• May 29, 2008
Strategic Vision has announced the results of its annual Total Quality Awards and is touting the performance of Ford this year versus perennial powerhouse Toyota. Both brands have three vehicles each that lead their segments, which include the Edge, Mustang Convertible and F-250/350 for Ford and Toyota's Yaris, 4Runner and Sequoia. The Volvo C30 also led the Small Specialty under $25,000 segment and the Mercury Sable the Large Car category, while the Scion xB was tops in the Small Multi-Function segment and the Lexus RX350 tied with the Land Rover LR2 in the Near Luxury SUV segment. Though all of those brands are technically owned by either Ford Motor Company or Toyota North America, none were counted by Strategic Vision in the battle of the Blue Oval versus the Japanese Juggernaut, though the automakers still would've tied if they were (if Land Rover were not counted as owned by Ford). Meanwhile, the Medium Car segment was lead by the Volkswagen Jetta, though the new Chevy Malibu jumped to second place (how are the Jetta and Malibu in the same segment?), and Honda had only one car make the list, with the Odyssey being named the best Minivan. Follow the jump to view the leaders of all 19 segments.
While most surveys like this count objective stats like the number of problems encountered during initial ownership, Strategic Vision introduces additional criteria by which to judge vehicle quality like the buying experience, what it's like to own a particular car, its performance and driving and even exterior and interior styling. There's a lot of subjectivity in those additional criteria, which tends to skew the results as a whole regardless of the 20,655 buyer-strong sample pool that was surveyed on the 2008 vehicles it bought during September, October and November of last year. Also, as we were reminded by this post, keep in mind that most automakers are actually clients of Strategic Vision, Ford and Toyota included, so there's also money passing hands between these companies. The appearance of conflicts of interest notwithstanding, new car buyers love lists and automakers work hard to land on them, so you decide for yourself how much weight to give to Strategic Vision's 2008 Total Quality Awards.

[Source: Strategic Vision]

PRESS RELEASE

The 2008 Total Quality Awards™
Ford vs. Toyota: The Battle for Total Quality Intensifies, Reports Strategic Vision

For immediate release - Wednesday, May 28, 2008

San Diego – Toyota and Ford tied for leading in the most segments on Strategic Vision's Total Quality Index™ (TQI), leading with three vehicles each. Toyota lead with its Yaris, 4Runner and Sequoia while Ford lead with the Edge, Mustang Convertible and F-250/350. The San Diego based research firm today announced the 2008 results that are based on the ratings by new vehicle owners in 19 product segments.

Toyota Motor Sales had two additional leaders with the Scion xB and the Lexus RX 350 (which tied with Land Rover's LR2); while Ford Motor Company added two additional wins with the Mercury Sable and Volvo C30. "Ford is back, establishing its vehicle quality in the hearts and minds of its customers," says Alexander Edwards, president of Strategic Vision's automotive division. "The Ford Edge is one of the vehicles Ford can be proud of. By careful attention to key areas such as exterior styling, workmanship and performance, (which are the cues that signal quality for crossover customers), Ford is building vehicles that also build brand equity and perceived customer quality."

The Total Quality Index™ is the premier measure of new vehicle owner satisfaction. It asks buyers to rate all aspects of the ownership experience, from buying and owning to performance and driving. It is much more than simply counting problems. "Innovation and thoughtfulness in functionality and design, keeping in mind how the customer will interact and use the vehicle, is essential," reports Dr. Darrel Edwards, Founder and CEO of Strategic Vision. "Vehicles like the Volvo C30 and Toyota Sequoia are both terrific examples of providing customers with this 'functional luxury' in a very stylish design suggesting quality both on the inside and out."

Mercedes, Honda and Chevrolet brands each had two leaders: Mercedes leading with the S-Class and SL, Honda with the Odyssey and Ridgeline, and Chevrolet with the Corvette Convertible and a tie with itself in full size trucks between the Avalanche and Silverado. From three leads last year, Hyundai took the lead in only one segment this year with its Santa Fe in one of the most competitive automotive segments, the Smaller SUVs. The Volkswagen Jetta, Chrysler 300C and BMW X5 were each TQI leaders. Also worthy of mention is the redesigned Chevrolet Malibu, now second in the highly competitive Medium Car segment.

"Over the past quarter century in the US, customer perceptions of quality of domestic and Asian manufacturers underwent large swings. Today, it doesn't matter if you are a Toyota or a Ford, BMW or Hyundai, each manufacturer has the opportunity and mandate to produce a product with the right Cues of Quality - those product attributes that signal quality and create customer Trust - and present vehicles that have a greater impact on the purchase decision," says Alexander Edwards.

Buyers rated the following vehicles tops in their segments:

Segment Winner(s) TQI Score
Small Car Toyota Yaris 860
Small Multi-Function Scion xB 876
Medium Car Volkswagen Jetta 911
Large Car Mercury Sable 877
Small Specialty Under $25,000 Volvo C30 T5 Hatchback 908
Near Luxury Car Chrysler 300C 927
Luxury Car Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan* 950
Convertibles Under $30,000 Ford Mustang Convertible 896
Convertibles Over $30,000 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible*, Mercedes-Benz SL 940/939
Minivan Honda Odyssey 864
Small SUV Hyundai Santa Fe* 866
Medium Crossover Ford Edge 877
Medium SUV Toyota 4Runner 891
Large SUV Toyota Sequoia 897
Near Luxury SUV Lexus RX 350*, Land Rover LR2 913/912
Luxury SUV BMW X5 907
Standard Pick-Up Honda Ridgeline* 878
Large Pickup Chevrolet Avalanche 1500, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 880/880
Heavy Duty Pickup Ford F-250/350 863

*2007 Total Quality Award™ winner

The Total Quality Index™ was calculated from the responses of 20,655 buyers who bought 2008 models in September, October and November of 2007. Strategic Vision has presented Total Quality annually since 1995.

Since its incorporation in 1989, Strategic Vision has studied consumer and constituent decision-making for the widest variety of clients, including most auto manufacturers, Coca-Cola, American Airlines, Procter and Gamble, as well as for most advertising agencies. Its unique expertise is identifying consumers' motivational hierarchies, including the values that shape perceptions and capture the customers' emotional responses and drive behavior. The firm's in-depth Discovery Interviews and ValueCentered Surveys provide comprehensive, integrated and actionable outcomes.


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  • 50 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Anybody notice that in the Luxury SUV segment, they had the Hummer H3 (not the winner - just in that segment)? That is the most ridiculous thing I have seen in quite some time. Since when does a bloated Chevy Colorado get called a "Luxury SUV"? And Lexus and Land Rover products are in the "Near Luxury" segment? What sort of scale are they using to determine luxury or not?
      • 6 Years Ago
      The best list of all in determining car quality, dependability, happiness factor, prestige, and every other criteria is resale value after 5 years. Thats it.

      These polls and who does them are irrelevant.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You mean % resale value as compared to original purchase price I think.

        Of course, resale value is also driven by these types of surveys.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Robert @ May 29th 2008 12:54PM

        YOU ROCK!

        If you haven't read Robert's post! Scroll back up! The name and time stamp is at the top of this post! :)
        • 6 Years Ago
        i agree absolutely with your comments............. talk to someone right now trying to trade in their ford of any kind........... how happy are they?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Odd, I'd sort of believe the best indicator might include the number of able-moneyed families holding onto their cars and NOT trading them in for something new.

        Resale value is a figure for idiots too stupid to remember that cars aren't investments.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That comment is completely off. SUV resale values have hit the tubes because of gas prices. MINI resale values are the highest in the industry and most gen 1 MINIs were abysmal in quality. Had a friend with one that needed a new tranny in the first year. Usually tied with Land Rover in worst quality in most studies. Resale value is based on supply and demand. People demand things other than just quality.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Resale with respect to transaction price I can believe. It's been four years since I bought my Focus. It retailed for $17,700 and I bought it for $12,500. It is now worth $7,400 for an equity loss of $5,100. The Corolla the Toyota dealer wanted me to pay $16,800 for is now worth about $11,300. Percentage is higher, but the loss is still $5,300 for essentially the same car. However, that extra $4,300 that I didn't spend on the Corolla has been invested and is probably worth close to $7-8k positive financial swing for me (some through debt repayments, some through savings), more than covering the extra value the Corolla is worth.

        I'd say with 0 problems at 58,000 miles, my Focus was the correct choice. Surveys like these are relevant, ultimately, because my resale is worse not just because of supply and demand (let's face it, Ford used to dump these Focuses in fleets) but because of perception. And surveys like these change perception over time.

        Leading to your 5-year resale values...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Let me guess tomorro Toyota will come out and discredit these quality ratings just like they did the others. Toyota is sad.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You have to admit though that this "quality" survey really has very little to do with true quality. This is more of a "Do you still like your car 2 months later and were you happy with the sales experience?" survey.
        • 6 Years Ago
        i find this findings really unbelievable....... did they actually drive a ford edge? that thing is an absolute disaster of a vehicle.............
        • 6 Years Ago
        While embracing the figures that the big 3 pushed for while they had their eyes off the ball like total sales volume, leaving someone else to produce efficient, reliable cars with high customer satisfaction and grow their company.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I recently rented a Ford Edge for about a week. I put about 500 miles on the car. Is it a perfect cross-over? No. But I was actually quite impressed with the car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I just bought a Corolla but I love the Ford Edge...really a nice design.
        • 6 Years Ago
        i guess i was wrong, i am comparing the edge to a toyota highlander....... i shouldnt do that..... there is no comparison, i should have known better.........
      • 6 Years Ago
      http://www.autoblog.com/2007/08/09/buick-ties-lexus-for-top-spot-in-jd-power-2007-vehicle-dependabi/

      enough said, Buick ties Lexus in JD Powers long term dependability

      get off your high horses people
      • 6 Years Ago
      Should be "One would think Mercury customers (all 10 of them) would ..."
      • 6 Years Ago
      "how are the Jetta and Malibu in the same segment"

      Damn near same width, damn near same height, damn near same mpg, damn near same front leg room (within an inch), exact same rear head room, damn near same front head room, damn near same front and rear shoulder room, damn near same trunk.

      Jetta has a bit more standard features and handles better (shorter, shorter wheel base) but aside from that, is it really that difficult to see how two cars which are within in inch of each other in all but overall length and rear leg room(entertaining when the jetta has more trunk space when it's over 10" shorter and only has 2 inches less leg room in the back)
        • 6 Years Ago
        I have been in both cars. The Jetta is much more cramped. You cannot fit a rear-facing baby seat in the back without moving the front seats forward, which for me is impossible. Even the last Malibu didn't have this problem.

        The Jetta is smaller, and in many cases gets worse gas mileage.

        • 6 Years Ago
        The Other Bob.... that may be the case but I'd much rather have a Jetta. German cars just have that feeling you can't get from american and virtually all japanese cars. They handle really well. They are comparable to a BMW in that way (yes BMWs handle better) where as a malibu is just an american car. There is no passion in the driving at all. I've driven both and I was really disappointed with the Malibu. Jay Leno is right when he says that americans can build great trucks and the expensive sports cars but they can't build good mini vans or decent cars. if you drive a european car right now, go test drive a cobalt. EVERYTHING about it screams cheap piece of crap. The way the door closes, the engine starter, the handling, the plastics inside, the comfort and design of the seat. Yes these are small things but especially if you've driven a european car these stand out soo much and they give a very bad impression.

        So that was kinda long winded, but the only way I could see a Malibu and Jetta together is because of size... thats it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        So get an Astra.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Italy, I'd take the Malibu. I still have the memories of my 2000 GTI GLX, which I bought new and sold after just 40,000 miles. I can't remember everything that broke on that car. But here's what I can remember off the top of my head:

        - rear struts and shock top mounts twice (and they needed replacing again when I sold it)
        - rear brakes
        - turn signal stalk
        - MAF
        - coil pack
        - spark plug wires
        - A/C condenser
        - thermostat
        - at least a dozen exterior lights
        - starter motor

        I now have 75,000 miles on a Toyota. In that time I've replaced the following:

        - front and rear brakes
        - A/C clutch solenoid

        Did I prefer the GTI's interior styling? Yup. Did I like how the GTI drove? Yup. But I've got better things to do that go to the VW dealer every other month, and spend an hour waiting for Enterprise rent-a-car to come pick me up. I spent more repairing the GTI in one month than I have spent in total repairing the Toyota.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I find it amazing how people go on and on about resale?

      I had a friend that bought a 2006 BMW 325i, with a fair amount of options. He decided last year that he wanted to sell it. Well low and behold he didn't get anywhere near what he thought he would of for it, and ended up keeping the car.

      Unless you have the intention of leasing, I don't see why people ramble on about how well the resale of their 3 or 3 year old Toyota Camry is? It's not an investment. It's not like you were driving around something that is superior in its class.

      This is the exact mentality that has quite a few people upside down when it comes to their car loans
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ nardvark: very good points, I couldn't agree with you more

        Anyhow it just seems to me that the domestics can do nothing to make right their past issues.

        If they didn't do well on this survey it would have been 'gee the domestics suck, and yet another survey proves it'. When they do well in surveys such as this 'oh what about resale'. Give me a break.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Thank you for pointing that out, PSU. Resale value shouldn't matter nearly as much as the overall quality and reliability of a car should. The smart money is in buying durable pre-owned vehicles, taking full advantage of vehicle depreciation.

        Assuming you're buying a car you really want anyway, why would you hope to sell it down the road in the first place when it's paid for?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Most people only keep their cars for 5 years. So, if they're buying new, the 5-year resale value is important to those people. I think it's kind of silly though, because the discrepancy is compensated for in the difference in purchase price (not MSRP, which is meaningless at this point). With the higher resale value vehicle, your resale value is still a higher percentage of your purchase price, but the absolute value of money you paid to own and sell the car is about equal, because the principle was higher. Also, you lost more interest than necessary, either through financing or opportunity cost in depleting your savings to buy the more expensive vehicle.

        Anyways, if you keep your cars for longer, the only reason to worry about it is if your car is totalled, because it affects your insurance payout.

      • 6 Years Ago
      To the poster who said the Ford Edge is a disaster...How is the Ford Edge a disaster? It's one of the most impressive Ford's in the new line :P...lol and has absolutely no quality issues (I work for a Ford Dealer and it has literally no problems, no recalls, no nothing, they come in for there oil changes, thats it.) I was actually surprised, everyone can talk crap about Ford but thats because they're too blind to see that Ford has changed, pretty much all the new cars Ford has don't come in with any problems, hell the only problem car we ever really had was the older focus's.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I love how polarized the import vs. domestic discussions is on Autblog. And when I say "love", I mean "laugh at because it is so asinine". The Ford Edge IS a great vehicle, and I am loyal neither to imports or domestics (I own both and I think both can produce good and bad vehicles). The poster who said the Ford Edge is a disaster is probably the same one who said the Chrysler 300 was a disaster because its sales had tanked. When I posted sales numbers that indicated it was doing well, I got SILENCE in response. Sometimes I think people make ignorant posts like that as flame bait and nothing more, and yet I do dignify it with a response just in case it might educate some people.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just rented and drove 1600 miles on a Ford Fusion, I can see why they rated high. A very nice, comfortable riding, quiet and well mannered car. Well laid out inside and noticed it got some looks.

      Does it handle like my MB or VW? No, but even though I'm not a Ford guy, I'd consider this car. The wife, always a German owner except for one Chevy a 1984 two door Caprice that we still have (been very trouble free it's whole life) enjoyed this car.

      As to the whole resale thing, it's poularity that drives that engine and customer demand. Best bet forget it drive them until they are dead by another same way, wayyyyyyy less expensive.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Study after study including Consumer Reports which does not take money from the automakers have said that Ford quality is on par with the best in the industry. Not quite there, but it's a safe bet. Quality is not a distinguishing factor though, it's the price of entry.
        • 6 Years Ago
        How many new cars do 18-24 year olds buy? Now that the credit bubble is over, approximately zero.

        Toyota has nothing to appeal to that demographic either. Hardly standing in their way.

          • 6 Years Ago
          x2. Toyota's line-up is just as boring as Ford's to the 18-24 demo (or to any demo for that matter).

          How many 18-24 year olds aspire to own a Camry, Highlander, Avalon, or Sequoia? Not many. Those are cars their parents and grandparents drive. Young people do buy the Yaris -- only because of the price. And as Dan pointed out, the credit crunch is really affecting this group. I have several friends that are priced out of Corollas. The ones that CAN afford them aren't buying them. They either go for sporty (Mazda3 or Civic si), "stylish" (Civic Coupe), green (Civic Hyrbid), or high-tech (Focus). Lots of them aren't buying Corollas for one reason -- they're BORING.

          Without vehicles like the Celica and Supra, Toyota offers nothing enticing to young people who might be able to afford a Toyota in a few years. Scion looked promising at first, but seems to have fizzled. Their atrocious concepts hinting at future Scions are not reassuring.

          Much more so than Ford, Toyota is becoming the modern incarnation of your grandfather's Oldsmobile.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The average Scion buyer was 39 in 2007. Up from 33 in 2003.

        Largely because banks have realized that giving a 6% loan to anyone with a pulse might not have been that great an idea.

        • 6 Years Ago
        While Ford quality may have caught up to Toyota most of the ratings deal with initial findings, not longer term. Regardless, Ford's lineup is dreadfully boring and nothing they have excites the 18 to 24 crowd except at most the Mustang.... which is getting long in the tooth as well.

        • 6 Years Ago
        @Dan
        Uh, Toyota has Scion.
        BTW, totally not a random sample but the 21-24 year olds I knew who bought new cars bought an Audi A4, a Scion tC, and a Nissan Versa Sedan (although the person who got the Versa wasn't too happy about buying a Versa but mostly bought it cuz it was cheap...dunno why she didn't go with the hatchback).
        Somewhat funny, but the person who had the most money at the time of purchase was the Scion tC buyer who worked on Wall St, whereas the Audi was bought by my friend who was still in college (he had worked a lot of part time jobs over the years though).
      • 6 Years Ago
      SV does not release the metrics they "measure" and if you'll notice their prime research paying customers often do very well in these supposed quality metrics.
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