Ford, Volkswagen Lead Strategic Vision Auto Quality Survey

Strategic Vision Inc. has released its latest Total Quality Index, revealing the cars and manufacturers rated highest by customers. At the top of the list is Volkswagen, followed by Ford in second place, and with Nissan and Honda tied for third place.

Strategic Vision uses what it calls the Total Quality Index (TQI) to measure a customer’s satisfaction with everything from the car buying experience, to reliability, to vehicle performance. This is said to give a better-rounded look at owner satisfaction. The company says this explains why Ford ranked so highly, even though it has been hounded by complaints about its complicated Sync and MyFord Touch systems.

This year’s survey tallied answers from 37,069 people who bought model-year 2011 vehicles between September and December 2010.

Volkswagen’s position as top full-line corporation was led by the success of the Golf, Jetta, and Tiguan -- each of which were Total Quality Leaders in the survey. Although Jetta owners reported a higher incidence of problems than the industry average (30 percent for the Jetta versus 22 percent industry-wide), very few of the problems were labeled serious. Moreover, Volkswagen Jetta owners “report more love than most all of their competitors,” according to Strategic Vision.

In second place was Ford, despite criticisms of new in-car connectivity systems. The company’s vehicles recorded a higher-than-average number of problems, but Strategic Vision found that strong designs, technological innovations, and brand equity helped buoy quality scores. Leading the quality charge were the Ford Mustang, the Flex, and the F-Series trucks, each leaders in their categories.

Honda and Nissan tied for third place in the quality rankings. Four Honda vehicles were ranked quality leaders in their respective categories: the Civic Hybrid, the Accord Crosstour, the Odyssey, and the Ridgeline. Nissan had a strong overall quality score, but just one vehicle -- the Maxima -- was ranked highest quality in its category.

Finally, Strategic Vision noted a few “comeback kids” -- cars that previously scored poorly on the Total Quality Index but have been significantly improved. The Chrysler Town & Country is now second-place in the minivan segment, behind the Honda Odyssey, while the new Jeep Grand Cherokee was the segment-leader in the mid-size SUV category. The Land Rover LR4 and the Jaguar XJ, both of which formerly recorded poor TQI scores, also were ranked highest quality vehicles in the near-luxury SUV and luxury car categories, respectively.

Source: Strategic Vision

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