Ford has reduced its worldwide warranty repairs costs by US$1.2bn in the past two years and the repair rate in the US is now almost half the 2004 total.

Ford Motor Company’s steady vehicle quality improvement in recent years is beginning to translate into significant savings for the company and far fewer trips by customers to the repair shop,” the automaker said in a statement.

“These savings can be attributed to four straight years of quality improvements on Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. Ford’s initial quality is now in a virtual tie with Honda-Acura and Toyota-Lexus-Scion for the 2008 model year, according to the latest US Global Quality Research System (GQRS) study.”

“Ford is following a set of standardised processes around the world in product development, manufacturing and purchasing with a discipline this company has never seen,” said Bennie Fowler, who heads global quality.

“The last 24 months have revealed some our best quality results,” said Curt Yun, director of global warranty. “Our new models have been achieving continuously declining warranty repair rates and lower warranty costs, as a direct result of our overall quality improvements.”

We’ve reached the point where our initial quality is second to none among the full-line manufacturers,” claimed Fowler. “We expect that high quality to be reflected in future high-mileage surveys as our new models age.”