Monday, March 30, 2009

My Personal Opinion

I know that this might seem like me touting the cars I sell, but watch the video and really listen, and watch the engineers who have been tasked with the responsibility of designing the flagship of Ford Motor Company. These are the unsung and behind the scenes people who go to work every day just wanting to build the best car they can. Notice the age of these people and notice they are not the same age as the management of Ford Motor. They provide a new perspective and mind set that leads to innovation and a better than yesterday attitude.

We the buying public take for granted the great products that Americans produce and allow ourselves to let our opinions become static when it comes to items that are familiar and American. Yet gravitate and buy things that because of the fact that they are foreign must be better in quality and value.

I recently sold Toyota's for a number of years and they are the new General Motors. By this I mean that I watched them do things that were based more in how profitable the car is as opposed to how innovative and cutting edge it is. They reached a pinnacle of reliability and are willing to slowly and purposely not rest on their laurels but slow innovation and stretch out the use of their reputation to maximize profits. Can't fault them for that. This is where competition leads to a better product. My point is that hunger is a basic human trait and in many cases leads to a better product and when a company like Toyota or General Electric reach a point of market dominance they tend to get comfortable and lazy. Maybe that's' our country's problem as well.


P M Prescott said...

You're hitting pretty close to the mark.

greg said...

Of the "Big 3" Ford appears to be in the best shape. Mullally is a manufacturing guy and clearly understands that one of the three main facets of "quality" is creating new standards that the consumer will adopt and expect within a few years. A classic case is power locks and windows. A generation ago, few cars had any such gizmo. Now you can't find a stock model without them. A generation before that, FM Radios and tape players were luxuries.

When everything else is equal, little things matter - a lot!

I think you are absolutely correct that Toyota is stagnant on these sorts of innovations. However, one of the things that has set them apart in the past 40 years is their ability to turn on a dime a get concepts to market years quicker than the US car companies. I wouldn't count them out just yet.

Your last seven words are prescient. Complacency may well be America's biggest sin.