US: Ford quality eclipses Toyota - JD Power IQS
7 June 2007 | Source: just-auto.com editorial team
Ford has supplanted Toyota as the leading manufacturer in initial quality
rankings, taking the top spot in five of 19 segments in the 2007 survey by
JD_Power and Associates. That was more than any other automobile corporation
In the research firm's US 2007 Initial Quality Study (IQS), Ford Mustang,
Mercury Milan, Lincoln MKZ, Lincoln Mark LT and Mazda MX-5 Miata swept their
vehicle segments for top honours.
"The 2007 IQS results contain some encouraging and positive news for Ford
Motor Company," said Neal Oddes, director of product research and analysis
at J.D. Power and Associates.
"Fourteen Ford Motor Company models place in the top three of their
respective segments-an achievement unmatched by any other corporation this
year-which is a testament to the improvement in quality for Ford Motor
Company vehicle models and plants. In addition, their Lincoln nameplate,
which receives two segment awards, improves considerably to rank third in
2007, from 12th in 2006."
"We are designing and building world-class vehicles, and it's great to have
this affirmation from the customers who drive our cars and trucks every
day," said Mark Fields, president of the Americas, Ford Motor Company.
"While we're pleased that our internal focus on quality is receiving this
kind of recognition from JD Power and Associates, we will not let up. We
will continue to deliver even more high-quality products that customers
Overall, Ford, Lincoln and Mercury nameplates placed among the top 10
nameplates, with Lincoln in 3rd place, Mercury in 8th place and Ford brand
in 10th. Jaguar ranked 6th.
Ford Motor Company received 14 total vehicle honours, more than any other
automaker. In addition to the five first-place winners, the following
vehicles also were recognized:
The company's overall ranking in the survey climbed to 4th place from last
year's 7th, helped in part by the performance of Ford's recently launched
Crossovers Lincoln MKX and Ford Edge received high marks, as did the new
Lincoln Navigator. Fusion, Milan and MKZ continue building quality momentum.
Edge ranked 4th in its segment, midsize MAV, just behind Mountaineer.
Wixom Assembly Plant received a Platinum Award, recognizing it as the
industry's best-quality performing plant worldwide. This marks the first
time since 1999 that a North American assembly plant has received JD Power's
top award for producing vehicles yielding the fewest defects.
Bennie Fowler, vice president of Global Quality, Ford Motor Company, said
Wixom's performance underlines the fact that Ford's UAW-represented
employees are dedicated to producing quality vehicles, even as they face
"This is a testament to a committed and focused workforce," Fowler said.
"They raised their game even as they prepared to idle their plant."
Ford's Premier Automotive Group brands ranked as follows: Jaguar placed 6th,
Volvo placed 15th, Mazda placed 34th and Land_Rover placed 35th.
JD Power & Associates 2007 IQS report measures problems per 100 vehicles as
reported by customers after having driven their new vehicles for three
months. The report is the most recent third party to validate Ford's
significant quality improvements.
"Our vehicle quality is showing such dramatic improvement because Ford Motor
Company employees are committed to delivering world-class vehicles to our
customers," Fowler said. "Quality at Ford is the ultimate team sport. We're
playing hard, and we'll continue playing to win."
Porsche again dominated the overall ranking of brands, averaging 91 problems
per 100 vehicles as it had last year. That compared with a 2007 industry
average of 125 problems per 100 vehicles. Last year it was 124.
Mercedes-Benz and Toyota models captured three segment awards each. Toyota
models that received awards were the 4Runner, Sequoia and Tacoma.
Mercedes-Benz models that earned awards were the E-Class, SL-Class, and the
S-Class. The S-Class ties with the Audi A8 (total) for having the fewest
quality problems in the industry, with just 72 problems per 100 vehicles.
"Mercedes-Benz shows dramatic improvement, particularly with its
newly-redesigned S-Class, which improves 63 PP100," said Oddes. "Overall,
Mercedes-Benz improves its nameplate rank by 20 positions-the greatest rank
increase of any nameplate in the study. All Mercedes-Benz models in the
study improved substantially, and the breadth and speed of these
improvements demonstrates the Mercedes-Benz commitment to quality."
Toyota had seen its list of quality leaders decrease in a quality study
released Monday by Strategic Vision Inc., a San Diego-based market research
company and consultant to automakers. Despite improving its overall quality,
Toyota led in one category in that study -- down from four in 2006.
Joe Ivers, JD Power's executive director of quality and customer
satisfaction, said there's no clear answer for Toyota's drop. But several
vehicles brought its quality performance down this year, including the
Corolla, Prius and Lexus models.
It is worth noting, he said, that Toyota executives have been speaking
publicly about their concerns about managing to maintain its historically
high quality during a time of rapid growth.
"We're not used to seeing their vehicles go backward from a quality
standpoint, and several of them did," he said. "It's no big change, but when
things go backward for Toyota, it's unusual."