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Volkswagen Tops Total Quality Study

A recent study conducted by Strategic Vision concludes that Volkswagen Group of America is the top automaker when it comes to total quality. Ford Motor Company and Chrysler Group also rank highly on this index, which measures how pleased customers are with their new vehicles based on several indicators of quality.

One metric of total quality is Strategic Vision’s problem index measure, which analyzes reported problems with vehicles by automaker. Toyota Motor Sales led that portion of the study with the lowest reported problems, but Strategic Vision says that its Total Quality Index accounts for more than just this one factor. Largely, it takes into account owners’ overall perceived quality of their new 2012 model year vehicles, which factors in things like styling, stereo quality and interior craftsmanship. Strategic Vision lists these as some of the attributes that helped vehicles like the Fiat 500, Audi A8, Chevrolet Volt, BMW Z4 and Jeep Grand Cherokee perform well in its study. Winners are broken down by 21 different segment categories.

Strategic Vision President Alexander Edwards says that its study differs from other studies because it captures the “complete picture of Quality,” rather than just analyzing the “Fewest Problems” reported.

Another study that looks at vehicle quality is J.D. Power and Associates’ Initial Quality Study, which measures owner-reported problems of new 2012 vehicles after 90 days of ownership. Chrysler fared poorly in that study, as did Ford, whose low ranking was partially attributed to owner difficulty operating MyFord Touch, the automaker’s infotainment interface.

Kicking Tires also noted qualms with MyFord Touch, and points out that the Ford models that top the Strategic Vision study, like the F-150, Super Duty and Flex, all lacked the infotainment system.

While different vehicle quality studies use differing methodologies and reach different conclusions, highlighting vehicle quality is good for consumers as they research and shop for a new vehicle. The Detroit News says “that in terms of defects and malfunctions, quality has improved dramatically in recent years and across the board.”

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