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By David Kiley, USA TODAY


DETROIT — Ford Motor's Mercury is the most under-appreciated brand for quality, while Ford's Land Rover is the most over-appreciated, according to a report by Wall Street firm Morgan Stanley.

The firm used J.D. Power and Associates' 2003 Vehicle Dependability Study, which tracks reliability over three years, and CNW Market Research's Perceived Quality Survey to figure out which brands have the most opportunity to change customers' minds.

Top executives at U.S. automakers say they are spending money and time convincing buyers that their quality improvements are real, despite perceptions.

FULL ARTICLE HERE
 

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Excellent find, SS! This is a must-read. Note especially the charts that compare
perceived quality to actual quality.

The conclusion drawn by the article bodes well for GM and other domestics:


While the under-appreciated brands have the opportunity to gain market share as perceptions improve, the over-appreciated brands face a potential minefield, Girsky says.

"Their market share and profitability could be at risk if consumers come to recognize the differentials."
...go consumers! :woot2:
 

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It's true that 4 of the 5 under-appreciated brands are from Detroit, but Dodge, Saturn, Pontiac, and Chevy are all on the "actual quality is lower than perceived quality" list. So, the article title is misleading.

Those charts would be more interesting if they [1] mentioned what perceived quality is for these brands (would make the percentage difference more meaningful), [2] listed exactly how they determine the quality ratings (beyond simply saying they track reliability for 3 years), and [3] provided sales figures (to help put this in perspective).

Seeing VW on the less-reliable-than-people-think doesn't surprise me at all (VWs in Europe are very well-built, but the ones we get in the USA aren't). However, this quote surprised me:
VW Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder says he prefers to be where he is — on the over-appreciated list. "I'd rather have an actual quality problem than a perceptual one, because we can fix the actual problem faster than the perceptual one."
Duh. The question is, why the Hell did he just say that in an article that the public's going to read? He might as well have said "We know VWs are crappy cars, but the nimrod consumers don't know that and the suckers keep buying them anyway! Bwuhahaha!!!! Ooh wait... you're not going to print that, are you?"

By trying to spin this to VW's advantage, he actually made his company look worse.
 
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