Volkswagen and Detroit Score in Latest Quality Survey

Toyota leads a new study with the fewest reported problems per vehicle, but Volkswagen has the best overall quality, according to Strategic Vision. The San Diego-based consulting firm said just 17% of Toyota owners reported problems with their cars, but Strategic Vision says its holistic quality index gauges how well a car matches the driver's "explicit desires." In that regard, Volkswagen, Ford and Chrysler — including all subsidiary brands — finished in the top three.

Strategic Vision's Total Quality Awards, presented since 1995, rank overall quality for new vehicles — in this case, 2012 models bought in late 2011. The firm says its scores factor in consumer perceptions on areas from styling to sound systems, as well as problems per vehicle, as opposed to traditional studies that focus more on problems.

Unsurprisingly, the scores run counter to said studies. The namesake brands for Volkswagen, Ford and Chrysler all rated well below average in the latest Initial Quality Study from J.D. Power and Associates, and VW and Chrysler ranked near-bottom and bottom, respectively, in J.D. Power’s three-year Vehicle Dependability Study. Chrysler, Ford and Volkswagen all ranked  below average in Consumer Reports' latest Automaker Report Card, which compiles the magazine's subjective ratings with reliability surveys.

It's mixed news for Ford. The automaker performed well in Strategic Vision's study despite widespread criticism, including ours, of its MyFord Touch controls introduced two-and-half years ago. Marketing chief Jim Farley told Automotive News last week that a lot more Ford buyers value technology compared with car shoppers at large. But Ford's TQA winners, the 2012 F-Series pickup and 2012 Flex SUV, have something in common: They lacked MyFord Touch. Both models offer it for 2013.

Here are Strategic Vision's 2012 Total Quality Awards:

Small car: Fiat 500
Small multifunction: Volkswagen Golf
Midsize car: Chevrolet Volt
Midsize multifunction: Honda Crosstour
Large car: Dodge Charger
Near-luxury car: Audi A4 sedan
Luxury car: Audi A8 sedan
Specialty coupe: Mini Cooper coupe
Premium coupe: BMW 1 Series coupe, Chevrolet Corvette coupe
Convertible: Volkswagen Eos
Premium convertible/roadster: BMW Z4
Minivan: Honda Odyssey
Entry utility: Volkswagen Tiguan
Midsize crossover utility: Ford Flex
Midsize traditional utility: Jeep Grand Cherokee
Large utility: Nissan Armada
Near-luxury utility: Land Rover Range Rover Evoque five-door
Luxury utility: BMW X6
Standard pickup: Honda Ridgeline
Full-size pickup: Ford F-150
Heavy-duty pickup: Ford F-250/350

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There are way too many automobile studies out there. People will buy what they want to buy.


there are so many quality and satisfaction metrics that they are all becoming somewhat irrelevant. They all use different criteria and there isnt agreement with their results. CR's automotive report card is useless because as noted they factor in their ambiguous scoring when providing an overall ranking. Some models that are reliable get poor ratings from CR and thus arent recommended and don't rank highly on their lists. CR doesn't establish a clear threshold for what is recommended and what isnt and they don't explain where their test scores comes from. By historical standards most cars are reliable today and any brand of car can last 100k miles or more with proper maintenance.

Gary Holbrooke

There are a zillion types of quality surveys out there so I can only speak for our personal experience. In the last two years we've purchased three cars: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2012 Toyota Camry, and 2012 Chevy Sonic. We've had three warranty issues with the JGC, 7 with our Sonic, and 0 with the Camry. I wouldn't say we regret any of our purchases but knowing what we know now we'd probably would have purchased the Hyundai Accent.


It's nice to see Fiats, VWs and Audis on some sort of list that's supposed to be good. Wow, that doesn't happen very often.

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