Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Detroit Car Makers Continue Their Downward Spiral - Part II

Part I can be found at

Part II

The National and Local Media have a new story about the fate of the Detroit Auto Industry. Quotes and interviews from the Executive Leaders, and employees are bountiful. Notice I did not mention Union Officials who are lying low under some rock until the worse is over and them come out kicking and screaming. The problem is they have a million less members that they did 25 years ago.

Each has their own views and each does not talk much about “Customers” or plans to gain and understand their customer base and what it takes to gain customer satisfaction.

For example read the following to-do-list from Ford’s executive vice president Mark Fields:

It's formidable:

Finish idling

seven assembly plants.

Identify two more assembly and five more parts plants for closure.

Execute 38,000 hourly buyouts.

Complete salaried separation program eliminating 10,000 jobs.

Determine if involuntary layoffs are necessary.

Launch new products this year without quality problems.

Replace Ford, Mercury and Lincoln lineup by 2010.

Get workers remaining to believe Ford has the products, team and plan to win.

C’mon, no mention of the customer, degrading comments about there so-called number one asset à Employees and we all know the lost of experience you will have so how can you make a statement about launching new products without quality problems. I have heard that one for the past 20 years. I don’t mean to pick solely on Mr. Fields because the other Leaders (GM & Chrysler) do it too, it’s just Mr. Fields is the most recent (2/24/07).

What about Price? The auto companies and other major corporations that continue to layoff employees can’t seem to understand they are cutting there own throats when it comes to customer base. Sure many get new jobs but at what salary?

The papers are full of articles about the new hip designs and marketers that are now designing cars for women and the 18 – 34 year old customer base and so on but can they afford the price of these lavish new cars that offer sleek design, vibrant colors and extended warranty packages that leave little to be desired.

The Koreans and Chinese will continue to gain market share percent by percent because they offer a price that a good majority (working poor) of potential customers can afford with some hefty warranties. I wonder how many customers are included in the following Poverty statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau:

Deepest poverty
States with most people living in severe poverty (and the state's rank in population):

California -- 1.9 million (1)

Texas -- 1.6 million (2)

New York -- 1.2 million (3)

Florida -- 943,670 (4)

Illinois -- 681,786 (5)

Ohio -- 657,415 (7)

Pennsylvania -- 618,229 (6)

Michigan -- 576,428 (8)

Georgia -- 562,014 (9)

North Carolina -- 523,511 (11)

qualityg says ... One more thing when will you (GM, Ford & Chrysler) end the ridiculous advertising bait and hook tactics about a reduced price that is only available for employees. The print is small and the TV announcer mentions it quickly but nothing makes a customer madder than to be told once they enter the dealership that the price they saw on TV or in the paper is for employees only. Besides how many employees do you have left? Will the employees left behind spend the money when they are waiting for the hammer to fall on them? How stupid is your Marketing department anyway.

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