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Good for them. I like seeing stuff like that. I am tired of hearing "Toyota is top quality. Japanese cars are top quality."

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After recording a 20-percent drop in warranty costs on its 2002 models, Chrysler is seeing early indications of a decline of “the same magnitude,” according to the automaker’s and chief operating officer, Wolfgang Bernhard.

That’s paying off in a variety of ways, the German executive tells TheCarConnection. It’s money that goes to the bottom line, of course, but it also translates into higher residuals and improved loyalty, among other things. “It’s everything,” declares Bernhard. “Quality is the foundation of our business.”

The Chrysler COO accepts that quality problems, as much as increased competition, have eaten into the automaker’s once unchallengeable lock on the minivan market, though he insists the worst problems are now long behind. Bernhard stresses that Chrysler couldn’t achieve its quality goals without the help of its suppliers. But he has some harsh words for parts makers, too, complaining they all too often “ship us crap and send the nice stuff to Toyota,” especially when it comes to interior components. Bernhard has little sympathy for those who believe automakers like Chrysler are pressing too hard for cost concessions. “Reducing costs has been a part of (the industry’s) history. So we have to continue to push. We have to work hard together. There’s no way to escape that pressure.” —Paul A. Eisenstein

Gabriel,
2001 CL Type S
2001 Lexus RX300 Silversport
 
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