Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Ford-Commissioned Study Shows Quality on Par with Honda and Toyota

By Chris Haak


According to a release from Ford, the first quarter 2008 U.S. Global Quality Research System (GQRS) study conducted on its behalf by RDA Group of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan shows that Ford’s domestic brands had an average of 1,284 things-gone-wrong (TGW) per 1,000 vehicles. Honda and Toyota had 1,250 things-gone-wrong in the same study, so this means that a new Ford is 2.7% more likely to experience an initial quality problem than a Honda or Toyota. However, Ford claims that its quality is now "statistically equivalent" to that of the big Japanese brands. Ford is also pointing out that its quality improved 8% over its results last year in the same research, and that 36 of 40 nameplates saw initial quality improvements over 2007's study.

Ford's customer satisfaction score also inched up one percentage point, from 76% to 77%, compared to last year. The company plans to shout its quality message from the mountaintops via a new ad campaign beginning today, entitled "Drive One." According to the company, the campaign will "tell[s] the story behind Ford’s rise to the top of the industry in initial vehicle quality as well as underscoring safety, smart technology and improved fuel efficiency.

Ford Marketing head Jim Farley and his team have their work cut out for them. Only 41% of US consumers will consider a Ford product when they are shopping for a new vehicle. They're now making products that are well-screwed together, but having trouble getting consumers - particularly import intenders - to notice them or give them another chance. To this end, the 2010 Fiesta should be a great vehicle for attracting conquest sales, since it's stylish, modern, and will get excellent fuel economy. Ford's current lineup, however, leaves a bit to be desired in terms of the "gotta have it" factor.

I'll be spending a week with a Mercury Sable starting tomorrow, so I will get to experience Ford's initial quality firsthand. The Sable was one of Ford's best cars in terms of initial quality, with less than one problem per vehicle. Stay tuned for that review.

Click here for the press release from Ford.

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