GM Inside News Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,692 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
GM's bumpy road to better quality
By Danny Hakim and Fara Warner
NEW YORK TIMES

DETROIT - General Motors called it the Road to Redemption campaign: After years of problems with quality, the company started proclaiming in an unusual series of newspaper and magazine advertisements beginning last year that it had rededicated itself to fixing its past problems.

"Humbling lessons" had been learned over the last decade, the advertisements said. Leaves had been turned over. And after a "long journey back," GM was "building the best cars and trucks in our history."

But playing the redemption card has its risks. What happens if you fall off the wagon?

By many measures, GM is still 12-stepping its way back to quality sobriety. In one of the more influential annual studies -- the initial quality survey conducted by J.D. Power & Associates, asking new car owners whether any one of 135 potential problems emerge in the first three months after purchase -- GM has overtaken Ford and the Chrysler unit of DaimlerChrysler in the rankings in recent years, and the Big Three as a group has begun to close the gap separating it from the Japanese leaders, Toyota and Honda.

But judging by recalls, one of the most tangible yardsticks of quality, 2004 is not shaping up as a banner year for GM In less than four months, the company has recalled over 7.5 million vehicles, more than in all of 2003. Among them are some of GM's staple products, like the Chevrolet Silverado large pickup, as well as showcased new vehicles like the Cadillac SRX, a blend of station wagon and SUV.

"We're not happy at all with the level of recalls," said John M. Devine, GM's chief financial officer, during the company's quarterly earnings conference call last week. "We think it doesn't reflect the current levels of quality we have on our products, but we're addressing them as quickly as we see them."

As initial quality improves, the domestic automakers are increasingly focused on longer-term quality, where they still lag far behind the Japanese. The recalls hang over that pursuit like a question mark.

"To GM's credit, they've learned how to handle them," said Maryann Keller, a veteran auto analyst and former executive who ran Priceline.com's automotive division.

Besides the high cost -- $200 million more than anticipated on recalls in the first quarter -- Keller said, "The other question is why this is happening in the first place." She added, "You don't want to give somebody an excuse not to buy your car next time."

GM executives say the recent recalls do not reflect quality problems with their products so much as a more aggressive approach to potential problems. GM's executive director for product development quality, Robert Ottolini, even contends that the company now sees recalls as an opportunity to make a good impression.

"We have to self-initiate," he said, noting that 84 percent of GM's recalls last year were voluntary. "I think our feeling now is that we have to do the best by the customer, and if that means more recalls, then so be it."

People who think about quality for a living say that acting early is far better than the alternative.

Full Article Here

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,372 Posts
Originally posted by nsap@May 2 2004, 10:42 AM
They fail to say that there have been more foriegn car recalls this year than ever!
Every article about the GM or Ford is tilted from the subtle to the extreme. GM posts good results with quality over the last few years. What's the focus of the article? Recalls.

How about a article about Toyota quality on the decline? How the Toyota brand is being beat by many brands and the Scion brand is junk? Where are these articles?

It took the press many many years to pick on the fact that VW's quality consistent stunk and Mercedes have a lot of problems.

Mark
 

·
Editor
Joined
·
26,951 Posts
Originally posted by usa1+May 2 2004, 10:28 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (usa1 @ May 2 2004, 10:28 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-nsap@May 2 2004, 10:42 AM
They fail to say that there have been  more foriegn car recalls this year than ever!
Every article about the GM or Ford is tilted from the subtle to the extreme. GM posts good results with quality over the last few years. What's the focus of the article? Recalls.

How about a article about Toyota quality on the decline? How the Toyota brand is being beat by many brands and the Scion brand is junk? Where are these articles?

It took the press many many years to pick on the fact that VW's quality consistent stunk and Mercedes have a lot of problems.

Mark [/b][/quote]
My point! The automotive press is so baised that they fail to report about the import problems... They Just pick on GM, Ford, and DCX.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
381 Posts
These comments are all true... but ever tried to look at the big picture? Millions of north americans also bought the big 3's products in the 80's and 90's without a blink of an eye... even though they were buying junk. So there is a lag in perception of quality... people feel they were cheated out of their $30,000 a decade a go... so they hold onto their grudge. In the future, hopefull for the big 3 (or 2, bye bye Chrysler hehe) the industry will realize that they are on the same quality playing field as Honda & Toyota... AND you get value and attractive styling for the most part.

Oh, by the way, a lack of recalls does not imply 'long-term' quality. It applies to short term quality as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,861 Posts
While flawless execution must be the ultimate target, it's quite pleasing that GM is willing to accept its mistakes and fix them before customers are steaming along with their vehicles on the side of the highway. An ounce of prevention...

Speaking to one of the "experts" in the article, I generally find Maryann Keller best at Monday morning quarterbacking; essentially, anyone can call the game after the fact. It's evidenced in her books (e.g., "Rude Awakening: The Rise, Fall, and Struggle for Recovery at General Motors") and in the fact that she really does not hold a position, to my knowledge, that has any demonstrable effect on the design, manufacture or distribution of quality automobiles. She simply claims to be an expert.

I tend to agree with the position that GM holds on recalls: they're not necessarily a reflection of poor quality. Rather, it's a proactive attempt to avert crises, and I'm sure more will be on the way, thankfully. I recall that within months of launching the first LS400 in 1989, Lexus had to recall all of the sedans to fix the breaklights. "Excellent, the cars are going to bomb," I thought. Of course, Lexus turned it into an illustration of its then superior dealership service, and it actually strengthened Lexus's reputation. Figures.

GM can use its present multimillion-vehicle recalls in the same way... IF they don't screw it up!
 

·
Firebird Concept (the turbine one)
Joined
·
15,356 Posts
I recall how quickly they stopped talking about the recall for Toyota Sienna's gas tank leaking if that had been an American car we would still be hearing about it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
It is good to see that GM is trying to get their quality issues under control. This is a good thing, but this quality and level of service needs to continue on down to the dealer/service department levels as well. I want a quality vehicle, but I also want a quality dealer that is going to stand behind the product they sell and not fight you every step of the way. I am not saying this happens at every dealer, but it seems to be common place for a dealer to be quick to judge and fault a customer for an aftermarket item on thier vehicle. That is just plain crazy.... :woot2:

A quality product from the factory is the most important thing though....
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top