The Number One Obstacle Facing The Detroit Automakers: Their Image

I can remember when it was considered un-American to drive a foreign automobile.  Today, it’s the other way around.   Many car buyers in their 20s and 30s won’t even consider buying an American car.   In addition, many of the car buyers in their 40s, 50s and 60s, who used to buy American cars, have come around to that same mind set.  I was on a radio talk show last week and I was somewhat amazed when caller after caller adamantly stated that they would never buy another American car.  When I asked why, I got some of the following answers:  “I’ve got 240,000 miles on my Honda and it still runs great!”  “The only time I take my Toyota to the dealership is for regularly scheduled servicing, when I owned my last Chevy it seemed like I was there every other week for repairs!” 

As far as most Americans are concerned, American cars break down more often and don’t last as long as Japanese cars and the data from surveys bears this out.  According to Susan Helper, an economist from Case Western Reserve University, this is why Detroit’s cars, even though they are consistently priced $2,000 to $3,000 below their Japanese equivalents, continue to lose market share.  This is a serious problem that the Detroit automakers must deal with if they expect to have any chance at all for long term survival and it starts with making Consumer Reports a top priority.

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About Ross Reck

Who am I? I am the author of The Engagement Formula, Turning Your Customers into Your Sales Force, The X-Factor and my popular weekly newsletter: Ross Reck’s Weekly Reminder. I'm also the coauthor of Instant Turnaround!, REVVED! and the best selling The Win-Win Negotiator. I've also spoken at hundreds of meetings, conferences and conventions throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia. My consulting clients include Hewlett-Packard, John Deere, American Express, Janssen-Ortho, Inc., Shire Pharmaceuticals, Philip Morris International, the Chicago Cubs, Rolls-Royce and Xerox. I received my Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1977. From 1975 to 1985 I served a Professor of Management at Arizona State University. During my career at ASU I was the only two-time recipient of the prestigious “Teaching Excellence in Continuing Education” award and was identified by the university as an “Outstanding Teacher.” In 1985 I left my position at ASU to search full-time for a new "Management Model" to replace the current model with it's emphasis on authority, control and formal communication channels. Last February, I found it (it's actually a leadership model) and it's featured in my new book, The Engagement Formula: Three Simple Steps that Guarantee Full Employee Engagement.

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