Why does lean focus on creating value for the customer? One reason is that failing to create such value can damage the relationship with the customer. And once that relationship is damaged, rebuilding it is incredibly difficult.
After Bob Lutz joined GM as vice chairman in 2001, he made redesigning the mid-size
Leaders of the team say Mr. Lutz made clear that the goal wasn't to improve upon the existing
They spent weeks studying the Camry and Accord looking for weakness to potentially exploit. They studied the low-end products that fashion designers were crafting for Target Corp. discount stores, in search of secrets to a luxurious look at non-luxury prices.
The team did its job and produced a high-quality vehicle that won awards and was even recommended by the independent publication Consumer Reports.
So the car was a winner, right? Nope. It’s selling better than previous versions of the
The problem is, no one trusts GM. The article provides several examples of buyers whose past history of quality problems makes them unwilling to buy a GM car, despite widespread acknowledgement of the
"A perception of inferior quality is the most serious problem facing GM," aside from its financial predicament, says David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in
"It takes a long time to break through," says GM spokesman Dee Allen. "We have trouble getting people to even give the
The article also quotes a
By the way, if you’d like additional insights into what people think of GM today, browse through the more than 100 comments posted on the WSJ article.
GM hopes to continue impressing people with its vehicles as, this year, it introduces a redesigned Camaro, the new Cruze and the electric-powered Volt.
Will that be enough to repair the damage to its relationship with its customers? Maybe. But I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.