PART I: WHAT LEMONS ARE LEMONS AND WHO MAKES THEM
To most, Lemons are a versatile fruit that works great in Tea, helps freshen the air, and remove the occasional stain. To the auto industry, however, lemons are anything but useful.
A Lemon is a slang term referring to any car that was an absolutle piece of junk right off the assembly line. Was it bad parts? Poor engineering? Hasty assembly? It’s hard to pinpoint exactly, but it happens, and it’s expensive.
All data concerning the amount of lemons made by each car company below comes from a 2016 Study done by AutoGuide. You can view the data on their website, AutoGuide.com.
Too Tart to Tame
FCA produced the most lemons. Of the nine car brands they sell, five were below the industry average. Fiat was hands down the worst on the list, they made one 1 lemon for every 76,808 cars produced. Jeep made one for every 131,574 cars, Dodge made one for every 402,728 cars, Chrysler made one for every 596,377 cars, and Ram made one for every 856,136 trucks.
Background Info: Chrysler has played hot potato with istelf many times over the last few years, constantly changing names and owners. After being partnered with Mercedes-Benz owner Diamler for years, Diamler bailed out during the recession and shortly after filing for bankrupcy, Chrysler was purhased by Fiat.
Ford Motor Company
The majority of their brands did not make this list, but flagship Ford did, and it didnt do well, making one lemon per every 676,484 cars. Their F-Series of trucks are highly touted as quality, so the lemons are likley coming from the Sedans and SUV’s. (by the way, Ford is axing all sedans in their lineup except for the Mustang and Focus.)
Background info: FoMoCo is not the first car company Henry Ford started (ever heard of Cadillac?) but it was the one to actualy keep bearing his name in the end. Ford is one of the longest standing automakers in the USA, and was one of the few American car companies to make a profit in 2009.
Sweet & Sour
General Motors Company
GM is a curious case, as they have both the 5th best and 2nd worst brands on the list. Buick was stellar, manufacturing one lemon per 1.26 Million vehicles. Cadillac, however, was only bested by Fiat for the brand with the worst quality control with one lemon every 103,167 vehicles. Flagship Chevrolet was well below industry average with one lemon per 640,438 cars.
Background Info: Though it’s brand is over 100 years old, General Motors Company is technically only 8 years old, as the original General Motors Corporation went bankrupt in 2009 and sold off it’s brands to New GM. The Majority of General Motors statyed intact under the new company because the GM trademark as well as most major brands were purchased. Not everything was saved, however. Rest in Peace, Hummer.
Honda Motor Company
Honda was second best, with only one lemon per approximately 3 Million cars. Luxury brand Acura, however, made one lemon per 516,436 cars.
Background Info: After nearly being purchased by Mitsubishi in the 1990’s due to a hostile takeover attempt, Honda quickly entered the SUV and Minivan market, stole American autobuyer’s hearts in the process, and haven’t looked back yet.
Toyota Motor Corporation
Toyota built their legacy on longevity, and today that’s no different. they did a whopping 10 times better than the industry average, making one lemon per 11 Million vehicles. 2nd place Honda was 8 million cars behind.
Background Info: Toyota is credited with having the most efficent assembly line of any industry and holds the unique distinction of being “more American” than 3 of it’s actual American counterparts by building 61% of it’s fleet in the United States – more than Buick, Chrysler and Lincoln.
Diamler AG, BMW.
Mercedes-Benz, and BMW took 3rd, and 4th respectivly. Mercedes and BMW almost tie at approximately one lemon per 2 million cars. German engineering once again proves it’s consistency.
Next time, we’ll talk all about Lemon Laws in North Carolina.