According to the new 2013 J.D. Power quality survey released on Wednesday, the worst car in the world for quality is the Ford C-Max. The C-Max finished dead last in the latest 2013 survey with more consumer complaints than any other vehicle. The C-Max scored 222 complaints per 100 vehicles sold compared to the industry average of 113. Many complaints were related to the MyFord Touch infotainment system. Supposedly Ford fired a pre-emptive strick against this upcoming J.D. Power survey on Monday by announcing they are throwing in the towel and will now add low-tech knobs to their confusing electronic touch systems. Given the fact that our Fusuion shares the same powerplant and MyFord touch system as the C-Max this is somewhat disturbing news.
The surprising news is the dramatic rise in quality for GM. In 23 separate vehicle categories, J.D. Powers rates the top three vehicles in order. GM placed 14 vehicles on this "best of" list. Ford placed one (the Mustang which actually was tied with Camaro). According to J.D. Power's vice president Dave Sargent, GM now has the best quality of any car corporation in the industry! Of the 33 vehicle manufacturers, Ford placed near the very bottom (27th).
Although Ford has been seeing strong sales on Fusion, F-150 etc. there have been problems elsewhere in the line. Ford like GM has finally been thinning the herd of dead weight. Ford shelved the entire Mercury brand and Lincoln sales have not been good. Industry insiders are wondering if the Lincoln brand can survive. Even in the Ford line some models are being eyeballed such as the Flex. Flex sales are down 23.9% over last year which was a paltry year to begin with. Consumers have likened it to a rolling refrigerator.
Now to be fair it can be said that many of Ford's quality issues are the result of pushing cutting edge technology such as their MyFord Touch infotainment system and their Ecoboost engine designs. There certainly is some truth in that as many other car makers, including German ones have experienced some of the same growing pains. It should also be noted that some brands such as Lexus have avoided any of the electronic issues. Yet Toyota, Honda and Nissan have just recalled over 3 million vehicles for dangerous airbag issues.
My own personal view is to avoid making generalizations and look at each issue separately. The Apple iPhone was the gold standard in cutting edge technology and build quality yet we witnessed the siri voice issues and the Apple maps debacle. So I give the MyFord Touch a pass although removing all the knobs was poor design planning.
Leaking Ford fuel lines resulting in fires? Sorry Ford, this is strickly rank amatuer. Fifty years ago double steel walled fuel lines with double flared ends threaded in place did not leak. And the overheating due to insufficient electric engine cooling fan operation? This is not rocket science and does make you wonder. After a flawed design is proposed, what kind of quality control team carefully checks/tests this and gives a big stamp of approval?
Finally, Ford gets high marks for handling these issues. They really were for the most part open about them and moved quickly to resolve them. That counts for something.