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DEKRA Faults Report 2008


German cars take pole position

  • BMW 1 has the lowest fault quota overall
  • More realistic: Mileage plays a key role
  • New categorisation: Faults report takes a completely new approach

STUTTGART - Winner in the faults ranking in the new DEKRA Faults Report 2008 is the BMW 1 series. The compact car boasts the lowest fault quota of all. The report divided the candidates into seven vehicle classes, each subdivided into three mileage groups. 14 of the 21 first places were taken by products from German manufacturers and their subsidiaries.

DEKRA experts have taken a completely new approach in compiling the DEKRA Faults Report 2008. In contrast to all previous reports, the car guide, which appears as a special edition of the magazine 'auto motor und sport', no longer records the faults according to vehicle age, but according to mileage. Moreover, only faults associated specifically with used cars which give an indication of the technical quality of the vehicle were taken into account. In contrast, the report disregards faults that tend to say more about how well a vehicle has been maintained, such as worn tyres, 'exhaust analysis overdue', 'first-aid kit out of date' or 'side mirror damaged'.

'As a result, the new concept leads to far more realistic findings concerning the technical quality of the car models than the previous reports. The DEKRA Faults Report 2008 offers the consumer significantly more practical and useful information and is therefore of real help to would-be purchasers', explains Clemens Klinke, Chairman of the Board of Management at DEKRA Automobil GmbH.

The new DEKRA Faults Report: a more realistic approach

The DEKRA Faults Report 2008 breaks new ground. To draw up the Faults Report 2008, DEKRA referred to a database of approximately 15 million inspections conducted over the past two years. A sufficient number of inspections had to have been recorded for a vehicle type for it to be considered in the evaluation in the first place. If a minimum of 1,000 inspected vehicles was not reached in a mileage group, no statement about the model was made in that particular mileage group. The DEKRA Faults Report 2008 profiles 150 models.

The most important new development is the evaluation of faults based on mileage classes. The faults revealed in inspections are no longer evaluated according to age, but to mileage classes. The reason for this shift of emphasis is that 'the technical condition of a vehicle depends far more on the mileage than on the vehicle age', explains Klinke. 'This mileage-based evaluation is thus far more useful to the used car purchaser who wants to find out detailed information about a particular model.'

The differentiation means that the DEKRA Faults Report avoids the hitherto unrealistic comparison of, for example, a low mileage small car with a premium segment car with high mileage. Consequently, the following subdivisions were chosen as a basis for the report:

  • Mini cars/small cars and compact class vehicles were evaluated in the mileage groups - 0 to 30,000 km, 30,000 to 60,000 km and 60,000 to 90,000 km. The winner in the mini car/ small car class up to 30,000 km was the Mitsubishi Colt with the BMW 1 series leading the field in the compact class. In the category up to 60.000 km, the Mazda 2 (mini cars) and the Skoda Oktavia (compact class) took top spots. The group up to 90.000 km was dominated by the Honda Jazz in the mini car/small car class and by the VW Golf V in the compact class.
  • Mid-sized cars, premium mid-sized and big cars, sports cars/cabriolets, offroaders and vans were placed into groups from 0 to 50,000 km, 50,000 to 100,000 km and 100,000 to 150,000 km. In the midsized group up to 50,000 km the Peugeot 407 took the honours. The Audi A6 won the premium midsized/large car class, the Mercedes SLK the sports car/cabriolet class, the Hyundai Tucson the offroader group and the Seat Altea the van class. The group up to 100,000 km was headed by the Toyota Avensis in the midsize class, by the Audi A8 in the premium midsize/large car class, the Audi A4 Cabrio in the sports car/cabriolet class, by the BMW X3 in the offroader class and the VW Touran in the van class. In the mileage group up to 150,000 km the Audi A4 (midsized car), the BMW 5 series (large midsize/premium segment), the Mazda MX-5 (sports car/cabriolet), the BMW X5 (offroader) and the VW Touran (vans) occupied the top spots.

The second change has been the move to a precise type evaluation. In contrast to all other reports, the DEKRA Faults Report, based on the extensive DEKRA database, now provides a precise type evaluation, for example, for the E-Class Type W211 and not W210. The advantage of this approach is that the reader obtains far more accurate and reliable information as current models and predecessor models are no longer treated as one. However, for a detailed evaluation and correct placement in the ranking it is essential that the data of at least 1,000 inspected vehicles in each mileage group is available.

The model comparison within the vehicle class also increases the usefulness of information. For the first time the report compares the fault figures for the respective model and not the average figure of all vehicles, but the average of the respective vehicle class. The benefit of this approach is that like is compared with like. This means that the faults figure for a vehicle class, such as small cars, is not influenced by the faults quota of other, non-comparable vehicle classes, such as offroaders or sports cars.

150 models profiled on the basis of relevant faults.

In addition to the overview of all faults found, the report takes into account only those faults that play a role in assessing the vehicle quality of the 150 models profiled. In this regard faults on wheels/tyres, impermissible alterations to the vehicle, expired exhaust analysis, damaged side mirrors or out-of-date first-aid kit are not listed because they say nothing about the quality of the vehicle and are unimportant for the used car purchaser. The relevant faults were summarised in five groups: (1) Chassis / steering, (2) Engine / environment, (3) Body / frame / interior, (4) Brake system as well as (5) Electrics / electronics / lights.

The most frequent faults located on brakes, chassis and steering

The most frequent faults detected in this DEKRA report were in the Electrics /electronics / lights category with 12.1 per cent for mini cars, small cars and compact class evaluated in 30,000 kilometre gradations, and 11.3 per cent for larger vehicles evaluated in 50,000 kilometre gradations. Second spot in the fault ranking was taken by brake systems (8.3 / 10.7 %) followed by engine / environment (6.8 / 5.5 %), chassis / steering (4.3 / 7.5 %) and body, frame, interior (1.5 / 1.7 %). The most common causes for complaint among the experts were worn brake linings and discs, defective chassis parts such as supporting ball joints and guide joints, stabilisers and tie rods, engine oil loss, damaged windscreens, defective lights and worn wiper blades.

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