One of the services that the USPS offers is that I get to read most of my neighbor’s magazines, placed in my mailbox, before passing them on to him. His April 2011 Consumer Reports arrived today and they’ve aggregated test results and reliability data by automaker. The top tier is Honda (#1 overall), Suburu and Toyota. Their cars test out well and are reliable. The next tier is Ford, Hyundai, Mazda, Nissan, and Volvo (pretty good cars with pretty good reliability). The German companies have their own tier of high test scores but poor reliability and BMW, Mercedes, and Volkswagen ended up with similar overall scores (VW had substantially better reliability than BMW or Mercedes, though).
How did your $100 billion in tax dollar contributions work out? GM was near the bottom, with crummy cars that have average reliability. Chrysler was an outlier at the bottom, with off-the-chart bad test results and worse-than-average reliability.
This could also serve as a scorecard for government industrial policy. The U.S. government has gone to extraordinary lengths to prop up GM and Chrysler, but their products remain uncompetitive. The Japanese government tried to discourage Honda, then making motorcycles, from entering the automobile market, but Honda ignored the bureaucrats.