New" size="2">
Average bonus or penalty by brand (minivans and luxury cars EXCLUDED)

Average of Averages w/o Reliability % differences used

Brand % bonus/penalty difference from avg %
=========== =============== =====================
VW 19.50% 18.23%
Infiniti 14.00% 12.73%
Volvo 12.00% 10.73%
Mercury 11.50% 10.23%
Hyundai 10.50% 9.23%
Plymouth 9.00% 7.73%
Toyota 7.40% 6.13%
Mitsubishi 7.00% 5.73%
Chrysler 6.00% 4.73%
Acura 4.00% 2.73%
Ford 2.57% 1.30%
Subaru 2.25% 0.98%
Honda 1.20% -0.07%
Olds 0.67% -0.60%
Nissan -2.00% -3.27%
Chevy -5.50% -6.77%
Pontiac -6.50% -7.77%
Dodge -11.33% -12.60%
Mazda -12.00% -13.27%
Saturn -16.40% -17.67%
Buick -27.25% -28.52%

Average +1.27%
</font><hr></pre></blockquote>

Details on my calculations can be provided if requested.

the HumpMan

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Old 08-11-2000, 02:42 PM   #9
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Very interesting info HumpMan. Adds more fuel to the CR fire! Looking at your numbers, I find it highly amusing how a Chrysler averages a 6.00 pt bonus while a Dodge averages a -11.33 pt deficit. Same cars, no? Unless the Chrysler winged badge makes the car immensely more enjoyable to drive than a Dodge, I see some bias, probably leaning towards cars like Chrysler for the more "pretigious" name.

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Old 08-11-2000, 03:36 PM   #10
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While I am pretty much convinced that CR does introduce subjective bias in their final ratings, I don't want anyone to draw too much from my collected values, especially the brand comparisons.

The numbers have been calculated from some pretty variable data. For some brands I have several examples, while with others I have only 1 or 2. More importantly, I also believe that there is some sort of range scaling being done by CR based on the class of the vehicle, since they seemed to have wanted to have things like luxury cars come out with higher scores than economy cars, etc. I don't know if this has changed, though. The fact that luxury cars and minivans seemed to be scaled somewhat differently led me to exclude them from the brand aggregations. Although converting to percentage differences might normalize for some effects, I'm not certain if there isn't some residual. The fact that a Chrysler is sort of a luxury car may be the underlying basis for the CR difference in "penalty/bonus" between it and Dodge.

If you want to see an even more direct difference, look at how they rate Toyota Corollas and Chevy Prizms differently. From the September 2000 graph, they rate the Corolla S at about 3.60 while the Prizm got a 3.19. About a 12% difference. I'd have to try and trace down the most recent reviews of those two to see if the reported overall rating is consistent. At one time I got the impression that the bar lengths sometimes changed between issues, even with no retesting. I was never able to determine if it looked fishy or just bad graphics work, however.

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Old 08-11-2000, 04:04 PM   #11
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Having read through this thread, I encourage everyone to go to their local AAA and flip through their 2000 Auto Buying Guide. There is a very positive writeup on the SL2. I was unable to finish it before the clerk called me, but there was little negative about it.
-Wei

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Old 08-11-2000, 04:22 PM   #12
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Another interesting observation from the September 2000 CR review is what small cars they recommend and which ones they don't. They base their recommendations on "it performed competently in our tests, and we predict that its reliability will be at least average." Cars that are too new for them to rate on reliability can still get a "promising" like the Ford Focus did this month. So a "promising" should mean that it performed competently enough to earn a recommendation.

The question really comes up as to what constitutes "performed competently", especially in relation to the bar graph. Looking at this month's summary bar graph, the Chevy Prizm, which I measure at a rating of 3.19, gets a recommendation. The Dodge Neon, with a measured rating of 3.12, doesn't even get a promising. So a difference of 0.07 or about 2.2% is enough to decide if it was "competent performance". (The definitely recommended Toyota Corolla S had a rating of 3.60)

BTW, from my analysis of the CR tests of March 98, where they tested both the Corolla and the Prizm, I measured their overall rating at 3.37 and 3.32 respectively. Not only is this different from the recapitulation here, the relative ratings between the Corolla and Prizm have changed also. It is possible that I didn't do an intervening set of reviews, however. I stopped doing every CR car review.

At one point I tried to see if I could quantify what constituted "competent performance" on the bar graph but couldn't really do it. It appears to be highly subjective. And yes, at one time I wrote them a letter and asked, and got a really vague, meaningless response.

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Old 08-11-2000, 05:25 PM   #13
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Consumer Reports' writers/reviewers have become legends in their own minds. They think their OPINIONS about what cars are good and what cars aren't (because clearly they don't have much hard information in their so-called "reviews" to make their judgments on) are so important as to be elevated to FACT.

And speaking of what the basis is for their "promising" or "recommended" labels, what could possibly have been their excuse for not awarding at LEAST their "promising" label to the LW2 in their review of wagons? It beat the pants off THEIR favorite, the Passat,in all of the performance tests aside from the slalom speed, and on regular fuel (as opposed to premium), at that! About all they could complain about was "refinement", a TOTALLY SUBJECTIVE issue (what a surprise!). I remember someone posting something about how "recommended" tags are not awarded to new/redesigned models whose reliability has not been verified yet, but I can't remember the last time a Toyota or Honda mainstream sedan or coupe didn't get a "recommended" label EVEN when they had completely new engines, etc. for that model.

What it all boils down to is opinions being published as facts, and it's going to be awhile until folks start to see through the "agricultural commodity" (that's BULL******).

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Old 08-11-2000, 05:54 PM   #14
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I have tried for several years to give CR the benefit of the doubt, but it's getting pretty hard to ignore what I'm seeing in the analyzing of their reviews.

I think it is pretty clear, IMHO, that they add lots of subjective opinion to their evaluations. And this may be somewhat unavoidable. But I am most bothered by the fact that they then couch their final opinions in a very precise, objective-looking quantitative way which is, IMHO, very misleading. Car & Driver also uses a lot of subjective opinion, but they clearly state that they do this.

I believe that at least CR is afraid of appearing too different from the car mags, so they try to ape them to some extent. If one starts a rant on "the flaw" like Car & Driver did with Saturn engine noise, then CR will take it up forever. I think they are very conscious of trying to be consistent, which to me seems that the things they like get extra good reviews and things they don't like (or have a grudge against) get slammed. I suppose they can defend this by saying that you have to clearly beat the champ to become the champ. I think that since Saturn has been able, IMHO, refine their cars significantly <b>without</b> a truly major overhaul, CR can't bring themselves to evaluate them fairly. To them, it can't be any different, so they have to keep the same editorial line. And when Saturn does do their major overhaul, I have a feeling that if there is a slamdunk improvement, CR's line will be to the tune of "finally they did something, like we've been complaining about for years." And then they will get downgraded for being slow.

At the very least CR seems to "grade on a curve" so as to maximize their differences between competing products. If they can't show significant differences, either real or invented, between products then they really have less reason to exist. The bigger the product, the bigger the difference that they "have" to show. Occasionally they will have 4 cars that "test out" similarly, and they may even publish it. And then it can be used as an example of how they "have to have been fair all along."

At the very worst possibility, which I certainly can't prove, CR has an editorial bias to favor some products and denegrate others. I don't know this is the case, but sometimes it certainly seems like it.

Oh, CR does sometimes grant "Promising" ratings to cars that they like but can't recommend due to reliability uncertainty. They don't always seem to use it consistently however. I think they first started using it so they could give Hondas and Toyotas recommendations, even when they were new models. Lately, however, they don't even have to resort to "Promising" for those brands. They get "Recommended" right off the bat, based on CR's opinion. It almost seems like "Promising" is reserved for those that may stumble in reliability, so they want to cover themselves.

I think it is encouraging that the SL2 has retained (or regained) the "above average in reliability". By maintaining this, the only way for CR to continue a lack of recommendation is by forcing (IMHO) an abnormally low overall rating. It is much easier, I think, to see the blatant inconsistency in the overall rating than to argue against their "holy" reliablilty survey figures, which are not fully published. If CR has a grudge against US auto makers, it sometimes seems to me that they know they can use either one prong or the other (overall rating or reliability) to keep from having to recommend them. Buicks have pretty good reliability, so they get horrible ratings. Chrysler products tend to get better ratings, but CR knows they will have poor reliability to fall back on.

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Old 08-11-2000, 06:15 PM   #15
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CR to be polite, sucks big time, especially for anything requiring any level of expertise to evaluate.

Certainly automotive performance can be measured which would take the subjectivity out of it. At one time, Popular Science (I think) used to do (maybe they still do) real performance measurements to take the subjectivity out.

Why doesn't CR do objective research and measured testing? Because they don't like what the numbers would show?

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Old 08-11-2000, 11:00 PM   #16
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Who knows the politics involved at CR. I can only hope that there are not "connections" with editors and upper management at certain car manufacturers.

I personally hold a grudge against most American cars (not Saturn of course). I really don't know why, but I can't stand most American cars. Pontiacs are ugly and bubbley, Buicks are old, Chevys are plain, Chryslers fall apart. I once rode in a Lumina, and the ride was great! Smooth, handled well, etc. BUT I couldn't let myself like it. Why? Dunno. Saturn is different and tries (tried) to cater to import buyers, so their cars had an foreign "flare" to them. I love the European styling of the LW2. But I still can't tell you why I hate Chevys.

A Caddy Seville STS, however, is FINE car when it isn't in the shop!

CR either is holding a grudge (like I do) or they have financial or political reasons. As stated above, selling car invoice reports may be a reason. I guess the only way to find out would be to get a job with CR.

I don't follow CR's recommendations because they are so subjective. I don't believe comfort should even be evaluated. It's subjective. Unless you can prove that NO ONE will find the car comfortable, then don't base a recommendation on that OPINION. Go by the numbers: maintaince, reliability, performance data, safety, features, etc. Handling and responsivness can also be included (handling isn't as subjective), but on a lower-weight basis.

As for the Focus, I drove one once. The high seating position was aweful for me. I'm 6' and I felt like I was driving a bus. My mother, on the other hand, is 5', and would like the high position.

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Old 08-12-2000, 02:23 AM   #17
JPRex
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So who do we turn to for impartial, statistically sound, reliable reviews of vehicles? I usually use several different resources and try to compile a reliable collection of information about vehicles, but it would be nice if there were a truely independent supplier of info.

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Old 08-12-2000, 03:32 AM   #18
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I was working on our Trip information and planned events for our CarClub's fifth visit, to Spring Hill next month and CR crept into my brain.

Back in June 1996, a group of us Saturn owners, who ONLY knew each other through the OLD Prodigy BB, got together and met in Tenn, to visit Spring Hill. It was really neat and it was FUN meeting people, that you knew only through a BB.

Well, now to my idea:

Why don't we get Saturn Owners from across the country together and make a trip to CR. We could take our Noisy, bad controlled layout, terrible handling cars, for them to SEE first hand! Saturn has always been a "different kind of car" and many of Saturn's owners, ARE a different kind of car owner.

The IMPORTANT thing would be that this MUST be a OWNER initiated gathering. In other words, Saturn Corp. or The Retailers MUST be neutral or for a change, be like most of us are, "FANS". Think of the publicity! Once we put together a date, then each State could have one or more local organizers. Hopefully, we would get CR subscribers, in each group, to show a CR "Customer" focus.

We would have to "have" "Humpman", for his detailed review of CR's Stats!

Once we have a date and location information, we would have to get a handle on the numbers. WE don't want to look foolish and "claim" to have 1,000,000 owners and show up with 2,000 Saturns. EVEN the media would be able to figure out that 1,000,000 owners, could NOT fit in 2,000 Saturns &lt;LOL&gt;.

OK back to the "plan". Once we have a group from a location, say Columbus, Ohio for example, we could contact the local Newspapers, to let them know, what we are doing and why. IMO, it will be critical, to NOT be a bunch of angry people. We are a bunch of concerned CR customers, and/or Saturn owners, that wonder WHY CR does not see the positive side of Saturn.

The message HAS to be clear and the same, otherwise we WILL be viewed as a bunch of "nuts", IMO. What would also be great, IMO, would be to have Saturn owners, from the early years 1991 to 1994 when CR liked and recommended Saturns.

The NEXT part would be to have Coupe owners. Remember as of the LAST review, that CR did on the Coupes, CR still recommends them. Things that IMO, is hard for CR to explain, are: the controlls are the same, the noise (that CR does not like) is still the same, if you have a "1" model coupe, the ride is still the same, IMO. So how do they recommend the coupes and NOT the Sedans/Wagons?

Also it would be neat for each wagon train of Saturns (don't want to call them Caravans, the media might THINK we are Chrysler owners), to have copies of CR's reviews to show anyone interested, what is happening.

One of the downsides though, IMO, if we get something like this together, it would probably have to be next year and probably in May or June (weather concerns). CR could quickly do another review of the coupes and take them off the recommended list (:[

Well, it is late at night or early in the morning, so maybe this is a little crazy. BUT "I" still think it would be hard for CR to ignore, even if it was only a handful of owners from each region/location.

What do you think????

Al

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Old 08-12-2000, 04:21 AM   #19
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<blockquote><hr><font size="1">Original Post:</font><!--1-->
So who do we turn to for impartial, statistically sound, reliable reviews of vehicles? I usually use several different resources and try to compile a reliable collection of information about vehicles, but it would be nice if there were a truely independent supplier of info.<hr></blockquote>
The following are books published yearly:

1) "Autograph", the AAA book of car reviews (formerly called Auto Test), available from your local branch office of AAA. (Discounted if you are an AAA member.)

2) "The Car Book" by Jack Gillis, formerly a publication of the Center for Auto Safety, available in bookstores (ISBN 0-06-273689-2 for 2000 edition), or donate to CAS and they will send you a free copy. Their ratings emphasize safety, insurance costs, etc.

IntelliChoice does ratings based on total cost of ownership (including service, insurance, depreciation). They publish a book (I have only seen it in Saturn retailers) for members, but I think membership is very pricey. They have a website which is free:
http://www.intellichoice.com/ic2/

Oh, and I admit I am biased (these sources all give good marks to Saturns, but I have read them carefully for years and I don't think they have any hidden agendas).

Check websites like www.cars.com and do a search, they index articles from all over. This is an interesting project because a lot of local newspaper auto writers say almost the same thing in their reviews (cribbing from press releases? I think so!).

Those numbnuts as CU gave my last car, a Dodge, "above average" reliability scores for years but everybody I ever talked to who actually owned one was a charter member of the "I'll never buy another Chrysler product" club.

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Old 08-12-2000, 04:36 AM   #20
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SL2-2NV

Saturn owners converge on CU. Hmm. I like it because they really tick me off, but I wonder if the media will just treat it like Homecoming (The Saturn owners are some kind of cult)?
If we do it I will bring my cancelled checks from when I used to donate money to CU.

It would be great to have a lot of Saturn owners who are also subscribers. We can all write lots of angry mail to CU but I think we already realize that they totally ignore us (I wrote them years ago about their lopsided comparison of the SL1 with the CIVIC EX and never even got an acknowledgement). Having a thousand or more unhappy Saturn owners show up on their doorsteps might get their attention. Maybe we should go to their annual board meeting, I think that is in the Spring?

Jim

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