The 2012 Which? Car Survey is open and ready to fill in (go on, it only takes about 15 minutes). It’s the UK’s biggest car reliability and satisfaction survey, but how important is it to you?
OK, I can’t hide my vested interest here. To my mind, the Which? Car Survey is absolutely key to what we do at Which?.
Much as I love our great team of car testers, the annual Car Survey is just as important for finding out which cars will be a joy to own, and which will leave you reaching for the paracetamol – or your wallet – all too frequently.
But I know not everybody puts such faith in the results of consumer surveys as I do. We often hear grumbles from the car industry, and even owners, about some of our survey results – normally when their car hasn’t fared too well.
Your gripes answered
Here are some of the common gripes, and my view on why they miss the point:
‘Only whingers and “fans” fill it in, so the ratings are skewed’: This is a common complaint from carmakers. While the people most naturally likely to complete any survey may be those with a real interest in the topic – or with an axe to grind – we want to hear from all car owners. That’s why we offer a £10,000 prize to one lucky respondent drawn at random – everyone has a good incentive to take part and the odds of winning are a whole lot better than scooping the Lottery jackpot!
‘It doesn’t match our own customer data’: Another common argument made by carmakers to dispute results that they don’t like – to which, my answer is simply that we’re reporting what real owners have told us. We don’t make this stuff up!
‘It doesn’t match my own experiences’: Everyone’s experience of a given car is different – that’s why we need to gather so many views before we draw conclusions. Maybe you own the least reliable recent car in our survey (the Land Rover Discovery 3, if you’re interested) and have never had a day’s trouble with it. If so, count yourself lucky – the fact is that enough other people have reported gripes to drag down its overall ratings.
I’m sure there are some other gripes I’ve forgotten, but the fact is that large-scale surveys like this (we crunched the numbers for more than 63,000 cars last year) are hard to ignore. And, by comparing results with colleagues in consumer organisations around the world, we know that the findings are very similar – whether you’re buying a Nissan in Nottingham or New York.
Complete the survey, complete the picture
So if you’re buying a new or used car, or working in a car manufacturer’s quality control department, some time poring over the Which? Car Survey results can be very illuminating. At least I think so – perhaps you disagree?
And please, don’t forget to make sure your view is heard – head over to the Which? Car Survey now to fill it in. You could end up £10,000 richer!