Skeptics Voice Doubt About Domestic Quality

It's ok to admit it.


It's ok to say that you are skeptical of the J.D. Power reportthat the Big 3 have passed up foreign automakers when it comes to quality.

There are more than a few of you out there who e-mailed me last week to say that you aren't buying it.

Some of you have reasons that are completely whacked.

Some of you are justifiably skeptical that these quality gains will last.

Bill e-mailed me, "Phil, over the past three years and two bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler, a temporary environment has been created where the average UAW worker is focused and scared to lose the few jobs left making U.S. cars. Just wait until Ford starts showing year over year major earning increases and then the culture will revert to what it has always been (strikes and demands for more wages and benefits) and quality will slide.

I can't say that I'm surprised to get these e-mails.

The Big 3 track record of making a comeback, only to fall back and struggle is well documented. It's as if Detroit can't handle prosperity. And with GM and Chrysler newly emerged from bankruptcy while Ford has just four consecutive quarters of profitability, I wouldn't say these are prosperous days in Detroit. Still, the J.D. Power report brings up the question of whether Detroit can stay on top when it comes to quality?

Personally, I don't think these quality gains are a flash in the pan. They are real. They are a reflection of the hard work the automakers, especially Ford, have put in with its designers and line workers. And that may be why some people are skeptical of these quality gains despite the quality improvements the UAW has been an integral part of developing, many outside of the auto industry aren't buying it. This is the other part of the perception gap the Big 3 will need to overcome.

So you tell me - take our poll - Do you think the Big 3 quality gains are here to stay?


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