Audi gets Consumer Reports' nod despite emission scandal
GERMAN luxury automaker Audi on Tuesday topped the annual ranking of new vehicles by influential United States magazine Consumer Reports despite the brand's emissions-cheating scandal while quality problems hurt Tesla's Model S luxury car.
Audi was followed by Subaru, Lexus, Porsche and BMW.
Volkswagen AG's Audi unit was named best overall brand, based on the magazine's road testing, reliability, safety and owner satisfaction scores.
In September, VW admitted to secretly installing software that allowed its vehicles to emit up to 40 times legally allowable limits. In November, Audi admitted using separate software that allowed its diesel US SUVs and larger cars to emit excess emissions and was forced to halt US sales of new diesel vehicles indefinitely.
Consumer Reports did not rank any VW Group US diesel vehicles since they cannot legally be sold.
David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Centre for Automotive Research, said the top ranking would help Audi even though its image has not suffered as much as its parent's.
Audi US sales were up 2.7 per cent last month while VW brand sales were down 15 per cent.
Tesla's Model S electric car was named Consumer Report's best overall car in the past two years but this year the magazine opted not to name any best overall vehicle.
Jake Fisher, director of auto testing, said because of faltering reliability scores, the Model S is no longer the top ultraluxury car. It ranks behind the BMW 750i xDrive, Lexus LS 460L and Audi A8 L.
He said Tesla's quality problems - including issues with hatches, door handles, electric motors and batteries - have increased as the automaker has ramped up production.
Consumer Reports has more than eight million subscribers and gets survey data from 740,000 owners.