Quality is Job 1 at Ford Again

Years ago Ford's advertising slogan was Quality is Job 1. Well, maybe quality is coming back to Ford.

But in an ironic twist, the best manufacturing plant in America, the one with the lowest defect rate, is the one Ford just shut down in Wixom, Michigan, where the Lincoln Town Car was made. JD Powers' Platinum Plant Quality Award will have to hang on the walls of an empty building.

Still, Ford got five top model segment awards, which is more than any other automaker. The top Ford models were the Mustang, Lincoln Mark LT, Lincoln MKZ, Mercury Milan and the Mazda MX-5 (Ford owns one third of Mazda).

The Lincoln brand improved from 12th place to 3rd, Mercury from 17th to 8th and Ford jumped from 16th to 10th place --- all sizeable gains in the industry. Meanwhile Toyota dropped to 7th place while nothing in the GM or Chrysler stable was above industry average in quality.

Looks like one woke up, one went to sleep, and the others are still in a coma. Go figure.

Maybe, just maybe, quality is coming back to Ford. It's about time. Unlike other manufacturers, Ford seems to be learning the lesson that people want cars and trucks that run right and look good. It helps if the manufacturer will back them up with a solid warranty a good dealer warranty service too. Ford still has some work to do on that end because we still see lots of dealer sales-fraud issues, but Ford isn't alone there.

Of course, Lexus (and now joined by Porsche) still tops the overall quality scoreboard. That's no surprise to anyone though.

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