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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Can the American Auto worker bring the quality of the GM cars back up to higher standards?

How did the Koreans do it in such a short time?

Would love to see the Solstice lead the way and become a world class car that the average man can acquire...............

Maybe with each Solstice, each employee's GM email address can be included and what they worked on. That way, they can take ownership should complaints or praises come in from the owner.
 

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Good idea, but I don't think the UAW would go for that! :nonod:
 

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TravelinRaider said:
Can the American Auto worker bring the quality of the GM cars back up to higher standards?

How did the Koreans do it in such a short time?

Would love to see the Solstice lead the way and become a world class car that the average man can acquire...............

Maybe with each Solstice, each employee's GM email address can be included and what they worked on. That way, they can take ownership should complaints or praises come in from the owner.
Actually, all of the manufacturers have improved their quality, and the regions are now neck and neck for Initial Quality Survey reports as of 2004.

The following is a repost of something that I wrote on another thread: Thread = Too soon? Post = GM's quality is better than you might realize

Crimson Avenger said:
Flagg said:
Uhh, since when has GM had tremendous quality standards? This is a BRAND NEW platform, using a brand new and untested manufacturing process on a model that was rushed into production faster than any other car in GM history. Make no mistake, quality is going to suck.

Now if they would just give me my crappy, unreliable car already, no one will get hurt... ;)
Well, the J.D. Power 2004 Initial Quality Survey shows that the number of defects for cars upon first delivery has dropped dramatically over the last several years for ALL manufacturers, foreign and domestic. There is a graph on the above linked press release shows the story, but perhaps more interesting is the actual numbers from 2004:
  • 123 Domestic
  • 122 European
  • 117 Korean
  • 111 Japanese
This has an average of 119 defects per 100 vehicles, and notice that the numbers are very close to one another and tightly clustered around the average. In truth, differences between the manufacturers of a given region are essentially statistically insignificant.

Further, the numbers by Manufacturer tell a surprising story. GM is right in the middle at 120 near the industry average with the surprise standout companies:
  • 141 Volkswagen
  • 147 Nissan
  • 159 Porsche
coming in with substantially lower than industry average quality. So, as your post demonstrated, the long memories of the consumer and public perceptions don't match current reality.

Further down in the article, GM won the top two of the three plant quality awards for North America, and neither Honda North America nor Toyota North America appear in the list. And GM's Grand River Michigan plant beat both Honda Sayama, Japan and Toyota Higashi-Fuji, Japan.

You are correct that, in the past, GM hasn't been known for quality, but that is an outdated perception.

Your desire to have GM release the Solstice with known issues, so that you could have a roadster for THIS summer, places you firmly in the impatient camp which I talked about in my post. Again, as I said, this is a short sighted view. While you might not mind having to go back to the dealership to address quality issues, there are many who will have a field day in the press and popular opinion forums like this one. This would stand to further the misperception of GM's actual quality.

GM has wisely decided to make the tough choice and delay the release of the Solstice until it meets their demonstrated and measurable high quality standards. You are right to point out that the new platform will have more issues than a vehicle which has been in production for more than a year, however bear in mind that, given GM's current quality performance levels, the delay may well be that they are taking a very close look at this model prior to release and reducing the number of issues on a brand new platform to mitigate the low initial quality that you predicted.

I share your excitement; I too would not mind in the slightest having to go back to the dealership for refits, but as I said, I laud GM's decision. Just be patient, and please don't paint GM with an undeserved black brush. :)
To add emphasis, GM took two of the top three plant quality spots. So, you've already gotten your wish.

As to the email addresses, cute, but not practical, and probably not needed. GM seems to be doing fine with out such a radical step.
 

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TravelinRaider said:
Can the American Auto worker bring the quality of the GM cars back up to higher standards?

How did the Koreans do it in such a short time?

Would love to see the Solstice lead the way and become a world class car that the average man can acquire...............

Maybe with each Solstice, each employee's GM email address can be included and what they worked on. That way, they can take ownership should complaints or praises come in from the owner.
Your post implies that GM quality is behind the Koreans. I'm not really sure that is the case. GM quality has improved and continues to improve. Obviously, the initial quality and reliability of Toyota and Honda products beats all other brands. Absent those 2 automakers, I think GM generally is as good as anyone else out there.

To the extent that GM's quality is somewhat below the best of Japan, something has to give and money spent on high union wages, pensions and health care is money that could have been spent on product.

I think it is axiomatic that eventually you will be a victim of your own success. GM has had a lot of decades of success.
 

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The belief that GM quality is substandard is just a belief at this point. GM’s vehicles are just as good just about everyone else’s.

As Crimson Avenger points out, the latest surveys tend to show this trend too. However, I wouldn’t simply take even those survey results to heart either. Same with publications like Consumer Reports. My opinion on them is that there is a bit of a bias from owners when they respond, so although results can be used as a guideline, I wouldn’t take them to heart.

For example, Buick generally scores better than other GM brands in initial quality, even though they are basically the same cars, engines, and parts as the other divisions. It doesn’t make much sense other than to say maybe the older owner base of the vehicles is not as nit-picky as younger buyers.

I think some bias can kick in between buyers of brands too. People who buy Hyundai’s want to believe they are reliable, and hear about how they bought an unreliable Hyundai all the time. It could influence them to score the car better because in their heart, they want it to be well built. On the other hand, people buy a GM expect problems because of their reputation, so they slam their GM car every chance they get.

I have known Honda owners to suffer transmission failures, and make no big deal of it. “Oh, Honda fixed it under warranty, no big deal” they will say. If a GM owner had a transmission failure, they would complain on 18 websites, tell all their friends about their piece of junk GM, and trade it in the first chance they got because it would forever be a “lemon”
 

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Buick does always seem to stay near the top and was reported just last week on gmtv it is only GM in top 10 of IQ. It even beats Cadillac. What's wrong with this picture, why is IQ less on a $50k Caddy than on a $25k Buick :brentil:
 

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Survey's are only as good as the questions asked and how they are assembled. Most of them I've looked at are "corporate" rankings, which means Lexus falls under Toyota, etc.. Remove them and Toyota product falls significantly in quality. You can sample and spin numbers to appear a multitude of different ways. The other problem is that the survey doesn't quantify what constitutes a 'defect'. For example on Porshe, does wiper blades that don't perfectly remove all droplets become a defect when you are spending $80k+? The only way for these studies to be truly meaningful is to set it up as a passive DOE.

Now, I have no experience in vehicle assembly plants specifically, but in most manufacturing processes I am familiar with the engineering and design are more responsible for poor quality than the person screwing the thing together. If the wheels are made of cardboard, how are you suppose to assemble it with quality?
 

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WaitingForBoost said:
I don't think you can lump the Koreans together. Hyundai has made great improvements, but Kia is pretty bad, if I recall.
They are both essentially the same thing, owned by the same parent. Many products are built off of common architectures, and they use some common engines. Those tricky badge-engineering Koreans! :lol:
 

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GM is building good quality cars. The sense otherwise might be based upon the difficulties experienced with electronics and power options. Many of my friends have had problems with their power windows. In actually, GM probably didn't build the power units, a sub-contractor did. I have seen window problems on both brand new cars and cars two and three years old. I owned a '66 Chevy Impala that ran like a top and never had a problem, was it better than my wife's 2001 Alero? No, it just didn't have all of the gingerbread electronics and power options. My wife's Alero has a nagging turn signal indicator that decides to start clicking even when she hasn't touched the turn signal indicator. It has been a thorn in my wife's side and the dealer can't track down the problem since it doesn't do it all the time. Is this a problem with quality, I don't think so. The car is extrtemely reliable, it gets good gas mileage and it handles very well. It just has some nagging little problems. Once GM gets these little things taken care of, most people will get off their back and realize that GM vehicles are well built.
 

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Darkhamr said:
Now, I have no experience in vehicle assembly plants specifically, but in most manufacturing processes I am familiar with the engineering and design are more responsible for poor quality than the person screwing the thing together. If the wheels are made of cardboard, how are you suppose to assemble it with quality?
I too have some knowledge of manufacturing processes of complex systems (non-automotive). Design of the production process and quality control system is usually just as important as the design of the actual physical system you are building. For example, the Solstice as designed might run as smooth as glass, but if GM doesn't get the production & quality systems set up right, we could still see a lot of defects coming off the line. (BTW, this is why I am not griping too loud about any production delay, I really want them to take the time to get it right.)

Quality Control Programs are where the Japanese automakers have been killing the US automakers, not the car designs themselves. This lesson is brought home on a regular basis in my work as an engineer; every training course I have had regarding reliability, quality, etc. uses Japanese companies and their manufacturing processes as the shining examples of how to build a quality product.

Given that, US companies (even old dogs like GM) can learn new tricks, and I expect GM's engineers have had the same sort of training as I have had. I personally find that US automakers have made great progress in catching up to the Japanese in their pursuit of better quality in manufacturing.

From what I have seen of the Solstice design I think it is a well designed car, and I expect that my Solstice will be built to the highest of quality standards.
 

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Yes Dengel I agree. The design of the process is part of what I was including in my statement. Variation needs to be designed out of the process from the get go however, as I have never seen a quality or inspection system that can really catch all defects and certainly is not cost effective. I also would not rely on QC ensuring my quality, but only as a tool to characterize my process for further improvements.
 

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GM is building better quality vehicles than they ever have. You can see this in JD power reports. It really is a problem that people can not get the 80's out of their heads. We are in the 21st century and GM is right up there with the best of them in terms of quality. With the Solstice now their designs are coming around as well.
 
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