An Open Thread for Gearheads
The point of this agony is to create a company that makes cars people want….GM lags in creating fuel-efficient vehicles, but that doesn’t mean it can’t catch up. It is preparing to launch the GM Volt, a plug-in hybrid, in 2010.
Blogger Mickey Kaus, on the other hand, (who was writing about cars long before anyone thought that nationalizing the auto industry would actually occur) says that GM’s problem is more basic – the issue of reliability…
Toyota has been ascendant for at least three decades, and GM declining, for a simple reason: Toyota built cars that worked (“bulletproof,” as they say) at a time when GM built cars that didn’t work. That’s what was “drawing people to Toyota lots” a generation before the Prius was conceived. Even today, when GM suffers “under the perception that they [are] saddled with cars of inferior quality,” you only have to look at the Consumer Reports reliability ratings to see that the reason GM is saddled with this perception is that the perception is accurate….If it’s reliability that’s the problem, is government-ownership really going to be a factor in fixing it? (No, says Kaus, if the government is going to try to merge its car companies with companies that do worse than them in quality ratings.)
But only one of the Big Three U.S. car manufacturers has made dramatic progress catching up to Japan on the bulletproof front–and it’s not Chrysler or GM. It’s the one that hasn’t gone broke.
Are there any gearheads out there who’d care to comment on whether they believe it’s reliability that’s saved Ford (so far), and if anything can be done on this front to save GM and Chrysler?