Ford Makes Strides in Reliability Ratings

At Joyce Ford in Chicago, owner Maureen Joyce has been telling customers her cars are better than the competition. And now, thanks to positive ratings from Consumer Reports, she has the data to back it up.

"Ford has been stepping up their game for years and Consumer Reports proves that," Joyce said.

In their nationwide owner survey involving 1.4 million vehicles, the magazine said Ford is pulling away from its domestic competition and predicts that 90 percent of Ford, Mercury and Lincoln models will have average or better than average reliability in 2010. By contrast, 44 percent of GM models rated that well, while only 38 percent of Chrysler models did.

Ford doesn't expect to turn a profit until 2011, but it is gaining ground on its Japanese competitors, according to Consumer Reports, where the Ford Fusion is now seen as more dependable than Honda's Accord and Toyota's Camry, reports CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds.

"While the Japanese automakers are doing well the real big news is that Ford has done very well over the last three years and continues to do so," said Jonathan Linkov, with Consumer Reports.

However well its cars may hold up, Ford still has to overcome truckloads of public skepticism.

"They have to convince the consumers that they make good reliable cars and that is, in some ways, harder than making good, reliable cars," said Joe Wiesenfelder with "It takes a long time."

Back at her Ford showroom, Maureen Joyce knows all about that. She expects to encounter disbelief.

Besides, success could bring problems. A number of union locals have voted to reject the national union's deal with the automaker - arguing that Ford's relative success makes further concessions by its workers unwarranted.

And you can see that success in dealer lots. If you want a Ford Fusion Hybrid these days, you'll have to wait eight weeks to get one.

  • Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.