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Posts Tagged ‘ford quality’

Ford Ready to Un-Friend Microsoft

Maker reportedly ready to switch to BlackBerry for its Sync system.

by on Feb.24, 2014

Ford's latest Sync update expanded the capabilities of the system but failed to completely resolve ongoing consumer complaints.

Ford has good reason to take claim for kick-starting today’s automotive infotainment revolution.  Its Sync system was the first to really put the technology in the eye of the American consumer, ushering in an era where motorists can access everything from music apps like Pandora to social media such as Facebook while driving.

But while Sync initially led millions of potential buyers to consider Ford products, an assortment of problems with Sync and the related MyFordTouch and MyLincolnTouch interfaces has resulted in countless others steering clear of the maker – Ford watching its quality scores slumping as a result of those issues.

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So there’s probably little surprise that the automaker is about ready to un-friend Microsoft, the Seattle-based software giant that supplies the underlying technology behind Sync – and which has gotten much of the blame for glitzing screens, slow responses and balky touch interfaces. Instead, the Detroit maker is expected to shift to the QNX operating system developed by BlackBerry Ltd.

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Ford Recalls Escape CUV – Again

Leaks can lead to fires.

by on Nov.26, 2013

The 2013 Ford Escape has now been subject to seven different recalls.

Ford Motor Co. is yet again recalling its Escape crossover-utility vehicle, the seventh time that has happened since the hot-selling vehicle was redesigned for the 2013 model-year.

The latest problem centers around potential oil and fuel leaks that could result in vehicle fires. The maker says the problems are the result of two separate problems, including faulty work done on the assembly line.

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A total of 13 fires connected to the oil leak issue have so far been reported, though there have been no reports of injuries.

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GM Tops Power’s Initial Quality Survey for 1st Time

High-tech problems are now car buyers’ biggest headache.

by on Jun.19, 2013

Hot Wheels...the Camaro was one of eight segment winners for GM in the 2013 IQS.

After years lagging the imports, General Motors has surged to the top of the charts in the 2013 J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey, the most influential measure of vehicle quality during the first months off the showroom lot.

The new study also reveals that, on the whole, the quality of this year’s cars, trucks and crossovers actually declined a bit from 2012 – a decline largely the result of design-related problems that, for the most part, can’t be resolved at the dealership. Issued related to the latest infotainment systems and other high-tech devices are the single largest source of these buyer headaches, according to J.D. Power.

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On the positive side, “Manufacturers are doing a lot better when it comes to engines and chasses and other mechanical systems,” explained Dave Sargent, the head of automotive research for California-based J.D. Power and Associates. “Most of the problems people are now reporting involve the latest technology.”

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Ford Promises to Fix “Isolated” Quality Problems

Maker remains committed to MyFordTouch despite problems.

by on Dec.19, 2012

Ford Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields insists recent quality problems are "isolated incidents."

Ford has long claimed that “Quality is Job 1,” though it has taken a drubbing in recent months for some nagging problems that have seen it tumble on quality and reliability surveys.

The maker intends to aggressively address such “isolated incidents,” Ford’s new Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields insists.  That notably includes the maker’s Sync and MyFordTouch infotainment technologies which have come in for some of the sharpest criticism. But Ford will also have to deal with a variety of other problems that have seen some of its newest models repeatedly recalled in recent months, including a variety of recalls.

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“We’ve had a few issues,” acknowledges Fields, who until a few weeks ago served as Ford’s President of the Americas. “When we see a problem we go at it proactively to address the issue as quickly as possible.”

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Ford Recalling New Fusion for Faulty Headlamps

Second recall in a week for new sedan.

by on Dec.07, 2012

The 2013 Ford Fusion faces a second recall.

Ford Motor Co. plans to recall more than 19,000 of its new Fusion midsize sedans to replace faulty headlamps, the second service action hitting the new and well-publicized vehicle in just a week.

Last Friday, the automaker announced that it would recall about 80,000 vehicles, including nearly 16,000 Fusions, because of a potential fire risk.

The latest recall was triggered by the discovery of a manufacturing defect at a Ford supplier that could result in the vehicle’s headlamps dimming and becoming hazy over time, according to documents the automaker filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety  Administration.

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A company spokesman said the headlamp problem was discovered during internal testing of the Fusion sedan, which was completely redesigned for the 2013 model-year and which went on sale in September. The maker says it has received no reports of accidents or injuries related to the problem – though NHTSA warned that the defect could nonetheless increase the possibility of a crash.

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Tops in Quality Toyota Still Lags in New Survey

VW, Ford, Chrysler lead in "Things Gone Right."

by on Aug.27, 2012

The Chevy Volt proves a surprise winner in the midsize segment, according to the 2012 TQI.

As it has so often over the years, Toyota is coming out tops in the new Total Quality Index – at least when measured according to the least problems per vehicle – what is often referred to as “Things Gone Wrong,” or TGWs, inside the auto industry.

But that’s only one way to measure things, cautions Alexander Edwards, president of the California-based consulting firm, Strategic Vision.  Consumers don’t just look at what’s wrong, he stresses.  They’re also looking for the features that surprise and delight – like an unusually powerful engine, better-than-expected fuel economy, or a well-appointed interior.

When you add in those factors which are commonly referred to as “Things Gone Right,” or TGRs, the picture is quite different, and Volkswagen surges to the top of the 2012 Total Quality Index.  Perhaps equally surprising, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler tie for second by that measure.

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“This is ultimately, how people think about vehicles and spend money,” stressed Edwards, echoing a growing sense in the industry that with most makers now delivering near-perfect out-of-the-box quality those manufacturers who can delight the customer who will eventually win out.

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Quality Makes Big Gains, Says JD Power, But Tech Headaches Worsen

High-tech issues now the most serious issue for most manufacturers.

by on Jun.20, 2012

The newly redesigned Porsche 911 posted the best score in the history of the IQS.

Forget the flats, the rattles and wind noise, even the balky transmissions.  These days, the biggest headache for a new car buyer is likely to be the voice controlled infotainment system.

The good news is that the latest crop of new cars, trucks and crossovers are “better than ever,” according to the 2012 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study.  But while manufacturers have largely overcome the defects and malfunctions that traditionally plagued buyers, motorists are experiencing more issues with the latest in-car technologies, such as voice-controlled navigation and Bluetooth hands-free phones.

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The annual IQS asks owners to report on both defects and design-related issues during the first months after they’ve driven their new products home.  On average, the 2012 study found an average 102 “problems” for every 100 new vehicles.  That’s down from 107 “PP100” in 2011, to use Power-speak.

“This is, without doubt, the best level of quality we’ve ever seen,” noted Dave Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates, or JDPA.

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Ford Accused of Covering up F-Series Fuel Tank Defects

Lawsuit claims maker advised dealers, ignored customers.

by on Mar.16, 2012

The suit alleges the lining of the F-Series fuel tank can flake off and cause engine stalling.

A lawsuit filed this week in federal court in New Jersey claims Ford Motor Co. hid problems with the fuel tanks in its big F-Series pickups that reportedly can lead to a loss of power or stalling.

The complaint, Coba et al v Ford Motor Co., seeks to be certified as a class action.  The automaker had no immediate comment and it is not clear if federal regulators are now looking into the issue as it could be considered a potential safety hazard.

The problem could be a significant one for Ford if the courts agree with the complaint.  The F-Series is not only the automaker’s best-selling product but has been the most popular product in the U.S. market for the last 30 consecutive years. (F-Series Tops the Sales Charts. Click Here for more.)

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According to the papers filed with the U.S. District Court, Ford was aware that the linings of the F-Series pickups and E-Series vans built between 1999 and 2008 could “separate and flake-off,” which could clog the fuel lines, leading to a loss of power or even stalling.

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Subaru Tops Honda in New Consumer Reports Study

Japan still tops "Automotive Report Card," but lead shrinking.

by on Feb.28, 2012

The 2012 Impreza helped position as the new leader in the Consumer Reports Automotive Report Card.

In another setback for longtime Japanese quality leader Honda, it has been knocked out of the top spot according to the annual Consumer Reports Automotive Report Card by up-start Subaru.  Honda had topped the study for the last four years but has taken sharp criticism, of late, for a variety of problems, notably with the latest version of its long-popular Civic model.

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Subaru, the maker of all-wheel-drive products like the Outback and Forester also topped industry giant Toyota in the yearly measure of performance, comfort, utility and reliability.

Japanese makers retained their lead, overall, in the annual automotive study.  But, “While Japanese automakers still hold the top five spots, their lead is shrinking. In some of Honda’s and Toyota’s recently redesigned models, cost-cutting has become more noticeable,” said David Champion, senior director of the Consumer Reports Automotive Test Center.

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Ford Sets up Shop in Silicon Valley

New R&D center part of shift in thinking about car as mobile “platform.”

by on Jan.06, 2012

Ford's new Silicon Valley center will be located near key tech giants like HP, Microsoft and Google - as well as Stanford University.

Ford Motor Co. is setting up a new research lab in California’s fabled Silicon Valley, underscoring the Detroit maker’s efforts to turn the car into a mobile “platform,” rather than just a mechanical conveyance.

The new facility will help Ford develop a variety of new features and apps for its future products, from high-tech safety systems to advanced infotainment systems, company officials note.  It will be used to develop partnerships with both established technology firms – such as Microsoft, which developed the underlying software behind Ford’s popular Sync system – and start-ups.

The lab, which will be located near Stanford University, in Palo Alto, will help by “ushering in a new era of collaboration and finding new partners to help us transform what it means to be an automaker,” explained Ford’s Chief Technical Officer Paul Mascarenas, who suggested the move is “a very natural extension” for the second-largest of the U.S. makers.

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Ford has put a heavy emphasis on technology in recent years – as have many of its competitors.  Mark Fields, Ford’s President of the Americas, frequently talks about “democratizing technology,” by taking high-tech systems previously found in limited use on luxury products and putting it into high-volume production on mainstream models like the new Ford Fusion.

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