DETROIT -- While Ford Motor Co.'s sales and market share gains have outpaced those of competitors this year, its quality ratings keep tanking, in large part because of its balky My Touch infotainment system.
Grappling with that paradox is a top priority for Joe Hinrichs, Ford's energetic president of the Americas.
In the Alan Mulally era, Ford has sought to stake out a position as a technology leader in a field that's changing at warp speed. The connectivity features that Ford sees as key to its 21st century DNA are attracting new customers -- while at the same time giving the company fits in quality surveys.
"There's a correlation between freshness of the product lineup and market share. We've chosen to keep our lineup very fresh, which means more frequent launches, more technology, more newness to the vehicle -- which inherently provides more challenges for the quality surveys," Hinrichs said in an interview last week.
"All that being said, I'm not pleased with where we are. We need to make progress, and we will."
Last week the latest Consumer Reports reliability survey ranked the Ford brand 26th and Lincoln 27th out of 28 brands. The magazine has pinned most of the blame on the My Touch system, branded as MyFord Touch in Ford vehicles and MyLincoln Touch in Lincoln vehicles.
Yet Ford Motor's sales this year have been torrid, up 12 percent through October. And the automaker's market share gains -- up 0.5 percent through October, compared with 0.1 percent for General Motors and Nissan, next among the top eight carmakers -- leave other volume competitors in the dust.