Ford Focus - most improved model in J.D. Power study
The Ford Focus is the most improved vehicle in the industry’s top study measuring customer-pleasing design, content, and vehicle performance. In J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) StudySM, Focus raised its score over last year by 88 index points – the biggest improvement in the industry.
The popular compact car performed better than the segment average in every category, scoring especially well in the areas of fuel economy, audio/entertainment/navigation, interior styling and exterior styling.
This Focus appeal to buyers bears out in the marketplace: Ford Focus retail sales are up 64 percent year-to-date, while industrywide retail sales of small cars are up 10 percent. In response, Ford is increasing Focus production at the Wayne Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., where a third shift will be added to the plant’s body and paint shops in September.
Another strong seller among the Ford lineup, Escape, showed a 36 index-point improvement, putting it in the top 10 of most improved vehicles in the industry. With Escape sales up 5 percent year-to-date over last year, Ford will increase production later this summer at Kansas City Assembly Plant.
Ford and Mercury brands both improved significantly in APEAL while the industry as a whole declined.
With a 14-point improvement over last year, Ford improved five positions to 22nd. Lincoln came in at 12th place, and Mercury improved by 12 index points to finish in 29th place.
These results were helped by the strong performance of the company’s newly redesigned vehicles. The Ford Focus, Escape, Taurus, F-Series SuperDuty, and Mercury Mariner and Sable posted better APEAL scores this year than last.
“With standardized processes in design, product development and manufacturing, we’re showing dramatic improvements on all fronts,” said Bennie Fowler, Ford group vice president, Quality. “Everyone at Ford Motor Company should take pride in these accomplishments and keep working together toward our goal of world-class quality for our customers.”