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Ford Quality Issues Now Being Tackled By Former J.D. Power Executive

Curbing warranty costs by improving quality was one major area that Ford CEO Jim Farley said he would focus on after taking over the helm of the automaker back in October of 2020, and it’s also a focus point in the company’s recently announced reorganization plan, but results remain a bit mixed. Ford ranked above average in J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Vehicle Satisfaction Study, but both Ford and Lincoln came in below the mass market and luxury segment averages in Consumer Reports‘ most recent reliability study. Now, in an effort to shore up a number of recent Ford quality issues, the automaker has hired quality turnaround specialist and former J.D. Power Vice President Josh Halliburton as its new executive director of quality, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“I was brought in to help lead massive improvements in our quality level,” Halliburton said. “We’ve got a history of – we spent a lot of time figuring out who to blame. So, is it a supplier issue? Is it a manufacturing issue? Is it a design issue? … I no longer care who caused the issue. It’s not important in my metrics and not important in how I look at quality. What I’ve told the team is that they are all responsible for the same target, whether you’re a supplier quality person, whether you’re a product development person or whether you’re a manufacturing person.”

Ford – which has long endured a culture of “finger pointing” rather than identifying and fixing problems – will undergo a few changes in that regard, according to Halliburton, starting with a requirement that employees work together to attack Ford quality issues. “So they all succeed or they all fail together,” he said. “That’s really important because it speeds the time to start working on the issue … they can’t point fingers at each other. They’re on the same team.”

The quality issues Ford has faced in recent years won’t be a quick fix, Halliburton admits, particularly as the automaker has issued a large number of recalls over the past few months. But he remains committed to overhauling the culture at Ford in that regard. “If you look back in time, Ford knows how to do quality well. And it became complacent,” Halliburton said. “I think when I came in, there was already acknowledgement that quality needed to be improved. I would say there was a good framework that had been laid in the past, roughly six to nine months prior to me joining.”

In addition to monitoring social media for potential problems owners are experiencing with their vehicles, Ford is also working on a process where it will video record vehicle assembly during a model’s early launch stages to ensure everything is going smoothly, and the automaker has also added extra steps in the vehicle inspection process before each leaves the factory.

“When you work with companies on fixing quality, it’s often an uphill battle,” Halliburton said. “If the whole company isn’t aligned, it’s really inefficient and it’s a struggle to get momentum. Here, I see the momentum’s in place. It’s now harnessing that momentum to guide it down the right path.”

We’ll have more on Ford’s efforts to improve quality soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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Comments

  1. Harley Kesselman

    LOL I have had two Aviators bought back, both a 21 and a 22. My 22’s interior grab handles weren’t even screwed in and the sunroof weatherstripping was literally popped up above the roof. The chrome around the windows wasn’t glued on properly and I have gone through 2 SYNC screens. Besides the screens these are obvious quality control steps no one took.

    Reply
  2. Stalkbroker94

    This has been needed for some time. Ford should take a couple of leaflets out of Toyota’s book. While exaggerated, Toyota’s quality is at least consistent, even if it’s not the best.

    Reply
    1. GuyInVA

      Agree.

      Reply
    2. Charles Jepson

      I would say Ford ‘s build quality has been a problem for 20 + years. I seriously looked at the Aviator, but the safety and quality issues were just unbelievable. Spilled over to the Explorer.
      This is what happens when the CEO does not focus on quality and you hire a guy who was in the the shelving business Ford will survive but never thrive IMHO

      Reply
    3. Jack 321

      Looking back at this, yes, you’d think they would (Honda’s as well for that matter). The interesting part of all that is, of course, Jim Farley worked 17 years at Toyota, climbing through executive ranks, where he was quite highly respected.
      You’d think he’d be bringing these quality control methods with him. Heck, you’d think all American companies would have picked up on that a long time ago for that matter, considering Toyota’s Kaizen quality system was based on William Edwards Deming’s efficiency work.

      Reply
  3. Michael

    One guy is not going to solve Ford’s quality ( and recall ) problems. They need to replace the whole management structure to one that is more committed to quality. He is going to run into a brick wall, then see how long he lasts. I bet within a year he is gone due to frustration trying to do his job.

    Reply
    1. Db

      Ford also needs to fix the dealership issues. Try taking an $80,000 f150 in for warranty work and they consistently treat you like you interrupted their break, once you convince them of an issue the reply is leave it here and we MAY start on it next Thursday. When you ask can I bring it in next Thursday they decline. It’s clearly designed to refuse warranty work. It’s been this way at Dallas dealers since the 80s. If Lexus made a pickup I would buy one. Lexus has both quality and the dealer experience figured out. And you get a better experience at Lexus for a $45,000 sedan or SUV.

      Reply
    2. Charles Jepson

      Agree

      Reply
  4. Drew Ford Retiree

    Quality is everyone’s responsibility. All the focus on new technology, on an EV shift, and on an AV future forgot one basic truth… there is no future without quality. And the cost problems stemmed from quality problems. And the abandonment of sedans stemmed from so-called profit issues… which were really based on poor quality cost issues and related prices/value pressures.

    Reply
    1. Greggt

      Agreed, quality has to come first! The emphasis Ford is putting on “Being Green” could be better spend on both quality and their customer service which runs a close second to ATT!

      Reply
  5. Mark L Bedel

    Best of luck Josh. Essentially, you have to change an entire culture. That is one of the most difficult tasks anyone can assume. We’re all creatures of habit.

    Reply
  6. MICHAEL M FROST

    21-22s are pandemic specials. Reminds me of the 70s. Inflation, auto worker strikes, terrible build quality. Coke bottles in doors of cars. Cracked head and block castings etc., Worst time in American car manufacturing.

    Reply
  7. Sam

    If the total warranty cost is less than the cost to fix the issue then the issue will not be fixed & that is how Ford operates. It’s all about profit and nothing else. Also, Ford is good at inventing new slogans to fool the general public. Remember that slogan from 80-90’s :”Ford quality is job 1″ etc. Stop wasting your time and money buying a Ford vehicle. For peace of mind buy any Toyota or Honda and save yourself the expense of repair bills and the headache of wasting time at repair shops.

    Reply
  8. Walter Thomas

    Ford has been making terrible vehicles since I have been living. I use to like Ford but it gives me anxiety thinking about purchasing one. My father was a loyal Ford guy for well over 60 years. In his late 60’s, he said, (F) Ford. After purchasing many Fords and constantly having to get them repaired, he left and went to another brand and is much more happier and less stressed about his decision. Following his decision, two of nephews decided to ditch Ford to also switch to other brands. I think the only Ford vehicle in my family that did not have many problems was my sisters Ford Escort ZX2 which was a base vehicle with a manual. It survived many years without any issues until she was involved in an accident.

    Reply
  9. Chris Smith

    the latest iteration of Quality = Job 1, too many engrained fiefdoms and chimneys…the culture is what it is and always has been.

    Reply

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