The Ford Motor Company continues to see its commitment to quality leadership pay off, with the company scoring significant honors in the 2011 J.D. Power & Associates Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS).
The study is a key measure of long-term vehicle quality, as it evaluates customer-reported problems from the past 12 months—across more than 200 issues in eight diverse categories—in three-year-old vehicles. (Thus, the 2011 study analyzes data attributable to vehicles from the 2008 model year.)
For the Ford division, which had an overall VDS score that was above the industry’s average, seven separate vehicles finished in the top three of their segments. Notably, this included the Ford Fusion and Ford Mustang, the highest -rated entries in the Midsize Car and Midsize Sporty segments, respectively. Other Ford products earning particularly impressive dependability ratings included the Edge, Explorer Sport Trac, Taurus, F-150 and Ranger.
The Lincoln division raised the bar even further as the top-rated brand in the entire industry. Lincoln’s leaders included the MKZ, which outpointed all other Entry Premium Cars and posted the second-best overall dependability marks in the study, and the Navigator, which led the way in the Large Premium SUV/Crossover segment.
The results are particularly gratifying because there is a strong link between reliability and vehicle sales according to the VDS; the study indicated that “reliability/durability” is one of the most important factors in considering a new vehicle for 63 percent of today’s buyers. Fuel economy also was among the top 10 reasons for purchasing a vehicle, and this is especially significant for Ford. The company offers at least a dozen vehicles with best-in-segment fuel-efficiency ratings, including four with EPA highway marks of 40 mpg or higher—no other full-line automaker can match those numbers.
“This study from J.D Power is more good news for our customers. It affirms our quality operating system is one of the best in the world,” said Bennie Fowler, Ford group vice president, Global Quality and New Model Launches. “Our Lincoln products and our Ford products aren’t just the best at low time in service as we’ve seen year over year, but at higher times in service as well.”