Consumer Reports pulls recommendation for Toyota Camry

Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:51pm EDT
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By Ben Klayman

DETROIT (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp's (7203.T: Quote) reputation for quality took a hit on Monday when influential magazine Consumer Reports pulled its recommendation on three of the Japanese automaker's vehicles, including its popular flagship Camry sedan, due to poor crash test results.

While Toyota's luxury Lexus and namesake brands were ranked most reliable in the U.S. auto industry in Consumer Reports' annual new-car reliability survey, the magazine said it will no longer recommend the Camry, Prius v model or RAV4 sport utility vehicle because they received "poor" ratings in a crash test started last year by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

"We're a year into it, we've got over 50 vehicles tested and there's enough that are doing adequately on this test that now we're making the shift and pulling recommendations from any car that gets a poor" rating, Jake Fisher, director of auto testing at Consumer Reports, said of the IIHS test.

"Honestly, we don't take this lightly, but virtually every vehicle now in the family sedan category has been tested and the only one that has gotten a 'poor' is the Camry," he added. "At this point, we don't feel we can continue to recommend people buy a Camry when there's other good choices out there that do better on the test."

Consumer Reports is one of the most widely trusted names for consumers shopping for cars, and companies try to ensure their vehicles earn the magazine's coveted "recommended" rating.

Last year, the IIHS, a non-profit group funded by the insurance industry, increased the rigor of its tests to include crashes that involve only a front corner of a vehicle. Consumer Reports waited to adjust its buyer recommendations until it saw how the entire industry was affected by the test.

The magazine does not recommend consumers buy a car that fares poorly in any crash tests.

In the first nine months of the year, the Camry was the third-most-sold vehicle in the United States, behind two full-size pickup trucks. Its sales were up 1.3 percent from the year-ago period to 318,990 cars, compared with an increase of almost 14 percent by rival Honda Motor Co's (7267.T: Quote) Accord sedan.   Continued...

A Toyota Camry is seen at the Chicago Auto Show February 9, 2010. REUTERS/John Gress