Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How Consumer Reports Tests

Consumer Reports has earned such a strong reputation for quality testing that when it gave a "don't buy" rating to a Lexus SUV (shown above) last month, Toyota temporarily halted sales of the vehicle. How does the non-profit CR do it?

Today's WSJ has an article about the non-profit's quality testing methods. To test the effectiveness of automatic dishwashers, CR's experts dirty dishes with a combination of messy, sticky, hard-to-clean foods (such as oatmeal, chili, and Cheez Whiz). After the stains are left to harden overnight, dishes are loaded and washed in each model being tested. The test is repeated three times, with photographs to document what goes in and what comes out of each model--including the exact position of the dishes in the dishwasher. This is only one example of the exacting and sometimes unusual tests CR uses.

Non-subscribers can see some CR content online for free. Browse its blogs for the latest news about cars, health, technology, home and garden, and more. If you're a marketer, CR is a must-read for insights into objective criteria for evaluating goods and services in your product category. You should also know what CR says about your offerings and those of your competitors.

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