Ford is already touting its segment leading fuel-economy for vehicles such as the 2009 Flex crossover and North American Focus, but now the carmaker is also boasting that it will be the leader in quality for compact vehicles when its all-new Fiesta range goes on sale later this year. In a direct challenge to traditional quality-leader Toyota, Ford’s production and quality chief Bennie Fowler vowed that the Blue Oval’s new line of compact cars will launch with the best quality in the industry.

Fowler explained that Ford’s current European small car fleet, which includes models such as the previous-generation Fiesta and Focus, has on average a defect rate of 800 problems per 1,000 vehicles. While this may appear high, the rate is better than Toyota’s numbers for the same class of vehicles and more than 500 fewer problems per 1,000 vehicles than the predicted industry average.

"The vehicles we deliver in 2010 will be the highest quality ever," Fowler told reporters from The Detroit News. "We're playing to win."

Part of Ford’s new quality program is to enrol small groups of hourly workers from each of its U.S. plants into quality management courses at Wayne State University in Michigan. The carmaker is already starting to see significant results. In April Ford topped a J.D. Power initial quality survey and in a more recent dependability study the Blue Oval was also among the top scorers.

Ford Fiesta EcoNetic

New Ford Fiesta S

2009 Ford Fiesta five-door

2009 Ford Fiesta three-door