By Michelle Krebs, Senior Analyst and Editor-at-Large, Edmunds.com | Published Jun 19, 2012
Just the Facts:
Ford executives said they expect the automaker will be hurt again for issues with its MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch in the 2012 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study (IQS).
Ford owners complained in the survey mostly about problems with Ford's electronics systems.
Upgrades to the electronics were not available until March — after the November-to-February period during which J.D. Power performed its survey.
WOODCLIFF LAKE, New Jersey — Ford executives said Tuesday they expect the automaker will be hurt again for issues with its MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch electronic systems in the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study (IQS), when 2012 results are released Wednesday.
"We expect to do about the same or a little better than last year," said Bernie Fowler, Ford vice president of global quality, at a media briefing Tuesday clearly intended to prepare reports for the study's results and allow Ford to provide its own spin on the results. After steady improvement in quality for a decade, Ford fell precipitously in J.D. Power's 2011 IQS results from 5th place to 23rd among nameplates. That put Ford below the industry average for the first time since 2006.
Ford owners complained in the survey mostly about problems with Ford's electronic systems — Sync, MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch. They also pointed out certain powertrain issues, specifically with Ford's Power Shift automatic transmission in the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus, which were addressed with a software change.
Insisting Ford is listening closely and acting upon customer complaints like never before, Jim Farley, Ford group vice president of Global Marketing, Sales and Service, said the upgrades to the electronics were not available until March — after the November-to-February period during which J.D. Power performed its survey. Since March, Ford has sent notices to 377,000 of its customers for upgrades to their systems, which they can do themselves with a USB drive.
Farley said 89 percent of the 377,000 customers have upgraded their systems, with 70 percent of those performing it themselves, 20 percent going to a dealer for the service and another 10 percent having a friend help. Ford's surveys of customers showed they were significantly more satisfied with their vehicles after they performed the upgrade. "We won't see the results of the upgrade in this year's results," Farley acknowledged.
Inside Line says: The J.D. Power IQS, which tallies problems with vehicles in the early days of customer ownership and ranks nameplates, vehicles by segment and assembly plants, is a closely watched benchmark. The 2012 J.D. Power IQS finding will be presented at the Automotive Press Association luncheon in Detroit on Wednesday.