Consumer reports ceo22.10.2020
In the fall ofsomewhere in the southwestern United States, a seven-year-old boy was riding his bicycle down a quiet city street when a male stranger dragged him into a car and drove off. About an hour and a half later, however, the boy escaped. An answer soon came back: Toyota Corona, likely sold between April and April Four days later, authorities arrested the culprit. This story, reported by the United Press International newswire in Februaryand others like it, have helped establish the expertise and authority behind Consumer Reportswhich reviews products ranging from automobiles to showerheads to credit cards.
Scientists strike door locks with sledgehammers and force vacuum cleaners to suck up heaps of Maine Coon hair. The results of these impartial studies are then gathered, examined, and published, ad-free, in Consumer Reports.
Perhaps the most miraculous part of Consumer Reports is that its work is technically a public service: Its parent organization, which publishes the magazine and is also called Consumer Reportsis a nonprofit.
The operation launched inwhen consumer-protection laws were practically nonexistent, and for much of its history the magazine has shaped both consumer sentiment and government policy. Why are online shoppers settling for taking the word of unidentified, and potentially biased, reviewers? Consumer Reports reached its peak number of subscribers inwhen it had nearly 8 million print and digital combinedaccording to Kelli Halyard, a spokesperson.
At present, it has roughly 7 million—3. This is, by magazine standards, a huge subscription base, but the worrisome news for Consumer Reports is that their demographics skew older: The average print subscriber is 65 years old, and the average digital subscriber is We must right the ship.
As for young people, a poll found that Millennials consider online peer reviews to be slightly more trustworthy and memorable than professional ones. This shift in attitude has taken place despite frequent discoveries of fraud in crowdsourced reviews. The incentive for sellers to cheat is strong. Aware that fraudulent reviews can undermine trust in their platform, companies such as Amazon and Yelp channel resources toward rooting them out.
But detection can be difficult, and, at times, Consumer Reports has appeared eager to highlight this weakness. More recently, Consumeristan irreverent blog that Consumers Union the advocacy division of Consumer Reports purchased from Gawker Media in lateposted an article condemning an apparent loophole in Amazon's review policy that allows companies to offer free or discounted products in exchange for reviews.
While Amazon requires reviewers to disclose this arrangement, and companies to accept both positive and negative feedback, the vast majority of these agreements, Consumerist found, result in five-star reviews. Online reviewers, they found, were more likely to give premium brands higher ratings, and rarely compared a variety of similar devices in the same setting, as Consumer Reports does by default.
So why, given that Consumer Reports still offers a valuable and rare service, has its subscriber base contracted in recent years? In some respects, the story is typical of print magazines in general.
Bolstered by a large, if aging, circulation base, the publication was slow to focus on its online offerings. Unwilling to accept money from advertisers, Consumer Reports placed its reviews behind a paywall—a strategy that may have worked for a while, but also isolated the publication from young readers unfamiliar with the brand.
The sister websites The Wirecutter and The Sweethomefor example, publish reviews that mix expert opinion, a fluency in online culture, and creative, if sometimes unorthodox, experiments—like when The Sweethome had bike thieves help evaluate bike locks. Consumer Reports also has another bright spot: Consumerist receives between 2. Its average reader is Luca, the Harvard professor, told me he thinks Consumer Reports should further revise its business model by forming long-term partnerships with the online platforms where consumers already are.
InConsumer Reports took some steps in this direction by partnering with Amazon to provide the site with buying guides for smartwatches and wireless routers. The danger of associations like these, however, is that Consumer Reports risks tarnishing its longstanding reputation as a consumer advocate and independent reviewer of household wares.Or Wall Street analysts. Or employees. He quickly went to work to resolve the issues the year-old group raised with the latest Tesla model.
The response was notable for its swiftness, and it spoke volumes about Consumer Reports' influence. Judging by what many have said about the Yonkers, New York-based company, Musk may not have had much of a choice but to address its concerns. Since it was founded inthe group's thorough evaluations of cars and other products have been an indispensable guide for generations of consumers.
That reputation persists despite a growing number of rival automotive reviewers, testers and publications in the world, and a declining subscriber base. Much of its reputation hinges on it doing things no other reviewer does. It is a nonprofit organization that secretly buys cars like ordinary customers and has a history of eschewing any form of advertising or other entanglements that could appear to compromise its impartiality.
Many of its staff members have backgrounds in engineering and have worked for automakers or suppliers. Automakers have sued the group, and executives have lashed out over negative reviews.
At least one distributor has gone so far as to claim in court that a bad review of a car had demonstrably hurt sales. But that has had little impact on the group. Even in an increasingly competitive media landscape filled with review sites, blogs and other outlets — some of which are formidable competitors — Consumer Reports still manages to ruffle feathers.
On May 21 the group said it could not recommend the Tesla Model 3. Musk didn't publicly disparage the group.
Instead, he took the feedback and said on Twitter that the issue could be remedied with a remote update to the firmware on every Model 3 on the road. The chief concern was the Model 3's long stopping distance.
The car took feet to come to a full stop from 60 miles per hour, far more than any contemporary sedan and even 7 more feet than the Ford F, a full-size pickup. Tesla said the Model 3 hadreservations at the end of its first quarter ofand the car has garnered praise from numerous outlets. But a bad review from Consumer Reports on such a new, and closely watched vehicle could have dealt a serious blow to Musk's plan to make the Model 3 the best-selling mid-size sedan in America, especially after less than a year of production.
After Musk spoke with Consumer Reports' lead automotive tester, Jake Fisher, he did something Fisher never saw before. The electric car maker issued a remote software update to all Model 3 cars on the road, reducing every vehicle's stopping distance to an acceptable degree, just days after Consumer Reports issued its first review.
Fisher worked as a development engineer for General Motors before joining the group. In the very same week, where I had a conversation with Elon Musk and explain the problem, they were able to verify it and send our vehicle an update. Tesla's reaction to the Model 3 brake test was quite a reversal from how it behaved in latewhen Consumer Reports said the Model 3 would have an "average reliability" rating, saying it would be "par for the course" in its class.
At that time, the electric car maker shot back. Consumer Reports has more than 7 million members who read its print magazine and website and many more read about which cars it recommends in other media coverage. In the industry, only a few other groups, arguably J.
Securing a recommendation from the group can make a demonstrable difference in a brand's sales, industry watchers say. And a bad one can incur anger, and even lawsuits. It is a big deal. Getting a 'not recommended' from Consumer Reports is not recommended.It was also her parents' most painful decision. During the Cuban revolution, they left behind their family, their friends and the home they had built in Havana and fled to the United States.
Tellado says her parents' ability to work hard and provide for her and her three brothers while always giving them the attention they needed helped her to succeed. After graduation, she landed jobs in the world of consumer advocacy, public policy and social justice, working with consumer advocates like Ralph Nader and Joan Claybrook at Public Citizen and politicians like former U.
Senator Bill Bradley. Senate was a public service highlight for me," says Tellado. Tellado joined Consumer Reports, the largest nonprofit consumer organization in the world, in as its president and CEO.
Not everybody's life story starts out with a revolution, but mine happened to do just that. I was born in Havana and, like clockwork, just about the minute I arrived, Cuba became a political flashpoint. My parents were staunch believers in Democratic principles -- in the power of choice, voice, participation and free expression. And so, when I was two and a half years old, they got my three brothers and me onto a plane, and we took off for Newark, New Jersey.
Our whole family, including my grandparents, lived in one apartment. For the longest time, I just assumed that every kid grew up in their dining room, sharing bunk beds with their brothers. Of course, right outside of that cozy little apartment, the '60s were happening. Newark was literally burning. There was so much rage, so much passion spilling out onto the streets, particularly when it came to race relations and civil rights. Growing up against that backdrop played a big role in forming the person I later became, and the social justice causes to which I've devoted myself.
Please describe how you and your family fit into the neighborhood that you grew up in. Our first home in Newark was a three-story walk up in the Clinton Hill area.
Consumer Reports CEO: Coming to the U.S. was her biggest break
We lived there until my other grandparents arrived, at which point we moved into a small house in the Weequahic Park neighborhood, an area that was in transition as middle-class families moved to the suburbs. When my family moved there, we were the first Latino family in the neighborhood and almost all of my friends were Jewish -- in fact, one of my best friends grew up to become a rabbi. But very quickly, the demographics of the neighborhood shifted around us, and pretty soon all of my friends were African-American.
So it was an incredibly dynamic neighborhood, and, as a child, being exposed to so many people who were different from me -- who came from different backgrounds, had different traditions, even ate different food -- was such a positive learning experience.
But our neighborhood was not immune to the tensions that were happening in society, including the struggle for racial equality and women's rights. Some of that was certainly mirrored in our neighborhood, and it impacted friendships.
Consumer Reports undergoes makeover
As children playing hopscotch and jumping rope, it was not always obvious to us why race mattered, but what we saw being played out on television and in our neighborhood sensitized us to the larger struggles taking place in this new country we called home. What was the biggest hurdle you ever encountered and how did you overcome it? I have lost a number of dear friends prematurely over the years. I learned that you never stop missing them, but that their spirit and contributions stay with you.
Do you think you were given fewer opportunities to get ahead than other successful people when they were growing up? Well, as far as opportunities go, it's not for me to say -- what I do know is that I was given several extraordinary opportunities to get ahead by my parents, just by virtue of their values, their decisions, and their sacrifices.I picked up my first Consumer Reports magazine at the supermarket when I moved back to the U.
So my first few times buying the magazine was to read the reviews of products I needed. As time went on, I enjoyed it for other reasons. The articles helped me understand my rights as a consumer and uncover information about everything from car insurance to health supplements. But it was not until recently, when I became a brand ambassador for Consumer Reports that I learned that the organization is about more than just that.
Having a discussion about medical identity theft with the editorial team. A recent hosted visit to the headquarters in Yonkers, New York along with other brand ambassadors helped me understand more of what this non-for-profit organization really does. One of the most important things I learned is that in order to offer truly unbiased reviews, Consumer Reports buys each and every one of the products they test, review and rate. Consumer Reports is non-profit and non-partisan and supports itself through digital and magazine subscriptions as well as donations.
In addition to the magazine and product ratings, the organization does advocacy work — holding both businesses and government accountable. It was truly interesting to visit the test labs at their headquarters, and see first-hand how expert staff performs tests on every group of products, from electronic gadgets to cars, and including food.
I did not imagine the tests to be as thorough as they are. And guess what? You can request a tour of the premises. How Consumer Reports is evolving When I visited the headquarters, Consumer Reports had just undergone its most recent brand image overhaul, which reflects the purpose of the organization to work with and for customers.
The positive vibrant spirit could be seen and felt in the staff of all departments. Their product and service ratings have also evolved to be more intuitive.
These are now based on a scale where green is excellent and red is poor, which makes it all easier to understand at a first glance. In the year ahead, Consumer Reports plans to test more than 3, products, employing the expertise of hundreds of specially trained analysts, engineers, editors, researchers, product testers and experts.
Consumer Reports CEO: Coming to the U.S. was her biggest break
Consumer Reports also plans to continue to publish numerous reports on major consumer topics such as keeping your money safe, choosing smart healthcare options, making sense of all the new gadgets and technologies and continue advocating in Congress for your rights and protection for consumers. Holiday gift guide Another point of interest throughout the years for me, when I was not yet an Ambassador for Consumer Reports, was their Holiday Gift Guide.Consumer Reportsthe year old product review publication, will undergo a comprehensive makeover in an effort to to broaden digital readership, including a new ratings system and a variety of pricing options.
With fewer readers opting for print magazines, the changes are meant to widen its presence in old and emerging digital platforms. The magazine has never relied on print advertising for revenue, so the print ad market volatility has been less of a factor in its redesign.
But more competition is constantly emerging online, providing plenty of free reviews and ratings to shoppers, even if they're often biased or tied to promotion. Consumer Reportsowned by nonprofit Consumers Union, has about 7 million subscribers, including 3. Consumer Reports has determined that its charts — listing the scores of various qualities of a product -- were difficult for readers to understand. With social media shares becoming increasingly important, it is simplifying its ratings with easy-to-understand graphics.
Arrows will also be used for colorblind readers to indicate positive ratings. The free tier will continue to offer material on its free website, including stories as well as hospital ratings and their infection rates. It also plans to introduce a new online forum for users to share their experiences and reviews. Like other news organizations targeting video fans and advertisers, Consumer Reports plans to make more videos and distribute them on new digital distribution points, including apps on Apple TV and 3D content in Oculus video.
Starting with the November issue, gone are the large black letters, replaced by more streamlined lettering and larger graphics.
Elon Musk often blows up at critics, but when Consumer Reports complains, even Tesla's CEO listens
The navigation could not be loaded.Subaru and Toyota dominated the Consumer Reports list of the best new vehicles of While Toyota scored four wins in the 10 vehicle categories, surging Japanese automaker Subaru was named as the best brand in the industry, beating even luxury competitors.
Subaru ranked first overall among 33 brands, followed by four luxury brands: Genesis, Porsche, Audi and Lexus. The company has been on a tremendous sales streak in the U. Where's my money? How long should it take to get my tax refund this year? The list gauges customer satisfaction through comprehensive surveys and combines those measures with Consumer Reports' testing of fuel economy performance and reliability. It does not take into account styling preferences or popularity.
But it might not help much. Hybrid sales have tanked, and subcompact cars have fallen out of favor amid a nationwide SUV boom. As a brand, Toyota ranked ninth out of But "they're not as well-rounded as Subaru" due to some models that didn't test well.
Consumer Reports also said it can no longer recommend the Tesla Model 3 electric sedan after noticing substantive manufacturing defects, including "loose body trim" and "glass defects," such as windows cracking too easily. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has argued that the company is repeatedly improving the Model 3 through manufacturing changes and software upgrades. But the company's aggressive move to accelerate the pace of production in may have caused some issues, Fisher said.
That reflects the popularity of the Tesla brand and its position as a status symbol for many buyers, he said. Tesla said in a statement that its cars are "the safest and best performing vehicles available today. Fiat and Jaguar ranked last and second to last among the worst-performing brands in the industry, though Fisher noted that the Consumer Reports ranking doesn't reflect elements like "panache" and vehicle styling.
In one key change forthe publication updated its criteria this year to reward automakers for adapting new advanced safety components, including pedestrian detection systems that trigger automatic emergency braking.
This is the nation's most popular vehicle for a reason.No-contract Cell Service: How Good a Deal? - Consumer Reports
The perennial best-seller also nabbed the top spot on the Consumer Reports list for its "brisk acceleration, effortless towing ability and impressive fuel economy. Redesigned forthe Forester prevails in probably the most crowded category.
It's solid all around, including comfort, steering, safety and fuel economy. Talk about a nice rookie outing. But Consumer Reports said the vehicle is smooth and efficient with a comfortable and functional interior. The Kona is starting to make its mark. As a small SUV, it has a lot of competition, but Consumer Reports said it's versatile with good safety equipment and affordability.
The Avalon hybrid's spacious interior and impressive fuel economy stood out. In Consumer Reports testing, the vehicle got 42 mpg overall and 52 mpg on the highway, which are "astounding numbers for such a large car," the publication said.
The Yaris has "an impressive degree of quality and a joyful driving experience at an affordable price. The Prius owns the Consumer reports record for most times on the Top Picks list: In the publication's testing, it got 52 mpg overall and 59 mpg on the highway.
With 47 mpg overall, it's "hyper efficient" for a midsized vehicle.We respect your privacy. All email addresses you provide will be used just for sending this story. Tellado, currently vice president for global communications and an officer of the board at the Ford Foundation in New York, succeeds James Guest, who has led Consumer Reports since We are both fortunate and absolutely thrilled to have her as our next President and CEO.
We could not be more excited to welcome Marta to Consumer Reports. Tellado will assume leadership of Consumer Reports from Mr. Tellado said. The organization is well positioned to articulate a compelling vision of a more just society in which consumers play a central role.
I am proud and humbled to lead this charge at Consumer Reports. Born in Cuba and raised in New Jersey, Ms. Tellado began her career in public policy, advocacy and social justice working alongside Ralph Nader and Joan Claybrook at Public Citizen. She holds an M. D in political science from Yale University. As vice president at the Ford Foundation over the last nine years, Ms. Tellado has led strategic communications and advocacy on a range of social justice issues in the United States and around the world, including such issues as economic fairness, free and fair access to an open Internet, and civil rights.
The organization rates thousands of products and services at its 50 labs, auto test center and survey research center. Consumer Reports employs almost staff, with more than eight million subscribers to its flagship magazine, website and other publications. In addition, Consumer Reports has achieved substantial gains for consumers through its advocacy on health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues at the federal, state and local level.
The organization has advanced important policies to cut hospital-acquired infections, prohibit predatory lending practices and combat dangerous toxins in foods.
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