Ford Motor Co.'s poor grades in a recent quality study is a "wake-up call" for the automaker that needs immediate attention, or so says the company's new vice president of quality.

"This data confirms what we already know from our internal Global Quality Research System," Louise Goeser writes in a recent company-wide internal letter obtained by WAW. "We've experienced some serious setbacks in both quality and customer satisfaction. There's no single reason, failure or common cause for this deterioration. All of us at Ford Motor Co. need to contribute to the solution."

Ms. Goeser says she plans to address these quality issues with a "comprehensive action plan" to boost the company's ratings. This will include better attacking customer complaints and focusing on the most common ones across all vehicles in the company's lineup. She says plans already are under way to link suppliers more closely with Ford's quality and warranty efforts; and work has begun to improve the sales and service side, as well.

Ms. Goeser's letter was in response to the company's performance in the Initial Quality Study by J.D. Power that was released a few weeks ago. Ms. Goeser, who joined Ford on March 1 from Whirlpool Corp., urges employees to share any ideas to improve quality with their bosses and says she plans to open new channels to better communicate customer-driven quality to everyone.

"We know that if we disappoint customers with poor product quality, they won't buy Ford vehicles again." Amen.