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Ford And Quality Synonymous?

By David Ruebush

Could the new name for quality be Ford? If the once dominating manufacturer from Detroit has anything to do with it, then the answer is surely yes. If you have driven a Ford lately, you surely notice a difference. There does seem to be a certain quality about their vehicles this year. Kristen Kinley, Ford’s Quality Communications Manager, says the first step to reducing defects is to design better cars in general. She also points out that streamlining the manufacturing process, an initiative the company has been focusing on for several years now, has contributed to quality as well.

The J.D. Power 2010 Initial Quality Study data is in. 82,000 owners of new vehicles were studied from February to May of this year, and scores were compiled based on the number of problems drivers reported per 100 vehicles. This year, the average auto maker’s score is 109 problems per 100 vehicles. This number is up just a tad from last year’s 108.

However, in astonishing contrast to the industry norm, Ford’s Nameplate Score is dropping. This year, Ford touts an impressive 93 problems per 100 vehicles. Amazing. This is lower than Honda, whose Nameplate Score is 95. It is even more impressive compared to Lexus, who has dominated the quality studies since their inception in 1990. This year Lexus barely beat out Ford with a Nameplate Score of 88. Not bad Ford. Keep up the good work. Maybe you will soon be synonymous with Quality.

This year, twelve Ford models placed within the top three positions in their respective categories. Three of their models topped their class. The Ford Focus tops the Compact Car segment. The Ford Mustang tops the Midsize Sporty Car class, and the Ford Taurus tops the Large Car class.

But that is not all. When you look deeper into the study we learn an even more impressive fact. Ford is ranked 5th place overall and 1st place among the major manufacturers. The top four are Porsche, Acura, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus. By most standards, this is pretty good company for Ford to be associated with.

It has been a pretty impressive run for Ford lately. They kept themselves out of bankruptcy. They avoided the pitfalls of government bailout money. They turned a modest profit in 2009. They have increased sales and continue to hold Honda at bay for the number three spot in total sales.

Does the future look as bright? The company seems to have a good plan. “We expect to continue to improve our balance sheet as we deliver on our plan. Our business results make it possible to take these actions while still accelerating the investments we are making in our business,” says CEO Alan Mulally. He made this statement just after Ford announced a payment of $4 billion toward its debt. Sales are growing, profits are increasing, the balance sheet is straightening out, and Ford seems in position to continue quality improvements for a while.

If this truth remains, good things will keep happening to Ford. GM is struggling, dropping from 9th place last year to 14th place this year, with a Nameplate Score of 111. Toyota’s woes continue, tumbling from 6th place last year to 21st with a Nameplate Score of 117. If Ford keeps investing in quality, focusing on profitability, and streamlining their efficiencies, they can really set themselves apart from the other mass-producers.

Look out GM and Toyota. Ford is on the rise. Maybe we can finally believe that at Ford, quality is really job 1. Have you driven a Ford lately?

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Ruebush, David "Ford And Quality Synonymous?." Ford And Quality Synonymous?. 8 Jul. 2010. 7 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Ruebush, D (2010, July 8). Ford And Quality Synonymous?. Retrieved August 7, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Ruebush, David "Ford And Quality Synonymous?"

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