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Chrysler quality effort going to single cases?

by David Zatz on
Chrysler employees enjoy lunch on the lawn at CTC

Chrysler employees enjoyed lunch on the lawn at the Chrysler Technical Center in Auburn Hills, Michigan

Chrysler has intensified its quality effort to the point where every single warranty breakdown is likely to be examined by someone, somewhere, in the company, according to unconfirmed reports from several sources. Each warranty claim is, per these sources, examined to see what the root causes are, with preventive action demanded where feasible.

While there have been mis-steps, and the impact of the effort is likely to be shown as a slow progression upwards in quality charts over the course of years, it appears that the idea of holding up production to get required quality levels has taken root among most managers.

Similar, though possibly less intense, efforts were undertaken before Daimler took over the company in 1998, resulting in higher quality ratings. The effort will likely take several years to reach its maximum impact, if it is sustained, as problems that take a long time to appear will not be encountered for some time yet (e.g., most Neon head gasket failures occurred after 50,000 miles; a change in the head gasket design was implemented around four years after production started).

Although root cause analysis is a common feature in manufacturing, most companies appear to restrict it to common problems, and Chrysler is allegedly using it for all reported failures.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304


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