Research indicates consumer perceptions of quality are increasingly important for auto makers in today’s competitive market, a top Ford Motor Co. official says. “When you look at Consumer Reports, that’s an independent, third-party study,” Bennie Fowler, vice president-global quality and advanced manufacturing engineering, says of CR’s Annual Car Reliability Survey. “That basically started this whole quality story off,” he says. “Our research says that’s an important publication people ...

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