Much of that work stems back to 2013, when the Ford brand ranked 27th on the IQS list with 131 problems reported per 100 vehicles. Hinrichs, who had recently taken over as Ford Motor's president of the Americas, instituted a weekly Monday meeting to directly address quality, and reinstituted a half-day quality summit as part of a yearly gathering of the company's leadership team.
"It really comes down to leadership and commitment and process," he said. "We focused on all of those areas."
That focus has continued under Kumar Galhotra, who as president of North America now oversees quality issues for each nameplate during Wednesday meetings in what Ford calls "franchise rooms."
Hinrichs said he, Galhotra and other leaders spend more time looking over initial build prototypes to spot issues earlier in a vehicle's development.
"We committed to a bunch of new processes," Hinrichs said. "That energy's not gone anywhere."
Hinrichs said the team will be tested with upcoming launches, including redesigned Explorer and Escape crossovers, two of the company's highest-volume products. By the end of 2020, Ford says, it will have updated 75 percent of its current lineup and boast the industry's freshest showroom.
Recent product launches give officials confidence the company can maintain quality.
The Ranger, in its first year since returning to the U.S., was the top midsize pickup in the 2019 IQS rankings. The Ford and Lincoln brands combined for 10 models ranked among the top three in their segment.
"It really does come down to how well the entire system is working together and how quickly they can identify and resolve problems," Hinrichs said. "That's the key to keeping launches going well."