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Ford quality equal to Toyota, Nissan

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http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?A.../704180425/1148

In terms of initial vehicle quality, Ford Motor Co. is in a statistical dead-heat for second place with Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., according to a new study the Dearborn automaker plans to release today. Honda Motor Co. is the quality leader.

The report is based on an annual survey of 31,000 new vehicle owners that was conducted for Ford by the RDA Group, a market research firm based in Bloomfield Hills. The study evaluated 2007 model cars and trucks from all full-line manufacturers and asked drivers to list any problems they had encountered during their first 90 days of ownership.

The Detroit News reviewed the findings with sources familiar with the report. These sources said four Ford vehicles -- the Mercury Milan, Ford Shelby GT-500, Ford Expedition EL and Lincoln Navigator -- led their segments in initial quality.

Improving quality is a major goal for Ford, which is struggling to hold on to what remains of its U.S. market share after years of losses to foreign competitors.

The RDA study found Ford cars and trucks had 1,458 problems per 1,000 vehicles -- 32 fewer problems than the industry average of 1,490 and 128 fewer than Ford customers reported last year.

The results were even better for Ford's North American brands -- Ford, Lincoln and Mercury -- which combined had 1,456 problems per 1,000 vehicles. Sources said the overall number was slightly hurt by the automaker's European brands.

The Milan was one of the most problem-free vehicles from any manufacturer, with just 910 issues reported per 1,000 vehicles.

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Good for Ford, but it ain't going to amount to a hill of beans. Anyone in the "biz" knows that GM and Ford closed the quality gap with Honda and Toyota a few years ago, what is most lacking is any notice by the Paid For By Japan Inc Media. That perception gap is still a long way off from closing. The "enthusiasts" all slam Detroit for (pick favorite subject here): 1) lack of RWD vehicles, 2) lack of V-8s in every category, 3) lack of "class leading" soft, touchy plastics on the dash, 4) lack of DVD nav systems for every seating position, 5) inability to do 3 gees in a slalom, 6) lack of manual transmissions or 18 spd automatics, 7) their mother's '83 Citation. The Rest of the Folks only believe CR and MT and we all know they are in love with Toyota/Honda/BMW.

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This is good news. One study showing this isn't enough though, this has to become a consistent trend and Ford needs to top at least one of the three mentioned to start making ground. The consumer perception game is all about consistency. If Ford can remain at the top of the quality rankings for 10 years, you'll see changes in consumer behavior...provided Ford is in business in 10 years. To make that happen, they need consistency on the product side.

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This Ford sponsored study does little to convince me of their reliability.

Initial quality? Sure, but after the 90 days? What then?

Take our own Regfootball. He loved his Ford Five Hundred initially.

http://www.cheersandgears.com/forums/index...?showtopic=4282

The 500 is one of the best packaged sedans out there. It has enormous cabin and trunk space and has folding front and rear seats. There is lots of stretch out room. This is the main reason I got into the car.

The car is built very well inside and out. having seen and sat in the lucerne's interior and test driven an impala ss, i will say the level of assembly quality is very good on all of them. The 500 has better plastic than the impala.

the engine is buzzy and coarse at times during low speed accelerating. Once it settles into cruising, its as quiet as anything else.

One of my most fun moments so far was a sharp decel/brake, coast, followed by throttle slam to pass a cruiser in a needed 50-80mph burst. The tranny selected what i think was third? and pegged 6800 rpm and held the gear tenaciously until i reached my desired speed, no early upshifting. The car flew like mad and impressed me.

Then, later...

http://www.cheersandgears.com/forums/index...?showtopic=9525

I've pretty much had it with the car. Anyone want it?

OVERALL GRADE D-

-won't downshift

-won't find a gear

-won't stay in gear

-picks wrong gear

-have to floor the throttle and hold it for like 5 seconds before the rpms go up and it kicks down

-no soundproofing from road noise

-engine drone buzz and vibration at low rpm drives me insane. my lawn mower sounds better

-slow steering

-dead steering

-no roll stiffness

-piss poor brake feel. brake fade

-needs more power in low and mid range

-looks fat and flabby

-cheap ass stereo, a ten dollar emergency radio sounds better

-interior is cheap

-typical cheap ass sounding door locks

-interior plastic gets extremely dirty and can't be cleaned

-cheap ass key and fob

-power passenger seat, can't adjust height!

-stupid dash top storage compartment is too far away and this is where the NAV should be anyways.

I'm so pissed I didn't get the Maxima instead...even with the atrocious interior......would have been the same money.

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Good for Ford, but it ain't going to amount to a hill of beans. Anyone in the "biz" knows that GM and Ford closed the quality gap with Honda and Toyota a few years ago, what is most lacking is any notice by the Paid For By Japan Inc Media. That perception gap is still a long way off from closing. The "enthusiasts" all slam Detroit for (pick favorite subject here): 1) lack of RWD vehicles, 2) lack of V-8s in every category, 3) lack of "class leading" soft, touchy plastics on the dash, 4) lack of DVD nav systems for every seating position, 5) inability to do 3 gees in a slalom, 6) lack of manual transmissions or 18 spd automatics, 7) their mother's '83 Citation. The Rest of the Folks only believe CR and MT and we all know they are in love with Toyota/Honda/BMW.

I'd agree that there's clearly a 'perception' gap, although I'd tell you that, based on the used vehicles we see (about 15k/year), the used Detroit 3 product consistently come in with more issues & generally, looking just slightly more 'beat up' than the 1st tier Japanese, although the German products are problematic, almost regardless of nameplate.

Here's the problem....The domestics all have lineups that are mixed, good product intermingled with mediocre stuff.

Ex. Chevy has the fantastic GMT900's sitting on a lot with tired Trailblazers, homely Malibus and 2nd rqte Cobalts. Ford is trying to pawn off Foci, 500s and explorers in the same showroom as the Fusion or Edge. Chrysler has the LX's surrounded by mediocrity.

each of the 1st tier Japanese co.'s have fresher lineups, more/better CUV choices (the fastest growing segment) and, most importantly, a much better dealer body, as the Detroit 3 have been losing dealers and have another 20% on the ropes (IIRC, over 30% of the Domestic dealer body lost money in 06, when historically speaking, total sales are high in the marketplace)....

Media Bias implies that the Domestic's fate is someone else's fault. When you're pointing the finger at someone else, it prevents you from correcting the problems that are clearly internal. Legacy costs & all of the other excuses are evidence of poor planning & bad management....The product must be good if the cars/trucks are to be sold at solid prices & large volumes....clearly, that hasn't happened consistently for the Big 3 lately.

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Reg is a man of many internal conflicts :P

Anyway, I'm sure Ford's quality is very good...right before one of them catch fire!

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Well I looked at a Milan. Very Nice car and the fit and finish were very good. Looked at a Sebring UGH!!! I think this is good for Ford...Not sure how it will play out,but they got there name out there in the press for something good for a change

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This Ford sponsored study does little to convince me of their reliability.

Initial quality? Sure, but after the 90 days? What then?

Take our own Regfootball. He loved his Ford Five Hundred initially.

http://www.cheersandgears.com/forums/index...?showtopic=4282

Then, later...

http://www.cheersandgears.com/forums/index...?showtopic=9525

the tranny reprogram fixed the shifting and acceleration issues, even if the engine is down on power. i have no drivability complaints now. taurus for 08 fixes that with new engine and tranny.

all the noise and refinement issues inside the cabin seem to be part of the 08 taurus makeover as well. the entire front end is new and lots of sound deadening is being worked into the mix. new engine, tranny, front isolated subframe (instead of direct mount), etc. almost half a new car.

the interior is still cheap but they are doing a few things to address that before what i expect to be an all new interior in perhaps 09 or 10. in the meantime, Fordsync arrives, GM and toyo does not have that.

the interesting follow up on this is would i still have picked the Maxima? I guess now If i still wished that, the major reasons would be for the more power and quieter interior. Supposed, again, all that's fixed for 08 on the taurus. Obviously the 500 is tuned to handle slower I don't know if they will fix that. For me, it still is nice to have command seating and the large cabin and trunk the 500 provides. If a cheap interior is the trade off for that in the interim, I can deal with it. I don't really think the Impala is in any position to claim anything here...its small inside, lousy cheap gauges, has some cheap plastic also, small trunk. The impala SS I drove was a major dud and I got the 500 in spite of testing the impala SS so obviously that goes to show you how little I thought of that car. A base Impala I would in no way consider to have overall advantage over what i drive now and especially a base impala will get slaughtered vs. an 08 taurus in most categories.

So yeah, I was unhappy with lots of stuff, but over time I realize that cars like the maxima my impression changes over time. At the time I liked the styling but now i look at the maxima interiors with the suede bathtub look and the low seating and too trendy fat exterior and think i may have had a similar level of dissatisfaction with that as well. the 08 taurus will match maxima in power so there's one comparison element nipped in the bud there.

As far the reliability, no complaints. its been rock solid, and other than a new dashboard storage lid, nothing to fix. I have no reason to complain, no red marks, which is what I think the gist of this article is about. All my Fords new have always been that way. Over time Ford will have to design more refinement and less cheesiness into their cars. At least Ford will move in a better direction, not like Toyota and Nissan, and yes even Honda, which seem to be cutting costs, cheapening interiors and refinement on some/many models.

FWIW the fusion is a pretty refined feeling car. it was just small and low for me. Once fusion gets more ponies I see it being praised in tandem with Aura. I have actually seen lots of just bought Fusions on the road lately. Ford must be finally moving them and people looking for them.

Edited by regfootball
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Nice study....... NOT! [borat voice]

The report is based on an annual survey of 31,000 new vehicle owners.

The study evaluated 2007 model cars and trucks from all full-line manufacturers and asked drivers to list any problems they had encountered during their first 90 days of ownership.

Most vehicles, even Kia's, manage to make it out of the dealer lots and to/from work a few times before fenders start falling off. Come on? 90 days? Chewing gum can hold a bumper on for at least 120 days. 90 days doesn't tell me anything about how good a vehicle is.

These sources said four Ford vehicles -- the Mercury Milan, Ford Shelby GT-500, Ford Expedition EL and Lincoln Navigator -- led their segments in initial quality.

Ok, so how many of those 31,000 owners were GT-500 owners? Maybe one, two of them?

So one person with a GT-500 didn't have any problems the first 90 days, and one owner with a Z06 had a bad light bulb or something. So now the GT-500 is definitively the class leader in initial quality for its class!

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Ted... you left out the good things that Reg had to say about the 500...

That the cupholders were awesome.

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Gotta disagree with ya there....anybody in retail of any sort will tell you that the first 90 days are critical when dealing with a complex widget with moving parts. I used to sell VCRs back in the day (Toshiba, Electrohome) and if we sold 100 VCRs, we would get at least 8 or 9 back in the first week or so - hell, I had 4 Toshibas in a row screw up fresh from the box!

Consumers expect WAY too much. Warranties are in place for a reason. I am sure the same goes for washing machines, toaster, you name it. Heck, I bought a pop up brushed alloy garbage can that broke after a couple months (made in China :scratchchin: )

Remember: if there are 19,000 parts in a car and the car is built to 99.9% accuracy, there is still potential for 190 problems.

Still, people will be suspicious if Ford commissioned the study. And I do agree with the consistency bit. Ford needs to keep this up for a few years before the tide will turn.

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Oh I get it now...somewhere Toyotas and Nissans are catching fire...this leveling the playing field for Ford.

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I'll still take a GM or Mopar 9/10 times.

Except for the Crown Victoria.

Oh I get it now...somewhere Toyotas and Nissans are catching fire...this leveling the playing field for Ford.

There's some truth to that. :lol:

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More amazing to me is what this article says of Nissan.

Nissan has been below average for years.

I don't know. CR (I know, I know...) recently stated that Nissan vehicles would on the whole outrank Toyota for reliability if not for the trucks sourced from the Canton plant.

And Canton vehicles have been getting better in quality.

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Oh I get it now...somewhere Toyotas and Nissans are catching fire...this leveling the playing field for Ford.

Dodgefan......several companies have had problems with fires. I guess you forgot the 99-2000 years for Dodge. Vans, Stratus etc

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