Improved quality: Lemon-aid for automakers

Barb ClearyA recent article on the AP Auto Writers site pointed out that car shoppers today are less likely to end up with lemons.

“In the past five years, global competition has forced automakers to improve the quality and reliability of their vehicles — everything from inexpensive mini-cars to decked-out luxury SUVs,” Dee-Ann Durbin writes in the piece.

Clearly, a focus on quality—perhaps after a wake-up call to the industry—has meant that drivers encounter fewer repairs or problems. Reliability indices suggest that ratings for cars are very close. Something has changed in the industry, to be sure.

“So automakers are trying to set themselves apart with sleek, cutting-edge exterior designs and more features such as luxurious interiors, multiple air bags, dashboard computers and touch-screen controls,” Durbin writes.

What is your experience with respect to reliability in the cars you drive? Is your car manufactured by an American automaker? Let us hear from you.

2 thoughts on “Improved quality: Lemon-aid for automakers

  1. I have owned several GM vehicles (1987, 1993 and 2001) which I have driven to well over 150,000 with little required repairs. (Still driving the 2001) My new car, a 2011 Camaro is the light of my life and just broken in with 7000 miles. I am delighted with the little extras this car has: it is truly a quality machine.

  2. Being involved in the auto industry makes me biased towards certain models, but over the 18 years I’ved work in the assembly of various cars it is clear as the nose on my face that quality improved significantly over this period. Working at Nissan, BMW and Toyota plants in South Africa as well as the Mitsubishi Assembly plant in Australia, it is very clear that due to quality drives, the customer is by far the winner.
    Globalisation of the auto industry is causing some hard times for developed countries, but the quality of vehicles coming from developing countries is surely making their mark. Hyundai, a prime example. 10 to 15 years ago, I wouldn’t even consider buying one, but today they are a worthy contender. Why, you may ask. Quality played a major part in this rising star. And it’s not going to end there! China is gearing up to do the same and again the customer will be the worthy winner. 5 years ago Chinese vehicles were where the rest of the world was just after the 2nd world war. Now look at vehicles such as the Great Wall and Cheri models. They are surely getting there.
    The big challenge for the automakers in developed countries is to be competitive. This is a major undertaking but can be done only if these automakers concentrate their efforts on niche models of exceptional quality and relibility, thus targeting a specific market that expect the right level quality and is prepared to pay for it. To name a few in this bracket – Lexus, Infinity, Subaru, etc.
    You probably noticed that the automakers I’ve mentioned are all Japanese! Well I believe they’ve grasp this concept and is running with it. As far as the US automakers are concerned, there cars are not globally competitive and still suffer from the bad image created during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
    More the the question if I’ve encountered a lemon before, and I’m sad to say, yes. Of all the cars I’ve ever driven, and I’ve driven quite a few due to my job function, the biggest disappointment was a BMW 3 series. A 1984 320i. What a lemon that was. Other cars that disappoint were the Holden Commodore (known in the US as the Pontiac), an Australian produced big family sedan designed and assembled by GM Holden. Comparing this to their competition, the Commodore is about 5 years behind.
    I worked in the Auto industry as a Quality professional and can appreciate the effort that goes into bring a car to market. Price is the deciding factor when purchasing a car. But Quality is and will always be a deciding factor for the customer to stay loyal to the brand.

Comments are closed.