Really, I think they've been putting out the best overall product now for 5 years or so.
Don't take that as a knock against Ford. They may well be putting out the best product, now. I know that when Bill Ford took over the company he made innovation and efficiency a priority. It's just that for decades before that their products were obviously "lower tech" than a Chevrolet.
That doesn't mean they were worse or a bad car, though they had the lowest fuel economy ratings of any major car company for a long time and that had to be part of the reason for it. I think that's also the reason why they were lower priced than comparable Chevrolets. The only time I've bought a brand new vehicle off the lot was in 1997, and Fords were about $3k less than Chevrolet on each truck model, so I bought the Ford. It was a good truck, except for the engine design, but even that was still reliable, just a bitch to work on.