People telling you that the quality of their product is great somehow strikes me like a parent telling you their child is cute.
It may be true, but it's really not their call.
That was one response I had to Bob Lutz's most recent post on the GM Fastlane Blog.
Then he goes on to say that lots of OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) have been forced to recall vehicles this year including, (gasp) import manufacturers. Maybe I'm crabby, but we've heard all this from GM and other American car makers before. It reminds me of a client I once had who told me that his company's product was, "just as good as everybody else's." I suggested he take out an ad that said, "we're no worse than the other guy!"
What Lutz is tiptoeing around is an important point: American cars can't compete with imports on quality anymore. Not because American cars companies aren't making cars of the same quality as imports. As Lutz points out, they are. Twenty-five years late, American cars are now "no worse than the other guy's."
Well, that's not fair either, people do care. But they care in the same way that they care about your furnace working when they're thinking about buying your house.
Does the furnace work? Yup. OK. Will that get me to buy the house? Uh...of course not. The only way the furnace enters into the equation of me buying a house or not is if it's NOT working. Then, the furnace matters.
The only way "quality" matters to car buyers today is in the absence of a negative. If the cars DON'T work like all the other cars, then it matters. If they do, it doesn't.
Lutz knows that, and that's why American companies can't compete on quality. It's not a competitive issue, except in the negative.
Now, before Rick Waggoner is forced to walk the Bill Ford Memorial Plank, GM's gotta keep competing on the things that Lutz knows best: elegant, compelling, emotionally stirring driving experiences.
That's the quality that really matters today.