New Study Has Ford Overtaking Toyota in Quality Perception

The situation just keeps getting stickier, so to speak. On the heels of its latest mass recall, a study released Wednesday reports Toyota fell to seventh place for 2010 models — from second place in 2009 — among 20 mainstream brands in perceived quality. Ford, meanwhile, moved from eighth place last year to sixth for 2010. The study ended on January 17, a week before the most recent Toyota recall, but began after the recall of 4.2 million cars over floormats.

Bandon, Ore.-based CNW Market Research conducted the study, which asked 150,000 new-car shoppers, on a 1-to-10 scale, how well they perceived the quality of cars from 36 brands. CNW has been conducting the study for more than a dozen years, with shoppers asked to opine regardless of whether they could afford the brand’s cars.Of the 20 non-luxury brands, Toyota and Honda have ranked first or second from the 1997 to the 2009 model years. But for the 2010 model year, Toyota’s perception dropped to seventh place, with an average score of 8.51 out of 10. In 2009, it was 8.97. 

Meanwhile, Ford — whose announcement Thursday of a profitable 2009 blew away analysts’ expectations — vaulted from 14th place as recently as the 2006 model year to sixth for 2010. Here’s how the 20 non-luxury brands stacked up:
1. Honda
2. Buick
3. Mazda
4. Volkswagen
5. Saturn
6. Ford
7. Toyota
8. Hyundai
9. Subaru
10. Chevrolet
11. Nissan
12. Mercury
13. Kia
14. Mitsubishi
15. Dodge
16. Jeep
17. Pontiac
18. Suzuki
19. Chrysler
20. Isuzu

“The problems really began with a small problem: The T100 ‘full size’ pickup was scary bad,” CNW President Art Spinella said in an email statement. “A variety of other recalls on vehicles such as Tundra and warranty issues such as the Multi-Function Display in the Prius added their own black marks. Consumer Reports’ halting a long-time practice of giving an automatic ‘pass’ on any new Toyota product was a major blow.
“The ‘Halt Sale’ directive to dealers impacts not only new vehicles but the used vehicles,” Spinella continued, referring to Toyota’s decision to halt sales of models encompassed by last week’s 2.3-million vehicle accelerator pedal recall.
CNW didn’t return our requests for additional comment, so we chatted with Erich Merkle, president of Autoconomy, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based consulting firm.
The recent recalls have affected consumer perception “to a certain extent,” Merkle said. But another underlying reason for Toyota’s perceptual slide, he said, is its competition — including Ford.
“I don’t know that Toyota’s quality has degraded as much as it means that the bar has just moved higher,” Merkle said. Indeed, the CNW survey shows brands like Mazda, Volkswagen and Ford having steady perceptual gains over the past few years. Toyota, meanwhile, hovered in the same range from 2007 to 2009 before sliding for 2010.
“If you look at things that GM has done, and what Ford has done, and now what Hyundai and Kia are doing, they really provide that look and feel of quality,” Merkle said. “You look at where interiors have gone, and I don’t think that Toyota interiors have gotten worse. In fact, I think they’ve gotten a little better. But you look at the interior of the new Ford Taurus, and it’s outstanding.”
By Kelsey Mays | January 29, 2010 | Comments (34)
Tags: Ford, Toyota



oh plz...i'm toyota owner n i'm still goin to buy toyotas..end of 2010...


This 'study' includes shoppers not owners and it's based on perceived quality? Jeez if this isn't a joke I don't know what is. I guess this what competitors to JD Powers put out when they are trying to sell bs content. I'm no fan of GM (we own three Honda's) but saying Chevy comes in 10th, Saturn in 5th, and Mazda in 3rd must be forming their impressions curbside. Chevy quality even if 'perceived' is much higher than Saturn and Mazda.


Guys, this is just a study of perception. Perception is deceiving.

Ok. VW no4 and Toyota no7. Ok. VW has quality in their design. But even considering all the problems Toyota had, including sludge issue, the VW is terrible quality vs Toyota.
Honda No1 ?????
Come on. Honda was drowned in transmission issues and we yet to see if they came out of it.

This is just shows that people have no idea what they talking about.

Joe C

I have a 2006 Ford Mustang GT, 40,000 miles on it and I have to say, it's been problem-free. Anecdotal, sure, but I tell everyone who's interested that the quality of my car is high and I think it's just this sort of "water cooler speak" that's driving these quality perception ratings.

Don't hate just cause you love Toyota.

This doesn't mean anything about the actual quality of cars, but perception is more important in the short term.

It's good to see, too, that the 2010 Isuzu lineup got low marks. I'd certainly never buy a 2010 Isuzu.

Derrick G

Yeah Brady I guess you wouldn't. LOL


When you keep pouring money into advertising that your product is better in quality on every single commercial, the perception shall change. BUT, with that being said, perception has essentially nothing to do with actual fact. Meaning that the product's actual quality has nothing to do with the perception.
In other words, if you teach kids that pigs can fly, after 20 years, they may believe it.


What?! Great analogy...

The one report I value a lot would be the JD Powell initial customer sat report. This is suppose to be direct feedback from actual customers. I don't remember where Toyota stands on it but Ford certainly is up there on that list of happy customers.


Ford's quality is a mystery to me. I have rented a Ford Fusion that kept breaking down, stalling hard to start. I know someone at work that has a new lincoln with all kinds of problems. To top all that off I know someone with a brand new Mercury that broke down and the dealer gave her another car. We had a new Ford Pickup at work that kept eating transmissions. As far as I am concerned Ford Quality is terrible. Its even worse than Government Motors. The Americans make the worst cars period, even worse than the Chinese.


This is about perceived quality. The looks of a vehicle inside and out, the warranty and the quality of the materials can affect how people perceive the vehicle. Toyota may have a reputation for great mechanical reliability but their cars look and feel mediocre for the most part. What the CNW guy is saying is that Toyota has remained constant while the competition has stepped up dramatically. Calling the responders names and acting like Toyota's are sent from Heaven wont change the facts. A modern ford or Chevy or even Hyundai looks and feels more premium than a Toyota. The current Sonata has a better interior than the Camry and the 2011 Sonata looks FAR better than Camry. Toyota has been resting on its laurels and it shows- unless you are a Toyota fanboy.

Troy S.

I actually test drove vehicles I'm interested in. The one that fills my needs the best usually gets a spot in my driveway. Auto manufacturers are like sports teams. Sometimes you win, sometimes you win. When it comes to my money, I'm a fair weather fan of the best vehicle.


Anyone who claims the Sonata looks better than the Camry is ignoring facts. The sales figures don't lie as the Toyota Camry outsells everything in it's class hands down. People buy cars based on looks more than anything and the Camry proves it.


I agree 100%.


It's about time people realized Toyotas aren't made in Heaven. My 2008 Tundra has given me nothing but headaches, It's what I get for being an urban cowboy and buying a Toyota truck.




I don't know. I would definately buy a 5 year old Toyota over a 5 year old GM anything. For the long term, the domestics still have a lot to prove.


I have a 2004 Dodge Dakota with 95.000 miles on it and haven't done a thing but have it serviced and put gas in it. American quality can be found.


I have had several Ford products including 4 trucks and 2 fullsize conversion vans all of which had over 200,000 miles when I traded them in all that I ever did was regular maintenance and replacement of normal wear items ie tires brakes etc.
If you take care of your stuff it will last!



This isnt about 5 year old Fords or Toyotas. This is saying Ford has risen above Toyota in perceived quality of new models. That is easy to believe considering more and more people are informed about Ford's current products. If you go to the auto show you will see for yourself. Toyotas arent all that impressive vs the competition.


Well, I've owned 3 Toyota's and a Lexus, and I can tell you, at least with Toyota's, the quality and fit and finish of vehicles starting in 2006 with the Avalon, has degraded. They are not the same as previous Toyota quality. Wake up!!!


I have more excitment buying a new toaster than I would buying a yoda


Why is Saturn even on the list? Didn't they decide to can that brand?

Having owned a Buick, and considering it's part of government motors, I'm pleasantly suprised to see it sitting at number 2. And while I love Nissan, Chevrolet has been making more decent vehicles than they used to.

And don't get me started on NoPar. Once in a while a good Dodge is built, but it is quite the accident it would seem.


Toyota is no longer recommended by Consumer Reports.Their vehicles are perceived as potentially unsafe.Ford is recommended by Cosumer Reports!


Please refer to the 2010 Consumer Digest Best Buy magazine and you will find lots of domestic cars and trucks that are recommended.Only the best get in their magazine.The recommendations are made by professional auto analysts.The US companies have made great improvements on their vehicles ,but still get bashed by some foreign brand owners.Ford has 24 models recommended in Consumer Reports but Toyota is not recommended,looks like the tables have turned!

you know there's another site with good car recommendations on it too...trying to think of the name...starts with Cars...


And consumer reports states that Honda and Toyota as highest in dependability...I have the same 2 toyotas now for 12 years while all my chevy\foerd friends get new lemons every 3 years...Peace


Refer to JD Powers 2009 long term reliability report, Buick had the fewest problems per 100 cars and was rated number one in dependability.Tens of thousands of customers were surveyed.In 2009 Ford was rated number one in customer satisfaction,number one in safety ,and number one in initial quality.Ford ,Mercury,Buick and Cadillac are better than t and h,refer to the professional reports.Toyota is no longer considered reliable with the possible safety issues.Foreign car owners continue to bash US brands but they have made great improvements as verified by professional auto analysts and have some of the best vehicles on the road!By the way, Consumer Reports no longer recommends Toyota in 2010 but Ford has 24 models recommended.Why are people still driving Toyota with the safety concerns?

dirt 48

I have a 18 year old toyota truck and it so nice to drive simple to own. But I would never ever buy a new one there just junk now. If I ever get a new truck It would most likly be a ranger


I have been a Yoda fan since my parents first Celica Supra they bought in 79 (80 model). we have had sedans, trucks and sports cars. I currently own an 01' f150 supercrew 4X4 and have 150K miles on it. there are no recalls and have only replaced a lower ball joint and the alternator (not to include tires & fluids). 5 years ago I wouldnt even consider a Ford car, but I travel a lot and rent a lot of cars. the Fusion is by far the best I've rented. I am going to by a new Expedition for my wife. I am sold on Ford Quality.It's all you'll see in my driveway now.


You can quote perception and initial quality all you want I've owned 4 fords and 6 toyotas and 2 chevy's and 2 nissans. If I have to trust it for 200 or 300k miles then it has to be toyota every time. period. No company is perfect but your odds are still best with toyota products.

Poor Ford Quality? How about a 2008 F250 Super Duty Crew with all the bells and whistles? Paid over $50k and the paint is peeling off of the door. Ford doesn't want to hear about it. TWO YEARS OLD!! THIS is the new Ford quality. DON'T BE FOOLED, Ford doesn't stand behind their products.


@ John, c'mon dude you only rented the ford fusion, but if you buy then there's a big difference. The people who go to that dealership must have used the Ford Fusion so much that it was breaking down a little or needed slight repair. But, I'm just saying Fords are the best cars to drive now-a-days.


The quality of cars measured by perception includes owners.

Many owners, like gamblers, forget their losses and problems because they brought on "owner perception" reports like consumer reports.

If you think you brought a quality car, you will report how smart you are.

Real quantitative quality can only be collected with actual repair records, which manufacturers and car repair folks don't participate in.

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