To Tell the Truth: Ford's Quality Guy Talks to TTAC (Pt. 2)

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

There's something reassuring about talking to employees who work for a really large company. You can almost hear a well-stocked 401k plan in their voice. Now I'm not saying that Ford suffers from the kind of complacency that brought it to the brink in the first (second?) place. But it is certainly true that group think is the enemy of relative quality in all things. So I want to thank Ford for opening a dialogue with TTAC, which is, after all, a mighty hostile environment for an industry used to well-paid cheerleaders and toothless hacks. I invite Ford to continue on this openness arc and allow their employees to post on the Focus review and/or anything else that captures their attention. Of course, we're years away from that kind of non-spun honesty and PR-less transparency. But I'll say this: the first car company that fully embraces the internet in this way will have an enormous advantage over its competitors. And that's down to one simple reason: it will help them build better cars.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Antone Antone on Oct 19, 2007

    RF – Great installment. Congratulations to Ford for even allowing this type of interaction. This is as far from the world of “Special Advertising” sections as one can get. I am very surprised to hear that more emphasis is not put on perceived quality vs. actual number of defects. Having a great quality control program for cheaply perceived products can’t be the road to success. I am not in the automotive manufacturing business but I would think you need both. Is it their intent to have a highly efficient QC feedback system to simple learn what the consumer has already told them in their buying decision (i.e. buying a Honda)? What is Ford doing with this data? Does it only go to Mazda engineers? Land Rover and Jaguar must make this guy crazy...

  • KAL303 KAL303 on Oct 19, 2007

    I'm really happy with Ford for participating in this interview. It's so rare that auto companies speak to the masses in anything other than a press release. They knew that Farago would throw some toughies their way, but they were still willing to step into a vulnerable position and answer those things on the spot. I sort of felt like Mike may have wanted to be a little more open and direct in his responses, but with big-brother from PR watching over his shoulder he had to be careful. It's too bad, because it seems like he actually cares about quality more than they let him.

  • AlphaWolf AlphaWolf on Oct 20, 2007
    Gardiner Westbound : It used to be, for example, that key parts were designed to last only 80,000 miles. That has increased, say GM executives, to well over 100,000 miles, with many parts specified to last 120,000 miles. That sure explains the problems on the GM cars I used to own. Money pits from 75k mileage to 100k mileage.
  • 1169hp 1169hp on Oct 23, 2007

    RF. Thanks for setting up and conducting that interview. Very interesting. Perhaps I'm a sucker, but it did restore "some" confidence in any future Ford I might consider purchasing. That's a good thing for Ford. Though I was momentarily startled when that lady first chimed in.