Ford says a company-commissioned survey found that initial quality of its vehicles is now on par with Honda and Toyota. Quality is one virtue Ford touts in the "Drive One" campaign, launched last week.
"In the last three or four years, we've really built a strong case to go out to customers and present them with how we're doing on quality," says Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas.
Ford says its domestic-brand vehicles showed an 8 percent improvement in the survey, conducted by RDA Group, of suburban Detroit. RDA surveyed vehicles registered from September through November 2007.
Ford posted a combined average of 1,284 problems per 1,000 vehicles during the first three months of ownership. That compares with about 1,250 problems for Honda and Toyota — a difference Ford calls a statistical dead heat.
Ford also has received kind words from independent analysts. David Champion, director of Consumer Reports' auto test center, told Automotive News: "They've been making incremental improvements in their reliability year after year." In the publication's latest survey, 93 percent of Ford models had average or better reliability, up from 63 percent in 2007.
Fields said the RDA results are consistent with findings of the initial quality study by J.D. Power and Associates. Results of the annual Power study will be released in June.