Discussion in 'Mopar / FCA News' started by CDJSalesPro, Dec 2, 2017.
Focus on quality; then you can sell CUVs, sedans, even tricycles, and make money.
Don't blame the engine for a one tune fits all mentality that wouldn't let the 1.4 reach its full potential. Been playing with an Abarth since 2013 and the power that the 1.4 can safely produce is impressive.
I tend to agree with your thinking, Aldo, but how do we reconcile this idea with the reality that Hyundai Kia are tanking in sales despite winning quality awards? Can we chalk it all up to perception of quality is still poor or is there really a much more complex reality to major purchase decisions?
My personal feeling is that the data you see on what people want is similar to political polling. "How will you vote?" "Candidate A of course", then they pull/punch for candidate B in private.
Incorrect. We do not ask consumers what drives their purchase for precisely that reason: they would tell us what they thought we wanted to hear. So we derive it through regression analysis.
When you ask consumers point blank what is their primary purchase criteria, they will tell you “price”. In reality, price makes them form a “consideration set” of vehicles within a range from which they can choose. When it boils down to it, they end up going with the brand or product that they feel they can trust to deliver that quality they seek.
You are not alone in your reluctance to accept quality as the ultimate determinant. With the exception of Toyota, Honda and Mercedes-Benz, automakers do not like to talk about quality.
From what I can gather, this is normally due to one of two things:
Auto executives are convinced that they already produce a quality product, so there is no point in stating the obvious. I’ve noticed this attitude particularly among European automakers like VW, Fiat and Renault. This was the issue with the relaunch of the Fiat brand in North America. I.e., because our quality is now world-class let’s not talk about it and let’s show sexy women instead. Turns out, perceptions of Canadian and American consumers hadn’t moved one iota since 1983, and they were waiting to hear —and see proof— that Fiat quality had indeed improved. After years of reluctance from Fiat to talk about quality, consumers now believe those horrid quality rankings must be true.
Quality is boring and non-differentiating. This is the attitude prevalent at Chrysler, Nissan, Mitsubishi, among others. So instead of trying to talk to consumers about quality, they rather show tire burnouts, flying cars, parents racing in their Altimas, Rogues and Versas.
Let me illustrate what I mean. Let’s assume that Chrysler Pacifica is indeed the quality turnaround we all have been waiting for. From all the early reviews I’ve read none have run into any quality issues. But do we hear Chrysler talking about quality? Nope. All they want to talk about is bears, raccoons and built-in vacuum cleaners. BTW, automakers just LOVE to talk about features: built-in vacuum cleaners, 9-speed transmissions, rear AC, Apple CarPlay, etc. Oh, and price. Automakers love to talk about price which, ironically, offers the least differentiation. And so they miss the golden opportunity to reassure shoppers that this is a quality product they can trust.
Toyota and Honda unabashedly talk about quality. Toyota is still selling a 10-year old Sienna without a vacuum cleaner or magic seats based on its quality reputation.
Yes, Hyundai quality is much improved, but it can’t stop talking about price! If Kia stays at the top of the quality rankings for another few years, consumers will have no choice but to notice.
If FCA wants to stop this cycle of discounting to sell, it needs to start designing, producing AND talking about quality. When it does, things will finally change.
In other words like Ford used to do? Job one.
Aldo, thanks for the explanation re: your methodology. I HAVE been hearing about the Pacifica quality ranking incessantly on the radio during morning commutes, so at least that is happening.
Yes. But Ford made the message about them, instead of about the customer. Nevertheless, it helped Ford shake off much of the reputation they had for crummy quality.
Subaru has some of the most effective ways of communicating quality without even using the word. They created engaging mini stories that make “quality” emotional, fun and personal, to help consumers internalize the message.
A big chunk of Subaru's phenomenal growth has been coming from Honda and Toyota customers. Subaru in particular shows beat up old Legacys to demonstrate quality. This oblique approach allows an automaker without an established reputation for quality to make the claim credibly.
The problem with most auto ads is that they are all about the manufacturer. Also notice how Subaru refrains from talking about features or price. The aim is to establish trust by addressing the needs of the consumer.
True, and IF the Abarth slides through for another generation I expect power levels to be in the 220-260 range.
Here are a few more examples of how Subaru communicates quality and safety in an emotional way --and without ever talking about features...or price.
Again, the goal is to establish consumer trust.
Subaru also heavily advertises in lifestyle magazines, websites and venues.....kayaking, skiing, hunting, etc. It is firmly in the minds of those who love the outdoors.
Yes. And Subaru is one of the last remaining automakers that still advertises heavily in traditional media, not just digital.
Because digital advertising needs to get to the punchline fast, it has trouble communicating complex messages that require more context. So most digital ads end up talking just about a feature, or price.
And now Ford has decided to jeopardize that reputation of quality by importing the next generation Focus from China, all in the name of saving a buck. So obviously Ford doesn't care about quality anymore, if it ever did.
Imported from Japan meant bad quality once as well.
Good quality is made in China. Apple products are made in China by contract manufacturers. Your televisions and other electronics are made in China.
Good quality is not determined by geography, but by being dedicated to quality at all levels.
For me, Apple products being made in China do not convince me of much. They seem to be getting worse (easier to break) every iteration, despite the price jump.
Change in leadership, hence a change in quality focus.
The POINT is that quality products can come from China.
Indeed. To @Erik Latranyi ’s point, we will need to wait and see what level of quality comes out of China.
Quadratec, a large Jeep Wrangler outfitter, has been importing wheels from China for years and sells them under their in-house brand. I owned a set of them: their lighter weight, their durability and craftsmanship, and the price would make the big name Japanese and German wheel manufacturers blush.
With regards to Ford, quality needs to be part of the corporate culture, not a management initiative. And that’s what makes it so difficult to replicate. For instance, for all the progress Hyundai has made in quality over the years, it continues to operate like the cheap automaker of 30 years ago, especially in the way it treats its employees, its suppliers, its dealers and its customers.
aldo, Ram TV ads in Texas keep pounding "longest lasting trucks in Texas." The last few months I've been mildly surprised. Ram is big in Texas.
Indeed. Domestics have no issue talking about durability when it comes to trucks, and it serves them very well. Keeps everyone else locked out of the segment. But they are not as comfortable talking about dependability when it comes to cars. Or when they do, they don’t sound convincing.
There was this Chevy Malibu ad showing “Real People. Not actors”, saying cr+p that was just hard to swallow. Anyway, it lists a litany of features, including price, but doesn't talk about quality even once.
Bad products are also made in China. Some fail and cause fires (Google GE appliances and fire). Check out the toxic waste embedded in products they sell here. I measured a child's locket that was a giveway at Burger King. It had 15,000 ppm of antimony in it. 60 ppm is the legal limit for exposure. Causes brain damage.
Many ceramics, such as mugs, have a high lead content. I measured 12,000 ppm in the red paint on part of the drinking surface of a mug I was given.
Made in China.
So it's hit or miss. China is nowhere near producing universally good quality products, or safe ones. Recall the melanine in the dog food.
None of those things were the fault of China. They were the fault of manufacturers who did not put in place quality systems to create quality products.
Great products can be produced anywhere by anyone. Crap can be produced anywhere by anyone also.