Ford ousts Toyota for top spot in overall auto quality

The Michigan auto industry has a reason to celebrate again, as Ford (NYSE: F)surpassed rival Toyota (NYSE: TM) recently in the J.D. Power and Associates’ annual initial quality rankings for automobiles. In all, Ford grabbed more top individual awards than any other automaker, including Toyota and GM (NYSE: GM) among others. Does this signal something for Ford as CEO Alan Mulally executes on his plan to return the automaker to profitability by 2009?

Ford automobile owners are apparently having a doozy of a time with their new cars — and they’re reporting fewer problems during the initial 90 days or so of Ford ownership. Ford’s last top showing in these awards was in 1998, when it tied for the top spot. Now, it has that mark all to itself.

While Toyota continues to sell quite a few cars, SUVs and trucks these days (it’s now the largest global seller, ahead of even GM), Ford’s customer-reported quality has crept ahead to make it better. With recent releases like the Mercury Milan and the all-new Ford Edge, Ford’s product portfolio seems to be hitting on all cylinders here, with the company ranking highest in five of 19 segments in this year’s survey. I have to agree with Ford spokeswoman Anne Marie Gattari, who indicated that all the new Ford vehicle launches so far this year “speak volumes about what we’re doing right.” Apparently, customers agree, and it shows in these J.D. Power and Associates rankings.


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