Let's Take A Closer Look

Explaining complicated subject matter simply since 1986.

It’s impossible to say, as they’re always wearing hats. And what’s the point, anyway? None are tall in the absolute sense, so who cares which is the “tallest” of a bunch by a millimeter? Any apparent differences in height among the seven is so minuscule as to be meaningless. None of them are tall in any absolute sense, so comparing short people to see who is “tallest ” is as useful a task picking the fly dung out of the pepper. I could find any “data” online to answer my question, but I did come across Dreshare.com, who says Snow White was only 5 feet, 4 inches tall. Her companions appear to be half her height and there is no easily discernible difference between them.

So what does this have to do with the latest Consumer Reports Automotive Reliability Ratings?

Pointless comparisons are a staple of advertising and promotion. Ford’s reaction to the report was to announce they were pleased to rank high among domestic brands. What Ford didn’t bother to mention was this:

Ford’s reliability ranked 23rd of the 28 brands measured.

When did “We’re not last!” become something to be proud of?

Unable to claim reliability in any absolute sense didn’t stop the Blue Oval flacks from drum beating. Ford chose the comparative route by relating themselves to the brands that dominated the bottom half of the rankings. This is the marketing department’s way of avoiding the real issue. The real story is that Ford is only microscopically not as bad as Dodge. 

Why is Toyota 22 spots above Mercedes-Benz?

Expectations account for a lot of this apparent cognitive dissonance. Toyota sells a lot of low-priced, entry-level cars to younger people buying their first new car. They’re gaga about the sound system and the new car smell. Mercedes-Benz buyers have very high expectations.

What else did U.S. carmakers say?

GM said it will use the magazine’s survey data to “better understand our performance and where we can improve.” Ford said they will review the ratings as they work to improve quality.

What, they don’t have their own research? 

What kinds of research are GM and Ford paying their suppliers for if they don’t know about these problems until an independent organization publishes them?

USSR Finishes in Second Place in Track Meet; USA Finishes One Spot Out of Last Place. 

This was a TASS headline from many years ago. Nowhere was it mentioned  the USSR and the USA were the only participants. Was the headline technically accurate? Yes. Was it deliberately misleading? You bet. That’s why it’s called propaganda.

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