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DEARBORN, Mich. — Quality improvements, healthier demand for the automaker's new lineup and stronger durability have helped to push up the resale values of one- to five-year-old Ford vehicles 23 percent compared to year-ago figures, the automaker said Tuesday.

Moreover, this year-over-year resale value gain for Ford vehicles in the auction market was 4 percentage points stronger than the overall average improvement in the industry (19 percent), Ford noted, citing auction data from the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Interesting enough, Ford said that during the last three years, warranty repair rates on its products in their first three months of service have gone down by more than 40 percent, on average, throughout the world.

"Wholesale price performance was extremely strong throughout 2009, and during this period Ford, Lincoln and Mercury products matched or exceeded the performance of the overall market," shared Tom Webb, chief economist for Manheim Consulting. "And, in 2010, Ford products have outperformed the overall market, especially in the increasingly important segments of compact cars, midsize cars and crossover vehicles."

Auction prices for the redesigned 2010 Ford Taurus have been 50 percent stronger after one year on the road than its 2009 edition. 

Likewise, wholesale prices for the 2010 Ford Fusion V-6 have been 26 percent higher after one year of service than the 2009 model-year vehicle did.

"Wholesale used vehicle prices have generally been firming over the last year and a half; however, the price performance of Ford products has generally exceeded that of the market as a whole," explained Tom Kontos, executive vice president of customer strategies and analytics for ADESA Analytical Services.

Obviously, with stronger resale values, consumers can get more for their ride when they trade it in or sell it.  
That, along reduced repair and maintenance costs, as well as better fuel efficiencies, means that Ford's vehicle-lifetime ownership costs fall "dramatically," officials noted.

Stronger Product

What Ford indicated as a major cause for this resale gain is its improved lineup, including many vehicles that are either new or redesigned.

Ford said its U.S. market share climbed last year as did its transaction prices.

The automaker pointed out that if a vehicle has a healthy performance on the retail level — including strong sales and transaction prices — this often points to strong resale values down the road.

"When combined with Ford's quality rankings, these factors help Ford vehicles hold their value," officials noted.

Jim Farley, Ford's group vice president of global marketing, stated: "The positive reception by consumers of our recent product introductions and freshening is reflected in our higher transaction prices and increased market share."

Emphasis on Quality

Continuing on, Ford has also noticed consistent improvement in how it performs in third-party consumer quality rankings. This certainly has paid off, the company noted, in such areas as warranty rates, which have dropped considerably.

In fact, the automaker has seen five straight years of improvement in its vehicles' initial quality scores. Citing the Global Quality Research System study from RDA Group, Ford boasts that its models have fewer defects than any other full-line OEM.

With fewer defects, customers don't have to bring their vehicles into the dealership as often. But it also saves money for Ford. In fact, its warranty repair costs have been sliced $1 billion in the last three years.

"We are operating with a truly dedicated discipline to quality," stated Bennie Fowler, Ford group vice president of global quality. "The results are paying off for our customers with fewer trips to the dealership and a higher satisfaction with the Ford, Lincoln or Mercury product they purchase."

Looking forward, Ford looks for continued growth in resale values and continued decreases in warranty claims.

But it's more than "just preventing things that go wrong."

Ford emphasized that it designs vehicles with "customer-driven" features like fuel economy, craftsmanship, quiet interiors and high-tech communication systems within the vehicles to provide customers with "an exceptional product at an affordable price."

"The difference in Ford's products today is significant," Farley shared. "We're proud of the progress we've made. It feels good to be able to deliver great-looking vehicles and industry-leading quality at an affordable price in every sense of the word."