John's Journal: John McElroy's multimedia blog about the automotive industry

AUTOLINE ON AUTOBLOG: Quality Problems with Quality Ratings

October 30th, 2008 at 11:33am

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Pity the poor car buyer who wants to be a smart consumer and reads all the quality studies before going to the showroom. How do you know what to believe?

For example, Consumer Reports’ Reliability Survey gives props to the Scion xD. But Strategic Vision’s Total Quality Award gives props to the Scion xB. And J.D. Power puts Scion near the bottom of the list of its Vehicle Dependability Survey. Who do you believe?

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2 Comments to “AUTOLINE ON AUTOBLOG: Quality Problems with Quality Ratings”

  1. Tom Martin Says:

    Yes. I noticed that JD Power and Consumer Reports reliability ratings differed. Maybe they are all wrong.

  2. Steve Salis Says:

    I’ve watched all your daily web casts and find them informative. Since you’re not on Speed anymore I’m finding it difficult to watch the weekly shows. I’ve told many people that the weekly show is a fantastic gauge of how US industry is performing. I also believe it is an excellent way to see what is wrong with American rust belt industries. I’m an IT consultant who frequently has to preach the importance of adopting a version of the “Toyota Way”. It seems to me that what remains of the big-ish three also HAVE to adapt such a culture if they want to survive. The cultures they have now were products of a bygone age. They will not be affective in the new age.
    the big-ish three should be allowed to go under. I’ve rented at least 20 GM cars and many Chrysler cars this year and NONE of them were world class cars, most were substandard. They never should have been designed and built. The Big-ish three, like all car makers, should only build world class cars. Doing anything else only reinforces bad design, manufacturing and labor habits. More importantly it reinforces world opinion that American companies cannot (or choose) not to build quality products. (as they say on Top Gear, “its obvious that each of the 15,000 parts in American cars is built by the lowest bidder”)

    To correct this poor behavior the big-ish three must experience a dramatic event before the individuals taking part realize that a drastic change in culture is needed. Maybe they all don’t have to go under to achieve this thought shift, but some of them will.

    The plant that is now the NUMI plant had similar problems. Mgt and labor couldn’t agree on how to fix them. Each group was acting in what I call “I Mode”. It wasn’t until the plant closed and their well paying jobs disappeared that they began to understand the error of their ways. And of course it took Toyota to get them on the correct path. What I call the “We Mode” path.

    In the end the closing of the plant was good for those involved in the long run. Sure there was short term pain as there always is when you realize that the system you believed in all your life is no longer valid. But in the long run, all who made the change not only survived but thrived.

    We need an auto industry in this country, but we don’t need one that is dominated by the Big-ish three. If management, manufacturing and labor relations models that are used by Japanese or even Koreans dominated our auto industry all stake holders would be better off and our much maligned world wide reputation would begin to be restored. Frankly I don’t believe that will happen until the Big-ish three culture is replaced.