FORD WINS MOST AWARDS IN J.D. POWER APEAL STUDY ON VEHICLES THAT EXCITE AND SATISFY
Dearborn, Mich., July 15, 2009 –Ford received five segment awards, more than any other brand, in J.D. Power and Associates’ 2010 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study. The closely watched survey measures customer satisfaction in design, content, and vehicle performance.
In June, the Ford brand achieved the highest initial quality among all non-luxury brands in J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Initial Quality Study (IQS). For the second consecutive year Ford was the only non-premium brand to achieve above industry average scores in both J.D. Power’s IQS and APEAL studies.
In this year’s APEAL survey, owners of the 2010 Ford Fusion, Taurus, Flex, Expedition and Explorer Sport Trac, rated these vehicles highest in their respective segments for vehicle appeal, which is comprised of style, comfort, performance and other vehicle attributes.
“It’s a significant accomplishment to do so well in APEAL on the heels of receiving high marks from J.D. Power on initial quality,” said Bennie Fowler, group vice president, Global Quality and New Model Launches. “The APEAL results stand as another proof point that Ford is redefining quality. We know it’s not enough to build defect-free cars and trucks. We move to the next step by delivering an experience that exceeds our customers’ expectations with features they would expect to find only in high-priced luxury lines.”
APEAL surveys customers on what they like about the performance, execution and layout of their new vehicle after the first three months it is in service. Customers rate their level of “gratification” on a variety of vehicle attributes, including safety, fuel economy, cargo space, roominess and exterior styling.
“At Ford, we are accelerating the development of vehicles customers will fall in love with at first sight and grow even fonder of over time,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. “To deliver on that promise, our goal is nothing less than product excellence in design, feature content, safety and quality at an exceptional value.”
Since “gratification” is difficult to define and even harder to measure, Ford looked for new ways to understand how customers define it. Researchers combed through surveys, looked at historical trends and studied customer satisfaction rates. They spoke with people who recommended Ford to their friends, and to those who dismissed the brand out of hand. By discovering what makes customers feel good about their cars, Ford was able to develop customer-driven standards—Ford’s product DNA.
This strict set of guidelines is designed and built into every vehicle for a consistent feel and sound that is unmistakably Ford.
This “emotional engineering,” which focuses on the senses of sight, sound and touch, is helping Ford deliver vehicles that are satisfying to own and drive.
To add structure to the efforts to build in a Ford DNA strategy and increase customer satisfaction, Ford focuses its quality efforts in three main categories:
- Basic quality – the fundamental reliability of a vehicle.
- Performance quality – includes attributes such as fuel economy and quietness
- Excitement quality – those unexpected convenience features that surprise and delight the customers.
Ford is working to extend customer quality satisfaction beyond durability and functionality to excitement quality – the parts of the vehicle that surprise and delight. Excitement quality includes features from seats specially designed for comfort, to materials and surfaces that look good and feel right, and interiors with ambiance and innovative exterior paints.
The ownership experience is also enhanced by features such as MyFordTouch in-car connectivity technology, multi-contoured massaging seats, changeable ambient interior lighting, and refined sound quality.
“When applying the three categories of quality, it’s never about either/or; it’s all three,” said Kuzak. “We’re still consumed with basic quality, but we’re now also very focused on providing appeal and excitement to meet customers’ desires.”
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 176,000 employees and about 80 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln and Mercury, production of which has been announced by the company to be ending in the fourth quarter of 2010, and, until its sale, Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.