Ford Catching Up To Toyota In Quality - And Perception of Quality

Jan 5, 2011

Another survey, another big improvement for Ford Motor Company.

Consumer Reports says its subscribers ranked Ford second only to Toyota as the best brand this year.  It’s a notable reversal of fortunes for both companies.

According to Consumers Reports, subscribing car owners perceive the Ford brand as nearly equal to the Toyota brand, and on the key factors of safety, quality and value, they rank Ford better than Toyota.  

Ford also was rated best non-luxury brand in a recent J.D. Power survey on initial quality. 

"This was long-term planning that is now paying off," says Jesse Toprak, an analyst with TrueCar.com.

Toprak says Ford set its sights on catching up to Toyota more than four years ago.  The company took out a huge loan that it used to get through the recession without government help – and to improve its cars.

"If you look at their product portfolio, it is the best they’ver ever made – it's not even close to what they’ve made in the past, says Toprak.

As for Toyota, no one expects the company to just relinquish its crown as the quality leader without a fight.  Dave Sullivan, an analyst with AutoPacific, thinks Toyota will eventually will recover.  But it will take time.

"People that have a Toyota, love a Toyota, wanna buy another Toyota," says Sullivan.  "But people that don’t are scared of going after a Toyota because of all the recalls - and the recalls haven’t stopped." 

Ford says it will keep up the pressure, and plans to introduce several new vehicles this year.   

Toyota plans to add a new model to its flagship Prius line of vehicles, along with a plug-in Prius.