Now here’s a switch: the latest study from Strategic Vision, which queries owners about the overall ownership experience instead of just problems reported, shows that VW owners are the happiest, followed by Ford. That doesn’t exactly correspond with the latest J.D. Power and Associates rankings, which lists VW in 29th position, out of 32 automakers (only Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Dodge scored lower). Ford didn’t fare all that much better, landing in the 23rd spot, a victim of consumer confusion with their SYNC and MyFord Touch systems.
Why the huge difference in the two surveys? The J.D. Power study looks at problems reported per 100 vehicles, and doesn’t distinguish between “real” and “perceived” problems. One year Mini scored poorly, the victim of incorrectly-sized of placed cupholders. Ford’s SYNC and MyFord Touch systems are among the most intuitive in the industry, but consumers new to telematics systems (and in many cases, modern technology) are going to struggle. Is that indicative of a quality problem with Ford’s manufacturing?
Strategic Vision, on the other hand, has owners rate the entire vehicle, ranging from the buying process through the car’s performance versus expectations. The company looks at the overall experience of acquiring a new vehicle, with the understanding that modern cars have few serious mechanical problems at delivery. Most problems are addressed immediately by the dealership, minimizing customer inconvenience.
Ironically, the VW Jetta tied the Hyundai Sonata for the mid-sized car with the highest number of problems. In both cases, 30 percent of owners reported problems, compared to 22 percent on average for all mid-size cars. Both models enjoyed record sales, and the higher instance of problems was considered a non-issue by consumers, who reported overall satisfaction with their purchases.
Source: Automotive News