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 |  Dec 06 2011, 9:00 AM

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Car and Driver has published an article expressing its gripes with J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study, stating that its results tell us less about a vehicle’s defects then we might think. J.D. Power’s IQS measures new-vehicle quality after 90-days of ownership and has done so since 1987, but the advent of more technologically advanced features are now impacting quality results.

Take Ford for example. From 2010 to 2011, Ford dropped 18 places (from fifth to 23rd) in J.D.’s IQS, but one would argue that Ford’s quality has only increased over the past year – surely not decreased that significantly. The reasoning behind it is the fact that J.D. Power is voicing the opinion of the consumer and consumers are complaining about design issue rather than a functionality problem. That is, a customer finds it frustrating to use Ford’s MyFord Touch system and notches it as a problem, rather than observing a loose electrical connection, something that really impacts the quality of a vehicle.

Another great example from Ford is the new PowerShift dual-clutch automatic found in their new Fiesta. Customers are complaining about its shift quality compared to a conventional automatic transmission with a torque converter, but there has hardly been any actual mechanical issues problems with the transmission, if at all.

Unfortunately a lot of the manufacturers are actually changing the functionality of the vehicle because of these complaints, such as Porsche consumers complaining about brake pad dust. Obviously the better-performing a brake pad is, the more dust it produces; but the general laymen finds it an inconvenience and even a quality issue if a brake pad produces so much dust. As a result, Porsche vehicles are probably equipped with less-capable pads than they originally were, all because of these “quality” issues being reported by J.D. Power.

At the end of the day though, it’s still the voice of the consumer that manufacturers care about.

[Source: Car and Driver]

 |  Apr 22 2010, 3:52 PM

Ford's Terrain Management System on the all new Explorer SUV

Surely, being part of a much smaller company affords Land Rover employees certain…perks. Other than a company blog (rare for an automaker), it seems the U.K.-based off-road specialists also allow employees like Andrew Polsinelli, general manager of product planning for Land Rover North America to say things that would have been censored in a larger company.

In a blog post entitled: “Terrain Response or Terrain Management — Remember where it was invented,” Polsinelli begins by saying: “Naturally we’re flattered that our friends at Ford are planning to mimic Land Rover’s award-winning Terrain Response system for their upcoming 2011 Ford Explorer…”

Ruh-roh! But wait, there’s more. “You may have seen a new video that’s making the rounds on YouTube where Todd Hoevener, New Explorer Vehicle Dynamics Manager, is extolling the virtues of the Explorer’s new Terrain Management System. We would expect the Explorer’s system will work well; after all, Todd’s boss, Jim Holland, the Chief Engineer, Explorer Platform Program, spent three years working at Land Rover in the U.K. as Chief engineer for Range Rover.”

Zing! And what would a piece of feature marketing be without a subtle game of one-upmanship?

“But while appearing to be similar in concept…to custom-tune the engine and drivetrain to provide maximize traction — it won’t have the six years of sophistication and refinements of Land Rover’s Terrain Response system.”

After the jump is Ford’s official Terrain Management System video:

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