What matters most: the little niggling problems, like an occasional rattle, or the things that surprise and delight a motorist, such as a heated steering wheel or a state-of-the-art navigation system? How one answers that question could determine which of the many – and often conflicting — automotive quality studies matters most.
The latest, the so-called Total Quality Index, from California-based consultancy Strategic Vision, Inc., places Volkswagen at the top of the industry heap, followed by Ford Motor Co. That’s in sharp contrast to the results of another recent survey, J.D. Power and Associates’ widely-quoted Initial Quality Study knocking Ford off its pedestal for racking up too many complaints for the complexity of its in-car infotainment technology.
The gap between the new TQI and Powers’ IQS underscores the different methodologies at work. “We decided to measure ‘quality’ from the ‘total’ perspective of the driver/owner, because this is how people actually judge ‘quality’ in terms of the decision to purchase or not,” explained Strategic Visions’ founder and Chairman Dr. Darrel Edwards.
By SVI logic, a problem with programming the new FordMyTouch system is more than offset by the fact that so many motorists are actually buying Ford products because they want the new technology.