GM's surprising drive to automotive quality leader
One secret to the automaker's success in beating the Japanese at their own game is getting the little things right.
As Bloomberg News, The Wall Street Journal and other sources have noted, GM just achieved its highest ratings from J.D. Power in eight years and overall beat out archrival Toyota. Indeed, Chevrolet and GMC were the only models from U.S. makers to finish in the top 10 of the survey, which ranks vehicles based on problems reported by owners in the first 90 days after their purchase.
GM's cars are better than they used to be because the company has learned to get the details right.
For one thing, it's listening to customers' complaints, such as those about the door locks on the Chevrolet Camaro being in the vehicle's center console. Designers wisely decided to move them, according to Bloomberg.
And the company is willing to experiment. GM has also found the best way to ensure a flawless paint job is to first dust the vehicle with the feathers of a female ostrich.
The automaker also knew when to leave well enough alone with complex features such as its MyLink entertainment system. As The Wall Street Journal noted, Ford (F) fared poorly in the survey "in large part due to consumer dissatisfaction with the difficulty of using its touch-screen multimedia system, called MyFord Touch." Ford, which the paper says had its worst showing in years, is smartly redesigning the system.
Heaps of praise are coming GM's way.
GM is "much better now at thinking about the consumer when they originally design the vehicle," J.D. Power vice president David Sargent told Bloomberg. "There was a time in the past when they figured they knew how to design and build vehicles and the consumers would buy them."
While it's heartening to see the improvements in GM, the automaker hasn't left the old days behind it completely. The U.S. Treasury, which gave it a $50 billion bailout at the height of the Great Recession, probably will lose money on its investment. The government expects to unload its entire stake by the end of next year.
Federal officials have said the purpose of the loan was to protect jobs and not to make money. And if consumers are getting better cars as well, that's pretty good, too.
Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
More on moneyNOW
- 6 money lessons from 'The Sopranos'
- A 'blessed event' for Britain -- and its finances
- Farewell, telegrams: The last one is coming soon
I have little trust in GM's Senior Management to make GM Auto the best in America or anywhere else for that matter. Although "they" claim this and that, talk is cheap and I don't have the funds to experiment with the GM Brands to find out. I will stick with Auto Companies, foreign or domestic that can cut it. GM has been ripping off American Consumers for years and in my view has not changed. I really don't hold the rank and file to blame for it's shoddy products. It's always managment and the bottom line.
You also must be careful believing the various auto reviews. When comparisons are made it certainly appears that some of them are, to be polite, bias in their reviews.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -6.60. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -14.50. The S&P 500 futures trade seven points below fair value.
Markets across most of Asia ended on a lower note, while Japan's Nikkei was closed for Autumn Equinox.
- Economic data was limited:
- China's HSBC Manufacturing PMI ticked up to 50.5 from 50.2 (expected 50.0)
- Singapore's CPI eased to 0.9% year-over-year (expected 1.2%; previous ... More
More Market News
New study finds members of this global elite are stashing an average $600 million each in cash -- 10 times more than a year ago.
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'