Warning over European cars

Tuesday 18 October 2011, 4:51PM
By Dog & Lemon Guide

New Zealand motorists who choose European cars are often buying some of the world's worst lemons, says the car review website

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson says: “New Zealand motorists often think they are getting an upmarket vehicle when they buy a European brand. However, the opposite is true: European vehicles are generally poorly built, unreliable and expensive to fix.”

Matthew-Wilson quoted a recent car reliability survey by the giant English consumer organization Which?

Of the 34 makes surveyed, Volkswagen was 15th, BMW was 18th, Audi was 20th, Peugeot was 25th, Fiat was 29th, Renault was 32nd and Alfa Romeo was last. The highest rating European model was Mercedes, which came tenth. All the top nine ratings went to Japanese or Korean makes (see the full list below).

Matthew-Wilson adds:

“Because many small European models are available with super-efficient engines, customers are buying these cars believing that they'll save money. In fact the opposite is likely to be true: the money these customers save on fuel is likely to be a drop in the ocean compared to the high cost of servicing and repairs, coupled with a shocking depreciation."

“Virtually all reliability surveys say the same thing: European brands may look cool, but they’re the pits to own.”

“Next to their house, a car is most people's most expensive purchase, yet the majority of car buyers purchase their vehicles without the faintest idea of what they are getting themselves into. If the New Zealanders who buy European cars knew the track record of these so-called prestige brands, they'd probably never buy them. ”

Here’s the Which? magazine 2011 list of reliable brands, from the best to the worst:

1 Honda
2 Daihatsu
3 Toyota
4 Mitsubishi
5 Lexus
6 Mazda
7 Suzuki
8 Subaru
9 Kia
10 Mercedes-Benz
11 Hyundai
12 Skoda
13 Chevrolet (mostly built by Daewoo)
14 Nissan
15 Volkswagen
16 Mini
17 Volvo
18 BMW
19 Ford
20 Audi
21 Seat
22 Vauxhall (mostly built by Opel)
23 Porsche
24 Smart
25 Peugeot
26 Jeep
27 Jaguar
28 Citroen
29 Fiat
30 Chrysler
31 Saab
32 Renault
33 Land Rover
34 Alfa Romeo