Ford has taken it on the chin from J.D. Power since the carmaker rolled out its new MyFord Touch system in the 2011 Explorer. Ford's ranking in the influential Initial Quality Survey dropped from fifth last year all the way down to 23rd, in large measure because of customer dissatisfaction with the new technology and its voice recognition interface, but also because of refinement complaints about the PowerShift dual-clutch transmission in the Fiesta. But unlike, say, the Houston Cougars, who plummeted in the Bowl Championship Series rankings after getting blown out in the Conference USA title game this weekend, Ford can make a pretty good case that it's getting jobbed.

The traditional definition of quality when it comes to new cars and trucks has been based on those vehicles being free of defects. But in the last few years, the tide has been turning, in large measure because J.D. Power is increasingly weighing customer complaints related to design and, in particular, new electronic technology. Car and Driver paints the complaints that have dogged Ford among the latter, suggesting that these are less valid quality metrics than something like a poorly assembled door panel.

The venerable buff book doesn't stop at defending Ford, however, cautioning against what it sees as a trend "toward the lowest-common-denominator solutions to reduce design 'problems.'" Citing examples like BMW moving its cruise control from a separate stalk to buttons on the steering wheel to appease whining customers and Porsche getting dinged on IQS for using brake pads that generate too much dust, C/D doesn't say it outright, but certainly implies that J.D. Power is no longer pushing automakers in the right direction.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 77 Comments
      carnut0913
      • 3 Years Ago
      The problem is that JDP is knocking mftrs on their Initial Quality for issues that should and have traditionally been on Customer Satisfaction scores. The problem for JDP is that their heralded mftrs have dropped off the cliff in IQS so how do they level the field? They introduce new variables meant to knock Ford and others so Toyota's 2010 drop to 21st doesnt look so bad.
      SAAj
      • 3 Years Ago
      JD Powers definitely needs to make a clear distinction between design quality and manufacturing quality issues. I, being 25, have no problems with interfaces such as Sync. They could be more streamlined, but they definitely don't ruin my perception of a vehicle's quality.
        Greg
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SAAj
        If the end result is inconvenience for the owner/driver, then why should they be separated? How is a door that is difficult to open/close different than a stereo that is difficult to operate? A poorly assembled door is likely due to the door being designed poorly (making it difficult to assemble correctly). Similarly, a poorly designed transmission is likely due to a poor design practice which makes it hard to execute the design process correctly. What it all boils down to is a failure of someone executing their job. If that person is an assembly mechanic, a software engineer, or a QA inspector, it doesn't really matter to me.
      Tolitz Rosel
      • 3 Years Ago
      Isn't a software crashing considered a defect? Is there a gray area for software that fails to work? Just wondering...
      Temple
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Quality" is largely perception. The MyTouch issues represent a usability issue that frustrates consumers. On MyTouch trying to make routine adjustments for the air-conditioning, which is traditionally a button push or knob change away, takes paging through menus and taking your eyes off the road for unacceptable lengths of time. Its poorly executed. They may not be true mechanical problems like IQS study used to represent, but software these days are a central part of a users experience. Same goes with the DSG issues in the Focus, or Porche's brake-dust issues, they may not be too harmful, but if consumers perceive those issues to represent poor quality, then it needs to be fixed. Fortunately, a lot of these issues are simply fixed. Ford is issuing USB sticks with updates, software improves, and things get better. These issues shouldn't be ignored, the average consumer does' t follow the JD Power IQS study, if it can be used to fix usability problems then it should be applied.
      Julius
      • 3 Years Ago
      For good or bad, this is something that I expect to get worse. As automakers have largely been successful in driving down their overall "defect rates", the only thing left to measure that's still common is the things in a survey that "bug" people. Of course, there are plenty of people who buy a car for the wrong reasons (read: prefer no brake dust to good braking performance on a Porsche, or good parking-lot manners in a Wrangler) who will continue to downrate those vehicles for doing exactly what they were designed to do.
      MrWhopee
      • 3 Years Ago
      THis is all valid concerns, but it's difficult to separate quality issues and design problems. An obtuse audio system probably is not a "quality problem", but a touch screen system that often was unresponsive might be, even though it might be a design issue, i.e. a perfectly working head unit might do that. Also harsh-shifting transmission might be flagged as a quality issue, even though the transmission shift that way by design.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Luke
        • 3 Years Ago
        Do yourself a favor: Do some research before you post. That way you don't look like so ignorant.
          Lachmund
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Luke
          but all his posts are just this one thing. ignorant
        Scot Ferguson
        • 3 Years Ago
        Dear Columbianricer, Thanks anyway though. Every thought or opinion you share is now suspect due to the simple fact that you can't spell. For your reference, it goes: 1,2, 3, 4 then 5.
      Whafrodamus
      • 3 Years Ago
      If JD Power had their way, we would all be driving Accords and Camrys. As an informed driver, I agree that brake dust on Porsches is a clear sign that their overall quality sucks. That's why I'm going to buy a Camry. [/sarcasm]
        gnvlscdt23f
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Whafrodamus
        You need to think outside your own little world. You're an informed buyer. The automaker's wet dream is an uniformed buyer. You buy a Porsche because you want a great performing car. Lots of guy buy one because they want to get laid. Sure, he enjoys ripping some curves, but now he heads to the club and a chick he wants sees his car and says "I'd do him, but he's too lazy to washing his freakin' car. Next". Or he knows that and now has to take time out to wash his wheels. Sure, he'd be getting one skany, materialistic piece, but he was just wanting to boff her anyway. BUT it's because other materials would degrade braking! you scream. Well, there's another option: R&D on other materials. OR coatings for the wheels to make the dust not stick. Quality and reliability aren't the same. Quality includes good design and good design is things people DON'T notice. The respondents to this survey are still in the "honeymoon" period with their cars, yet still felt this an issue they fretted about enough to report it. By the time the loan is over, many would at least be looking at other makes. People buy lots of Camrys and Accords because they don't have to think about there. There's no reason other cars can't have that same quality while still being fun. The Power survey is the road there and to profitability, whether it's covering problems YOU personally don't care about or not.
      resolverobo24
      • 3 Years Ago
      I sell Fords and I couldn't agree more. Think about MyFord Touch (which I have in my 2012 Focus Titanium). For the most part, the only people that can afford high-end Ford Edges or Ford Explorers are older folks where it is difficult to teach them anything. They don't know what Bluetooth streaming audio is or what dual USB ports are. You have to explain what these are in the world outside the car (what is Bluetooth? Do I have to pay a monthly fee? Will this feature deactive after Sirius trial ends?) and then go on to explain how they are beneficial inside the car. They also don't get that you can do anything on MFT three different ways (voice, screen, buttons/panel). Fact is, these features are in place for customers that will use them and enjoy them. Ford is now offering lower trim levels of Edge SEL and Explorer XLT nearly completely loaded up, but without the touch screen MyFord Touch system for this reason. It's the customers buying the wrong car for them that is the problem. If you are over the age of 40, the chances that you will either fully utilize or understand the vast array of features in the Edge, Explorer or Focus diminishes with each passing year. I believe the median age of buyers on these cars at my store is about 55 (Edge and Explorer)...and the only reason they get the top of the line model is because it is the top of the line model, not because they want these features. It's their fault. Porsche brakes being dusty, likewise, is part of the ownership experience of owning a true sports car.
        Kimura
        • 3 Years Ago
        @resolverobo24
        Back in my day we didn't have blue teeth we had wooden teeth AND WE WERE GRATEFUL. You young whippersnappers and your newfangled multi clutch transmissions. We had ONE CLUTCH and a PEDAL. You started the automobile with a CRANK and it taught us MORALS. None of this newfangled key business. Wait...you mean you use a button now? THIS IS THE WORK OF SATAN I SAY.
          SatinSheetMetal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Kimura
          You forgot BUILT CHARACTER. Everything BUILT CHARACTER in their days as well.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @resolverobo24
        [blocked]
          chris
          • 3 Years Ago
          "Now i know you are a dealer so you IQ can't be above 20, so let me repeat this again..." Seriously? Grow up.
          Your an Idiot
          • 3 Years Ago
          @ Sea Urchin Slamming someone because they have a honest opinion, then to insult the guy makes me wonder about your IQ. I have seen your posts in the past and I disagree with most of what you say, but that is my opinion. You can (and probably will) slam me for this post and probably try to poke fun at something I typed, or how I said something but frankly will not care because it is coming from you. I enjoy reading the articles and peoples responses, but your posts always make my head shake. You sir are an idiot.
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Will
        • 3 Years Ago
        Every now and then there is yet another (Insert name of any automaker) quality issue. shut up already
        brunswick90210
        • 3 Years Ago
        Sea Urchin.....*GASP* PLANKTON! I KNEW IT WAS YOU! Trying to distract people with these pointless posts that are just hating on a brand while you try to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula!
        donnieorama
        • 3 Years Ago
        It's not a quality issue, genius. Just stupid people who can't use a nav system or drive a simple automatic.
          Luke
          • 3 Years Ago
          @donnieorama
          This was posted by another AB poster, 3 comments above Sonburn's. Diz I have MyFord Touch in my '11 Edge and I love it. Does it freeze once a month or so? Yeah, but it will re-boot if I can find a place to turn-off and re-start. And the car continues to function normally. You don't get stranded dead-on-the-road waiting for it to re-boot. Is it slow? No. You do have to adjust your click rates to accommodate. I don't click it like my 2.7Mhz pc, but it is by no means slow. Would I purchase another Ford based on MyFord Touch? You bet your ass.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @donnieorama
          [blocked]
        stclair5211
        • 3 Years Ago
        Wrong. You are just flat out WRONG. Period. End of discussion. You got to "hear" yourself speak though so that must massage the ol'ego right? Next...
          • 3 Years Ago
          @stclair5211
          [blocked]
      donnieorama
      • 3 Years Ago
      JD = worthless.
      Walt
      • 3 Years Ago
      "They know there issues, everyone does by now. You can just visit Edmunds.com forum or Explorer forum where people who OWN these cars talk about the problems they have." Ok, I took your advice and checked on Edmunds town hall Ford Explorer forum. What I found was a topic solely devoted to MyFordTouch issues, but it only had 11 posts! Further only 5 of those 11 posts actually described an issue with the system. Nothing to see here folks, let's move along.
        Famsert
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Walt
        You didn't try looking too hard did you. Try the Ford Edge forums. One of the most popular topics is the one on MyTouch and Sync problems. Ford should hire you for PR. http://www.fordedgeforum.com/index.php?/forum/6-audio-navigation-%26-sync/
    • Load More Comments