Give the People What They Want: Owner's Manuals


The people have spoken - and with a loud, clear chorus of "No way!"

My blog about Chrysler deciding to kill the owner's manualand replace it with a DVD and a small quick reference user guide prompted many of you to blast me for saying it seems like a smart move.

My opinion was, and still is, that for the most part few people refer to their owner's manuals - so why not cut costs by giving out a DVD and small user guide?

But for many of you, that logic is misguided.

Kevin wrote, "...One never knows when you may need a manual on the road for some important information about the car."

Charlie agrees. He says, "Less is not always more. I would be pretty ticked off if I had to go pop in a DVD to change my clock or had to drive home from the auto parts store because I could not remember what type of oil to purchase."

Lee thinks I should reconsider my comments. He wrote, "I would be lost without the owner’s manual. What would you suggest otherwise? Pull over to a roadside internet café and download and print the information?"

Many people object to the idea of having more detailed information on DVD. Bill told me, "The CD isn't much use unless they are going to provide a reader to use out on the highway when the RED warning light comes on. Another reason to not buy Chrysler, as if I needed another one. Thanks for the warning."

Judith says Chrysler should drop the DVD and re-design the manuals, "Just tell the manufacturers to edit the manuals, clean out the redundancies, come up with an intuitive index, e.g. if I want to know how to work the cabin lights, list it that way. Once again, Chrysler misses the point-it's about the customer, stupid."

Finally Charles thinks I need to review my own thoughts on the issue. He wrote, "I think your glib, column-filling opinion that replacement of the owner's manuals is "long overdue" does car owners everywhere a disservice,....You should have thought this through before publishing such a short-sighted opinion about a stupid move by Chrysler."

These are all fair and valid comments.

Here are a couple things to keep in mind: First, the short user guide Chrysler will put in every vehicle should cover the most common questions asked by owners. Second, for those of you who still want the full-blown owner's manual, you can order it from Chrysler and they will send it to you.

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Questions? Comments?