“American Quality is Already Great Again! Domestic Vehicles Win Majority of Total Quality Awards,”
San Diego, California: June 16, 2016 – Domestic automotive manufacturers won more Total Quality Awards than their foreign competitors, according to the latest results of Strategic Vision’s Total Quality Impact™ (TQI) measure. Vehicles from Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and Tesla combined for 16 winning vehicles, compared to 15 winning models from abroad. The victory was close, but significant. After almost a decade of lopsided defeats, American manufacturers have prevailed over imports for the second time in four years. The signs are clear. America is back.
The journey to the top did not happen by playing it safe. Manufacturers took bold, innovative, game-changing risks with several models that ended up winning Total Quality Awards this year. “We see time and again that for consumers, innovation does more to communicate quality than an absence of problems does,” says Christopher Chaney, Senior Vice President at Strategic Vision. Whether it comes in the form of breakthrough technology (Tesla Model S, Chevrolet Volt, Ford C-MAX Energi), re-engineering a vehicle (Ford F-150), or creating a new model (with the resurrected GMC Canyon), consumers feel the positive impact of bold new directions taken by manufacturers. The future of quality that is meaningful to buyers will reach beyond “no squeaks and rattles” and reside in the successful deployment of engineering innovation and technology that is relevant, intuitive, and impactful.
When Ford announced plans to put an aluminum body on their signature product, many in the industry were cautious or skeptical. Since then, F-150 buyers have largely put those concerns over the truck’s quality to rest. An abundance of data from the New Vehicle Experience Study (NVES) shows that the truck’s aluminum body does not detract from the driver’s impression of its durability. In fact, the sense of security that the vehicle provides actually increased when Ford made the switch to aluminum. The lighter frame also improves economic factors such as fuel economy and cost of ownership, while adding other important benefits over the competition such as increased acceleration.
“Some auto manufacturers are hoping that attack ads on the Ford F-150 will convince shoppers of the lack of quality, hoping for similar success in election commercials,” says Strategic Vision President Alexander Edwards. “However, the Ford F-150 has provided a quality product combined with a strong positive emotional experience that makes it a leader. Ford buyers will continue to cast their vote with the F-150.”
TESLA MODEL S
The Tesla Model S was again rated as the highest quality vehicle in the entire industry. The electric performance car consistently reinforces the fact that according to consumers, quality is far more than simply a lack of problems. The Model S does have its share of minor issues, but the innovation and excitement of the product overpowers any lasting negative feelings regarding those issues.
According to Karl Miller, Director of Marketing at Strategic Vision, “Even the way Tesla fixes problems often turns a product drawback into a benefit. To be able to fix problems and add features through a software download overnight instead of a trip to the dealer is a powerful tool. In many cases, it actually enhances their confidence in the product more than if the problem had never existed in the first place.”
OTHER INDUSTRY NOTES
Asian products generally did well in the more value-related categories. Subaru in particular had a strong showing, tying with Buick as the Best Mass-Market Brand and taking home Total Quality Awards for both the WRX and the XV Crosstrek.
The luxury-oriented segments saw a healthy dose of European winners. BMW, which was the Best Luxury Brand, has hit its stride with its hatchback and crossover offerings. The 3-Series Gran Turismo, X4, and X6 all won Total Quality Awards, and the X1, X3, and X5 were near the top of their segments.