DEARBORN, Mich., July 21 (UPI) -- Ford Motor Co.'s newest vehicles had fewer problems than any other U.S. or foreign manufacturer, a survey of initial quality says.
The survey, conducted for Ford by the market research firm RDA Group of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., puts Ford automobiles ahead of those of Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp., a Ford quality group vice president said.
"We've been tied with Toyota before, but it sure feels better to be on the top!" The Detroit News quoted Bennie Fowler, Ford's global head of quality, as saying in a memo to employees.
"We can all be pleased with the progress we have made in quality, even as we face external and internal challenges in a tumultuous climate," the memo said.
The RDA survey also put Ford in a dead heat with Toyota in customer satisfaction, the News said.
The RDA's research is used by a number of U.S. and foreign automakers and historically tracks closely with other independent research by firms such as J.D. Power and Associates, the News said.
The latest survey, for the second quarter, showed new Ford, Mercury and Lincoln cars and trucks had 1,185 issues per 1,000 vehicles. Toyota had 1,215 problems and Honda Motor Co. had 1,291.
Both Toyota and Ford had an 80 percent positive customer satisfaction rating, Fowler said.
The results came a year after Fowler publicly vowed to beat Toyota as the quality leader among full-line U.S. manufacturers.