Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

Ford Revs Up The Quality

2007 Lincoln Navigator

It's the kind of news the folks in Dearborn, Michigan have been aching to receive. The latest survey on quality from J.D. Power and Associates showed a huge jump in quality for American automaker--Ford . In overall standings, Lincoln cracked the top 3, coming in third, while Mercury jumped to #8 and Ford surged to #10. Not only that, Ford Motor had 5 models that were rated as best in their class of vehicles- more than any other automaker. Can't you hear the hallelujah's in Detroit??

Credit Ford executives with stepping up to the plate at a difficult time to prove they aren't dead. When a company is going through wrenching and costly cutbacks as Ford is currently in the midst of, quality is often the first thing to suffer. But the latest survey by J.D. Power--of people who own Ford automobiles--shows that hasn't happened. As Mark Fields, Ford's President of the America's told me Wednesday on CNBC, "this is proof Ford's turnaround is working".

While this is certainly great news for Ford, the company is still a long ways from getting out of the woods. For starters, it's still losing billions of dollars and will likely continue to do so through next year. On top of that, it remains to be seen how Ford's sales will do once the company gets down stripping out fleet sales to rental carfirms, companies, etc. Some of Ford's new models like the Edge and Fusion and connecting with buyers. Will the renamed- Ford Taurus do the same? I'm not sure.

The fact is, Ford needs a steady line of success stories, not just one. Yes, the J.D. Power results are definitely good news for Ford. But Ford needs more. victories. If that happens, and Ford finally kick starts sales with a compelling ad campaign, then CEO Alan Mulally will be able to show people that the country's number 2 automaker IS on the way back.

Questions?  Comments?