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.
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.