In June, General Motors (IW 500/5)received eight model-level awards in the 2013 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. That’s good news in any industry, but maybe particularly so in the fiercely competitive automotive industry, where in the past domestic manufacturers haven’t fared so well compared with foreign makes.
Nevertheless, what constitutes quality is a moving target, says Alicia Boler-Davis, senior vice president, global quality and customer experience for General Motors Corp. “People don’t define quality as things breaking anymore,” she says in a recent USA Today interview. More precisely, quality is not just about fixing mistakes anymore. Instead, notes the article, “The more nuanced definition of quality might include instrument panel knobs that work just fine, but people don’t like the way they feel in their fingers.”
Moreover, new technologies are playing a greater role in how customers feel about quality. To that end, according to USA Today, “GM has created a pool of 50 ‘in-vehicle technology experts’ who can troubleshoot customer problems in 85% of the U.S.”