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There seem to be so many surveys out there relating to auto manufacturers, it’s often hard to pick out which are the most meaningful. Strategic Vision Inc. however, takes a slightly different approach than most, measuring every aspect of ‘customer satisfaction,’ from the buying experience, to performance as well as reliability, factors which aim to give a more ‘complete’ picture of overall quality.
As a result, the automotive brands that reach the top of its survey differ from those on others; Volkswagen and Ford ranking as number one and two respectively.
VW’s position was lead by the results from Golf, Jetta and Tiguan owners and although Jetta drivers reported a higher number of industry problems than average (30 percent versus 22), very few were labeled as serious issues. Furthermore, VW owners attracted a higher level of ‘love’ for their vehicles than most rivals.
In Ford’s case the Mustang, F-Series pickups and Flex crossover were the biggest winners, these vehicles scoring strong points on design, technological innovations and strengthening brand equity, this despite complaints of in-car connectivity systems which has seen Ford drop on other surveys, notably those from Consumer Reports and JD Power and Associates.
Further down the list, Honda and Nissan tied jointly for third place, the latter essentially on the strength of just one vehicle, the Maxima sedan.
Interestingly, there were a few vehicles on the list that have redeemed themselves somewhat, posting significant gains in Total Quality satisfaction ratings; examples included the Chrysler Town & Country Minivan, which jumped to second place behind the Odyssey for best in the segment; the redesigned 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which currently ranks top of the mid-size SUV category, plus the Land Rover LR4 and Jaguar XJ, which from languishing in the doldrums, jumped to top of their respective categories, luxury SUV and sedan respectively. British cars leading quality satisfaction surveys, who’d have ever thought it?
[Source: Automobile Mag]
With 90 percent of Ford models to get EcoBoost technology, are the Mustang and Fiesta next?
If you were wondering which U.S. automaker was making the biggest strides toward next-generation powertrain technology, wonder no more.
In a bold move, if you’ll excuse the reference, Ford will be introducing turbocharged engines on some of its largest and smallest vehicles by the end of 2010. Here’s our run down of the increasingly prolific application of EcoBoost motors in the Ford lineup:
- Ford C-Max: 1.6-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost (2010 availability, Europe)
- Ford Explorer: 2.0-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost (2010 availability, North America, preview)
- Ford Edge: 2.0-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost (2010 availability, North America, preview)
- Ford Flex: 3.5-liter six-cylinder EcoBoost (on-sale now, review)
- Ford Taurus SHO: 3.5-liter six-cylinder EcoBoost (on-sale now, review)
- Lincoln MKS: 3.5-liter six-cylinder EcoBoost (on-sale now)
- Lincoln MKT: 3.5-liter six-cylinder EcoBoost (on-sale now, review)
- Ford F-150: 3.5-liter six-cylinder EcoBoost (2010 availability, North America)
Ford says they plan on having EcoBoost engines in 90 per cent of the company’s North American models. By 2013, the company will be producing 1.5 million such engines per year. That means you should expect to see the engine pop up in nearly everything, from the Fiesta to the Mustang. Dan Kapp, Ford’s director of powertrain research and advanced engineering says that they’re tuning EcoBoost to deliver better efficiency in future models.
“We are trying to get in front of the pack in leveraging EcoBoost for fuel economy,” Kapp said. “It’s going to be a trend in the industry, and we can’t rest on our laurels for one minute. We are going to keep wringing more efficiency out of EcoBoost.”
Other than EcoBoost, Ford has some exciting technologies on the horizon, including a fully electric version of the Focus, the promise to have 98 per cent of its North American models fitted with six-speed transmissions, and to have 20 per cent of its vehicles worldwide fitted with stop/start systems by 2014. Those systems, which turn off the engine at a stop light (just like a hybrid), can contribute to a five per cent reduction in fuel consumption and emissions.