For the Focus, Ford promises the new version coming in 2010 and built in North America will have best-in-class quality, bar none. Ford will spin off future vehicles from that platform as well, and expects the derivative models to have similar quality.
"We aim to launch our new compact vehicles at 800 things gone wrong per 1,000 vehicles," said Bennie Fowler, Ford's group vice president, Global Quality, in a release posted this morning as auto execs gathered at an annual conference in Traverse City, Mich. "That's more than 500 TGWs less than the predicted industry average -- and we believe these levels will ensure our upcoming small cars will achieve industry-best initial quality."
The rate of problems for small vehicles in 2007 was 1,512 on average, and the best car in the class had 1,058 things gone wrong per 1,000 vehicles.
Ford says it's changing its product mix from heavily dependent on trucks to more dependent on cars and crossovers. They estimate by 2012, they'll be building 1 million cars a year from the new Fiesta architecture (which also includes the Mazda2) and 2 million a year from the new Focus architecture, which also includes a small minivan and a small SUV.
Ford's recent results in the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study give some backing to its newest promise. In the VDS, all three Ford domestic brands placed above average, with Mercury placing second overall.