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Ford Quality Stumbles In Consumer Reports’ Latest Auto Reliability Survey

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Consumer Reports recently shared the results of its annual 2020 automotive reliability survey. Unfortunately, the publication’s findings concluded that Ford quality suffered, with recently-redesigned vehicles like the 2020 Ford Explorer and 2020 Ford Escape experiencing significant quality issues, over one year after their respective launches. But the poor showing extended to other FoMoCo products, too. Out of 26 brands total, Ford now ranks 22nd overall, which represented a six place drop when compared to the 2019 study. FoMoCo’s luxury Lincoln brand also had a poor showing.

According to Consumer Reports, 2020 Ford Explorer owners experienced issues with the transmission, electronics, power equipment, and engine, among other problem areas. The three-row crossover experienced an extremely shaky launch, which seems to have contributed to its poor showing in the survey.

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The new Escape, which seemingly launched without issue, also suffered from poor reliability, but not in any specific area. Although like the Explorer, it was completely redesigned for the 2020 model year.

Automotive quality depends on a number of factors, but it’s worth noting that pretty much every automaker struggles with new car launches. Unfortunately, CR also found problems with some of Ford’s slightly older models, removing the Ford Ranger from its recommended vehicle list due to owners reporting transmission fluid leaks and freezing infotainment screens. That is a near-180 for the mid-sized pickup, which until recently was earning accolades for its initial quality.

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While the news certainly isn’t good for the Dearborn-based automaker, not all models fared poorly. The F-250, F-350, Expedition, Fusion, and Mustang achieved average reliability ratings. Additionally, the Ford Edge managed to do pretty well, scoring above average for its reliability.

Consumer Reports isn’t the only publication to take note of Ford’s recent quality issues. Earlier this year, Ford ranked below average in the 2020 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS). To its credit, Ford itself seems to be aware of the various problems causing these results. As we previously reported, CEO Jim Farley is focused on making sure Ford quality returns to respectable levels. Hopefully things improve in the near future.

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Written by Edward Snitkoff

Ed owns a 1986 Ford Taurus LX, and he routinely daydreams about buying another one, a fantasy that may someday become a reality.

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  1. And no mention of the lawsuits regarding coolant intrusion on the smaller EcoBoost engines. I’m sure that was a factor as well. I sure talked about it in my survey response. And yes, Jim Farley has a problem that will plague his entire tenure…his mind on the next upcoming race rather than the troubles at hand. Yet ANOTHER Bill Jr. hiring mistake, among his never-ending poor decisions of late.

    • Junk….new 2019 had right rear axle seal leak
      2018….brake booster goes out
      Transmission horrible, seems always searching for right gear and big clunk when shifting from Park to Drive.
      Horrible dealers on getting these issued fixed too. Never buy another ford.

  2. Ford Motor company quality is much better than reported. Ford has always been targeted for poor quality by companies due to the fact Ford doesn’t pay off the corrupt quality reviews like other companies.

  3. My thoughts precisely, I love it, a guy who has a passion for cars. Everyone needs a break occasionally. What better break for a auto com. CEO than to be down where every nut and bolt counts.

  4. IMO, the best way to interpret this data is to first understand the survey’s design and its limitations. Look beneath the surface.

    I highly recommend watching the video I pasted below. This guy (Alex on Autos) does a great job with his auto reviews on YouTube, and in this clip gives an in-depth critique of the CR and JD Powers studies.

    My own opinion is that quality has taken a hit since the product onslaught of 2011-2012 (e.g. MyFord Touch, Powershift, too many recalls, etc). FordTechMakuloco is a good guy to follow on YouTube. This is what he’s observed as a Ford tech as well.

    I’m disappointed that Bill Ford allowed this to happen under his watch. I’m optimistic about Jim Farley however, because I believe he’s the right guy for the job. A passionate lifelong Ford lover/car guy at the top is what we need.


  5. Been a customer of ford for 40 years.my 2017 explorer spent 2 wks.at the dealership in Hurricane WVa.For an axle replacement.an another 4 days waiting for the warrantee people to pay there part.REALLY.I had my money.it cost me my entire vacation this year

  6. I’m a 26 year Auto Technician in the private industry . I work on all makes and models on a daily basis. I recently purchased a 2020 F150 4×4 with the 10 speed transmission. My truck is constantly slamming in and out of gear ,makes all kinds of noises ,can’t be good for the longevity of the drive train. Chevrolet has the same 10 speed transmission in there trucks. The Fords do seem more reliable than the dodge or chevys.

  7. So I bought a 2015 F-150 at about 40,000 mi front wheel bearing hub went cost me about $600 to change.. at 95,000 mi the throttle body failed just before a vacation trip cost me about $800.. I’ve heard there’s been recalls on the throttle body Not sure if mine should have been covered but it wasn’t. Happy with the truck as far as the power of the twin turbo and the ride.. The panoramic sunroof is a nightmare It makes noises anytime you ride down a bumpy road so I’ll probably leave Ford and go to another brand

  8. These consumer groups really need to focus on something other than recalls to rate reliability. I’d much rather have a recall than be left with a broke down vehicle. Honda and Toyota avoid recalls just for so they can get higher scores. I’ve been driving Ford trucks for 35 years and never had one break down and leave me on the side of the road.

  9. I bought one of the first Edge ST’s. Love the 2.7 twin turbo. Trans is ok in automatic but useless with paddle shifters. One BIG issue with trans is that 3rd is right on top of 2nd and far away from 4th. This results, even in max acceleration, with the trans going from 2nd to 4th, skipping 3rd. So much for holding the power curve!
    Ford had announced in 2018 that the new ST would do 0 to 60 in 5.4 seconds. Pipe dream, partly due to the bad gearing. Realistically, car reviewers put it at 6.0 – big difference to those laying down 50 grand for a performance car! In addition, the paddle shifters are useless; take up to 2 seconds to do a shift – not a performance plus. I have found out through technical contacts that the physical gears were made that way on purpose – God only knows why. My dealer told me I can have an after market tune done BUT that would void my 5 year warranty. The 2021 ST will have a 7 speed trans – probably dropped 3rd gear in the 8 speed!!

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