Detroit Hurt in "Total Quality" Study

June 19, 2006

Detroit Hurt in "Total Quality" Study

Detroit automakers fielded winners in eight of 20 different product segments in the latest Total Quality Study, General Motors matching that perennial benchmark of quality, Toyota. But the overall study gives Detroit little room to celebrate. Most of its victories - with the exception of the mainstream Ford Fusion - came in low-volume niche segments.

Meanwhile, the report, by the market research firm Strategic Vision, showed Japanese makers grabbing twelve segment winners, including virtually all of the light-truck categories, bread-and-butter segments for profit-challenged GM and Ford.

The challenge for Detroit, said Gorrell, is "regaining the trust of the American buyer, which has been lost over (the) years." The 2006 TQS had some findings that ran sharply in contrast to the widely-reported Initial Quality Study, published by J.D. Power & Associates. For one thing, Strategic Vision declared BMW the number-two overall brand, just behind Lexus, in its measure of both things gone wrong and things gone right. Power's IQS found BMW lagging in the bottom third of 37 brands studied.

Get the results of the Total Quality Study:

Detroit Hurt in "Total Quality" Study (6/18/2006)
New survey says Americans are losing ground where it matters, gaining in unexpected places. Advertisement - Click Here!

Ford Confirms Mexican Plan

As part of a sweeping effort to upgrade its Mexican operations, Ford Motor Company will refurbish its assembly plants in Cuautitlan and Hermosillo and an engine plant in Chihuahua. The company, however, withheld specific details of the overhaul, which will take place over the next few years.

"Ford has been doing business in Mexico since 1925, and we were the first automaker ever in the country. We are proud of our manufacturing capability in Mexico today, and we plan to upgrade our facilities for the future, just as we have been modernizing many of our facilities in the U.S. and Canada," Mark Fields, Ford's President of the Americas, said in statement that accompanied the announcement.

Ford Confirms Mexican Plan (6/18/2006)
Company will invest heavily in three plants to cut production costs.
Acura Eyes Sales Record

Acura is gunning for another sales record this year as it continues to expand with new products, new marketing, and a focus on cutting-edge technology.
John Mendel, vice president of operations for Honda in the U.S., noted that Acura has now set sales records for the past three years and expects sales to top 200,000 units again this year.

Honda also is preparing to launch the Acura brand outside the U.S. for the first time. It will introduce the brand in China this fall and then launch it in Japan in 2008 as part of an effort to establish Acura as a global brand, he said.

Acura Eyes Sales Record (6/18/2006)
A non-traditional ad campaign will help it get there, execs suggest. Advertisement - Click Here!

UAW Taps New Bargainers

General Motors and Delphi Corp. will find a new face in charge of the United Auto Workers' GM department in the wake of the union's quadrennial convention.

Richard Shoemaker, who had served as the union's top bargainer with GM for the past eleven years, retired during the convention and was replaced by UAW Cal Rapson, a former GM worker who earlier in his career with the union has served as its Flint regional director and as the chairman of the UAW GM bargaining committee.

Gettelfinger announced the assignments of Rapson and other union vice presidents after the conclusion of the union's convention in Las Vegas last week.

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