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Woes blamed on less than stellar DCT shifting and MyFord touch

After years of being ranked as one of the most reliable automakers in the industry, Ford’s recent use of in-car infotainment systems have caused it to plummet in quality rankings. Consumer Reports indicates that only a couple years ago Ford was in the top 10 among brands in its predicted reliability scores with over 90% of its models being average or better. However, in the most recent Consumer Reports reliability scores, Ford has dropped to number 27 out of 28 in the survey. Studies from JD Power have also noted a drop in Ford’s ranking.

Japanese automakers are taking advantage of Ford's decline with Scion, Toyota, and Lexus sweeping the top three spots. Those three Toyota brands were followed by Mazda, Subaru, Honda, and Acura with all models produced by the top seven brands offering average or better reliability.

Multiple factors contributed to Ford's significant decline in Consumer Reports rankings. Consumer Reports has shown no love for Ford's MyFord Touch technology and its survey participants obviously agree. Several of Ford's new vehicles -- including the Explorer, Fiesta, and Focus -- had more problems than normal according to Consumer Reports. Another significant contributing factor to Ford's decline in the rankings is three of its historically reliable models, the Escape, Fusion, and Lincoln MKZ are not included in the current analysis because they were all redesigned for 2013.

MyFord Touch

Consumer Reports director of testing Jake Fisher notes that despite attempts to improve MyFord Touch, the system, which is featured in many Ford vehicles, continues to confuse customers. Fisher also says that customers continue to complain about rough shifting on Ford six-speed dual-clutch PowerShift transmissions.

“They’ve put out some updates to try to address some of those problems for both the transmissions and the infotainment controls, but it doesn’t seem to be enough,” Fisher said.

Despite Ford plummeting in the Consumer Reports reliability rankings, the company posted a massive profit for Q3 2012. Ford racked up $1.63 billion in profit during the quarter, marking a slight decline from $1.65 billion earned the same quarter of 2011. Ford had a pre-tax operating profit $2.2 billion amounting to $.40 per share. Analysts had anticipated a gain of $.30 per share.

"The Ford team delivered a best-ever third quarter, driven by record results in North America and the continued strength of Ford Credit," said Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO, in a statement. "While we are facing near-term challenges in Europe, we are fully committed to transforming our business in Europe by moving decisively to match production to demand, improve revenue through new products and grow a stronger brand, improve our cost efficiencies and take advantage of opportunities to profitably grow our business."

However, things don't look is rosy for Ford in Europe with the company reporting a loss of $460 million during the quarter marking a loss of about $1 billion in Europe this year alone. Ford has previously announced that it expects to lose about $1.5 billion in Europe during 2012 and 2013. The automaker plans to restructure its European operations and shed workers.

Sources: Consumer Reports, Free Press, Detroit News, Detroit News

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RE: Define "reliability"
By Brandon Hill on 10/30/2012 1:11:12 PM , Rating: 1
I just don't like that CR's has impugned Fords reliability because of their dislike of MyTouch.

You're conflating two different issues:

1) Consumer Reports has said that they don't like MyFord Touch because it's distracting, hard to use, and can be a safety hazard.
2) The actual rankings that this article is about has nothing to do with what Consumer Reports editors think: this information comes from their surveyed readers. This is the way it's ALWAYS been done.

So the "outrage" over Consumer Reports on these rankings is lost on me.

RE: Define "reliability"
By SPOOFE on 10/30/2012 1:16:43 PM , Rating: 2
this information comes from their surveyed readers.

... Which are generally going to fall in line with the attitudes of the CR editorship; if people didn't like what CR has to say, they wouldn't follow CR, and certainly wouldn't be respondents in their surveys.

RE: Define "reliability"
By Brandon Hill on 10/30/2012 1:23:57 PM , Rating: 2
That is assuming that everyone that subscribes to Consumer Reports subscribes to hear what they have to say about vehicles.

Take me for example, I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about vehicles to an extent, but I don't know **** about dishwashers or oven/ranges. I wouldn't necessarily subscribe to CR for advice on cars, but I would pay attention to their rankings on appliances since I have no clue whatsoever.

RE: Define "reliability"
By Reclaimer77 on 10/30/2012 11:51:32 PM , Rating: 2
Look I don't know what I'm conflating, but when a car buyer hears that a brand has poor reliability, it invokes images of being stranded on the side of the road or always having a car in the shop for one problem or another. Am I alone in thinking this?

So to say MyTouch issues, or a transmission that isn't as smooth as one would prefer, should give a poor reliability score...well I just don't agree with that. Especially when these are optional equipment. If you liked MyTouch and the DCT transmission when you test drove the car enough to purchase it, why is it suddenly an issue later?

There's no outrage here, I'm just looking for more clarification. And yes, I question their methodology here. Consumer Reports isn't some perfect beyond-reproach organization.

RE: Define "reliability"
By rdhood on 11/1/2012 3:35:56 PM , Rating: 2
Look I don't know what I'm conflating, but when a car buyer hears that a brand has poor reliability, it invokes images of being stranded on the side of the road or always having a car in the shop for one problem or another. Am I alone in thinking this?

That is how I define reliability.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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