Ford continues to make great strides toward achieving its goal of best-in-class qua lity. The following ten examples show some of the successes already achieved along the way.
Now shoulder-to-shoulder with industry leaders in initial quality – The quality of Ford brand vehicles soared to the top of the charts equaling that of Toyota and Honda, according to the second quarter 2008 U.S. Global Quality Research System (GQRS) study conducted by RDA Group of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. The study showed Ford brand improved 6.5 percent versus last year with a combined average of 1343 things-gone-wrong (TGW) per 1,000 vehicles during the first three months of ownership. This performance is statistically equivalent at the 95% confidence level to the TGW levels of Honda and Toyota.
Virtual technology expertise worth sharing – For nearly a decade, Ford has been using its industry-leading digital ergonomics research to help line operators do their jobs efficiently and issue-free. Led by a world-renowned ergonomics expert, the team optimizes every movement so employees can build car after car and avoid fatigue and injury. This upfront virtual technology greatly reduces issues at launch and relates directly to quality. The company shares its findings on how to reduce repetitive stress and other injuries with the other American automakers and University of Michigan researchers.
Best-in-class paint performance – According to GQRS studies, Ford is tied in first place for fewer chips and scratches and more long-term durability. Its three-part wet application process not only provides better long-term resistance to chips and scratches than water-borne paint, it reduces the plant shop’s CO2 emissions by 15 percent. An eco-friendly anti-corrosion system helps prevent rust while cutting paint shop water use nearly in half and reducing the production of sludge by 90 percent. Also, Ford is the first automaker to implement a technology called High-Gloss Mold-in-Color. The 2008 Ford Super Duty’s wheel lip molding is injection-molded with the high-gloss metallic color built right in – no primer or paint required. This increases long-term appearance and durability, as well as being more environmentally friendly than priming and painting those parts.
Chart-topping electrical functions – Thanks in part to stringent electronics testing during the predelivery process, Ford topped the charts in20GQRS studies for electrical functions such as the radios. Hundreds of end-of-line evaluations take place and are tracked through Ford’s Quality Leadership System (QLS), which gives anyone in the plant the ability to flag a vehicle as having an open concern and keeps that vehicle from leaving the plant until it’s been fixed.
Quality testing goes green – As the 52-year-old high-speed test track at Ford’s Michigan Proving Grounds undergoes its $13 million reconstruction, it’s reusing almost every bit of existing material, preventing 130,000 tons of debris from going to local landfills. The track is critical to Ford’s quality assurance process, as it’s used for a wide range of vehicle testing.
Earning third-party accolades – In May, two separate research firms confirmed that Ford continues to make great strides in quality. San Diego-based researcher Strategic Vision put Ford neck-and-neck with Toyota for total quality, and ahead of everyone else. The firm said the two automakers were tied for topping the most segments on its Total Quality Index with three vehicles each. Winning Ford vehicles are Ford Edge, Ford Mustang Convertible and Ford F-250/350, which was also a segment winner in 2007. Meanwhile, noted automotive consulting firm AutoPacific released the results of its 2008 model year vehicle satisfaction research, putting Ford on top or tied for first in six Vehicle Satisfaction Award categories. Vehicles earning accolades were Ford Taurus, Mercury Milan, Lincoln Mark LT, Ford Explorer Sport Trac, Ford Explorer and Ford Edge.
Ford Flex boasts ultra-quiet ride – Ford Motor Company’s wind noise went from second-w orst in the industry in 2003 to best in the bunch for 2007 based on TGW according to GQRS results. The all-new 2009 Ford Flex is no exception. In Ford’s wind tunnel tests, it delivered a quieter ride than competitors including the Acura MDX, Toyota Highlander and GMC Acadia, good news for customers who equate quietness with quality.
J.D. Power says Ford Focus is most improved – The 2008 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study by J.D. Power and Associates showed that Focus gained 88 index points over last year. The Ford Escape also earned a spot among the top 10 most improved vehicles in the industry. In addition, five Ford Motor Company vehicles received second- or third-place honors in their segments: Ford Explorer Sport Trac, Mazda CX7, Mazda CX9, Ford Focus and Lincoln Navigator.
Long-term durability improves – Ford brand improved at a rate of 3 percent versus the industry average of 1 percent according to the 2008 GQRS three-years-in-service report. The survey looked at 2005 model year vehicles (compared to 2004 model year in 2007). The top non-luxury brands were Toyota, Mercury, Honda and Ford, with a gap of only 0.6 problems per vehicle difference from Toyota to Ford. For the fifth year in a row, Mercury did better than Honda in this durability study.
Ford brand makes significant quality gains – According to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Initial Quality Study, Ford vehicles increased in quality at a faster rate than the industry average. Continuing its five-year upward trend, Ford brand improved by eight points over last year’s study, bettering the industry’s seven-point improv ement. Ford Motor Company vehicles received 10 honors, including three with the highest rankings in their respective segments: Lincoln Navigator, Mazda MX5 Miata and Ford E-Series.