Audi tops U.S. Consumer Reports vehicle ratings as Tesla falls
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - German luxury automaker Audi on Tuesday topped the annual ranking of new vehicles by influential U.S. magazine Consumer Reports despite the brand's emissions-cheating scandal while quality problems hurt Tesla Motors Inc's TSLA.O Model S luxury car.
Audi was followed by Fuji Heavy Industries' 7270.T Subaru unit, Toyota Motor Corp's 7203.T Lexus brand, Porsche and BMW AG BMWG.DE.
Volkswagen AG's VOWG_p.DE 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 U.S. SUVs and larger cars to emit excess emissions and was forced to halt U.S. sales of new diesel vehicles indefinitely.
Consumer Reports did not rank any VW Group U.S. diesel vehicles since they cannot legally be sold.
David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research, said the top ranking would help Audi even though its image has not suffered as much as its parent's.
Audi U.S. sales were up 2.7 percent in January, while VW brand sales were down 15 percent. "Audi hasn't borne the brunt of what happened," Cole said.
Tesla's Model S electric car was named Consumer Report's best overall car in 2014 and 2015, but this year the magazine opted not to name any best overall vehicle. Continued...