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Most auto pundits will tell you that Ford has made great strides in quality over the last few years. Ford's own studies, performed for the automaker by third party RDA Group, show that the efforts continue to pay off, with Ford pulling even with Toyota in initial quality and breezing by Honda. It's a little bit like a cigarette company funding studies on smoking safety, but the results aren't far-fetched.

The five cars that Ford touts as segment leaders in initial quality – Mustang, Taurus, Taurus X, Milan, and Ranger – have been praised in the open waters of the media, though the Ranger has been left behind as its competitors have upsized, and the Taurus X is not long for this world.

For the first quarter of 2009, problems-per-vehicle have dropped by 5% to 1,228 per 1,000 vehicles, meaning that there's a good number of Ford vehicles that show no initial quality defects whatsoever. Toyota's 1,150 per 1,000 rate of things gone wrong is considered equal to the performance of the Ford models, and Honda's not too far behind at 1,422, despite Ford saying its showing is "significantly better" than Honda's. Initial quality is only part of the deal, of course, with long-term quality scores telling more of the story. Of course, initial quality helps too, and besides, it's easier to ace the long-term test when you start off with a bang. Press release after the break.

[Source: Ford]

STUDY: FORD SURPASSES HONDA IN INITIAL QUALITY

  • Ford surpasses Honda in initial quality and remains in a statistical tie at the top with Toyota.
  • Ford's initial vehicle quality improved 5 percent over last year.
  • Ford customer satisfaction continues to improve and is equal to Toyota and Honda.
  • Ford has five segment leaders: Ford Mustang, Taurus, Taurus X and Ranger, and Mercury Milan.

DEARBORN, April 17, 2009 – Ford Motor Company, continuing its rapid quality improvement, surpassed Honda in initial vehicle quality for the first time and reached new levels of customer satisfaction with vehicle quality, a new survey shows.

Ford is also statistically tied with Toyota at the top of the industry when it comes to initial vehicle quality, according to the 2009 U.S. Global Quality Research System (GQRS) survey conducted quarterly for Ford by RDA Group of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

"This is truly a significant accomplishment for us," said Bennie Fowler, Ford group vice president, Global Quality. "Honda and Toyota have claimed bragging rights for years, but now we are seeing our hard work pay off. It's evident in study after study."

The latest GQRS survey measured 2009 model year vehicle initial quality in two categories: the number of "things gone wrong," and customer satisfaction with vehicle quality in the first three months of ownership.

In the first quarter of 2009, Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles saw things gone wrong fall by 5 percent to 1,228 per 1,000 vehicles, significantly better than Honda's 1,422 things gone wrong per 1,000 vehicles and statistically equal to Toyota's 1,150.

In addition, the survey shows that Ford Lincoln Mercury improved two percentage points to 79 percent in customer satisfaction with vehicle quality, which puts Ford's domestic brands in a tie with Toyota and Honda for industry leadership.

"Ford's commitment to quality is really paying off as they continue to rival Honda and Toyota on both initial quality and customer satisfaction with the quality," said Donald Pietrowski, president, RDA Group.

The following models led their respective segments in the survey:

  • Ford Mustang – initial quality and customer satisfaction for sports cars
  • Ford Taurus – initial quality for large cars
  • Ford Taurus X – initial quality for crossover utilities
  • Mercury Milan – initial quality for midsize cars
  • Ford Ranger – initial quality for compact pickups

The new 2009 Ford F-150 recorded quality levels that equate to less than one problem per vehicle, as did the Taurus, Taurus X, Fusion, Milan, and Edge.

"We are energized by the continuous improvement we are seeing on both initial vehicle quality and customer satisfaction," said Fowler. "This survey validates the hard work and dedication to quality from Ford employees, suppliers and dealers. We will keep the momentum going as we strive to become the clear global quality leader."

The GQRS study is conducted on a quarterly basis with scores assessed from survey responses collected from owners of vehicles purchased within specific short-term time frames.

New vehicle owners are asked to report any defects or issues as well as rate their satisfaction with vehicle quality on a scale of 1 to 10 across an array of vehicle systems and features.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 57 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      The title is misleading, if the survey was conducted by a third party (albeit, for Ford), than it's not Ford that's saying it, it's the third party.

      Provided the survey question(s) weren't biased in any way it's just as worthy as the JD Power ones.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They got their paycheck from Ford, unlike JD Powers which gets money from multiple automotive interests.

        So its not quite the same.
        • 5 Years Ago
        What a coincidence! I just commissioned a study which concluded that my comments are consistently the highest-quality ones on Autoblog.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ford's publishing the results because it serves the point they're trying to make, had their ratings been low, it would've remained internal matter.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's not the same, they're still citing an independant third party source while you aren't, you're just making that up.

        It's not a bloody catchline, it's a study, get your stuff right.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And finally:

        "It's a little bit like a cigarette company funding studies on smoking safety, but the results aren't far-fetched."

        No, it isn't, because the tobacco companies created the study groups, they weren't done by third parties (more like second parties). It's like public lobbying, where in this case it was done by a third party for Ford (look up RDA G.), and used as a marketing ploy by Ford as it serves the point they're trying to make these days. Had the results been low, we would have never heard of this study.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What I find remarkable about the comments made already is the prevalence of negative comments made from positions of long-held opinion -- as if the quality of a '90s-era car is somehow applicable to the quality assessment of a current model. Obviously, it isn't applicable. Company leadership, engineers and designers come and go. Technologies and manufacturing techniques improve over time. The knuckleheads responsible for some crappy car made 10, 20 years ago rarely are the same people developing today's vehicles. On the whole, today's automotive workforce is much better equipped to ferret out quality issues long before they reach production due to advances in computer-aided engineering tools. In general, the quality of vehicles made today by any automaker (foreign or domestic) is much much better than it used to be. So, if you think you know what any automaker is capable of you'd better think again. The competition has raised everyone's game.
      • 5 Years Ago
      its definitely good news to hear a domestic maker doing well in 'Initial' quality..
      i hope it turns out to be lowering cost in ownership and reliability too over the years..
      • 5 Years Ago
      "as if the quality of a '90s-era car is somehow applicable to the quality assessment of a current model. Obviously, it isn't applicable. Company leadership, engineers and designers come and go. Technologies and manufacturing techniques improve over time. The knuckleheads responsible for some crappy car made 10, 20 years ago rarely are the same people developing today's vehicles."

      That is a comment well said.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sorry...when Ford DOESN'T have to compare itself to Toyota and Honda THEN it will be positive for Ford. Until then, they are playing catchup. They have to catch up in the minds of buyers and that's a LOT harder to do than tout your own private studies. Ford needs to breed brand loyalty from youth on up, as Toyota has done for 40 years.

      The Fiesta is a good start. Hopefully they dont f-it up like they did the Focus.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Game..............

      according to KIA, KIA initial quality beats Honda, ties ACURA... according to KIA
        • 5 Years Ago
        P.V.

        "I'm not sure what you're trying to say"


        means blow one's own trumpet,praise the goods one sells
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm not sure what you're trying to say: is KIA really beating Honda/Acura, or is it similar to the Ford study in its bias? In any case, I'm taking both with a bit of salt.
      • 5 Years Ago
      @ Anti-believer

      It's not like Honda hadn't ever had a recall.

      Btw, If the quality of the Fords was so bad then why is it that my cousin has a modded 1999 Ford Mustang and he haven't had any problem with it specially with 211,000 miles?

      Please, Stop with your anti-domesting Bulls-h-i-t!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I feel ya.

      I have a '97 Accord with 207K.

      All my Hondas before have reached over 170K before moving on to another.


      This Ford memo is BS! They'll release this positive info to toot their own horn, self-bj, stroke their own pistion but when they have gas tanks exploding, crusie control fires, horrible tires, weak roof supports, they don't give out that memo!!!

      Ford still sucks! They only trying to do right now cause they were on the brink of a diaster. Typical American BS!

      Honda is still the better automobile maker.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't even know where to begin with a person like you. Did you read the whole article? Oh, I didn't think you did. Ford has the GQRS conducting quality surveys for them. The study found that Ford had better initial quality than Honda. So basically, you scraped your knee when Ford beat Honda and now I guess you need to B1tch and cry about it. Ford's reason for releasing this is to improve their image, because back in the 90s Bill Ford screwed the company up. Now Alan Mulally has come in, got people working to make better, more efficent, more relieable cars, and IT'S WORKING. Fusion, Fusion Hybrid, Escape Hybrid, F-150, Ranger, and Expedition are all the most fuel efficent cars in their class. All their new models, especialy the edge and the flex have won multiple design awards, including the APEAL award from J.D. Power. And then there are studies like these that show that Ford is among the best of the best (and better than Honda) for initial quality. Ford has recieved much praise for the relieability of their Duratec engine line, and their 3.5L Duratec V6 was one of Ward's 10 best engines for 2008, and part of their choosing it was the duratec engine line's relieabity. So go cry in your piece of cr@p accord instead of bothering us.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I read an article that says GM placed right behind Ford. Don't remember where I read it, but I just thought that would be an interesting bit to add. It's kind of sad, because most people won't even care that two of three domestics are currently competitive.
        • 5 Years Ago
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't dislike GMs just to dislike GMs. I dislike what they have to offer right now.

        Example. The Cobalt SS. I wish I liked it. It is fast, handles well and a decent interior. The problem is the styling and simple things like it is a hatchback, without the hatchback.

        Seems like this happens with a lot of GM cars.

        However, Ford seems to be doing MUCH better in this area. Practical, cool and functional cars coming to the US.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I know what you mean.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Stumpy,

        Well put. I couldn't have said it better myself.

        jv2k, he means it's a fastback with a tiny little useless trunklid instead of a full hatch that would actually be practical.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The hell does "hatchback without the hatchback" mean?
      • 5 Years Ago
      AUTOBLOG, the title of your article is definitely misleading.

      According to your article this was accomplished by a third party which ford hired to find possible flaws with their cars.

      so the ones who found their initial quality being better than honda and ties with toyota is the third party which in this case is RDA Group.

      So basically Ford is not saying anything, It's the RDA Group.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think CR too has noted an increase in Ford Quality.
      • 5 Years Ago
      When Honda was ahead of the game all the pundits bashed D3 companies. Now that some are ahead, its " not that significant". Go get'em Ford!
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