Nothing stays the same. In the case of the automotive industry, change has brought about many new safety features, but a change of attitude has also negatively impacted the industry. From the time a consumer purchases a car and drives it off the lot, to having it serviced and maintained, changes in craftsmanship, pride and urgency have brought about the end of an era.
Gone are the days where pride was taken. Cars are manufactured in large quantities by machines. The personal touch is missing. Cars are mass produced using robots and assembly lines; and yes people, but they aren’t boasting how they built that car anymore. Maybe they turned the wrench or pushed a button or made a spot weld; but they didn’t build it the way they used to.
Vehicles have changed over the years from the heavy metal tanks they once were that made them virtually indestructible, to the fiber glass, aluminum and light bodied vehicles that are now made to barely last the term of the car loan.
Lesser quality parts are used, tires fail, inferior parts wear out quicker; generally, you can’t count on your car being the best that it can be. Too much is sometimes put into making it more affordable and you only get better quality if you pay for extra options and upgrades at the sale.
You have only to read the paper or listen to the news to get an idea of the industry. Visit the website of the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), an office within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to get an idea of the state of the car industry. You can search for recalls and defect investigations. In just the month of June, 2010, there were recalls for certain models of the BRP Spyder, certain models of BMW SAV passenger vehicles, certain model year 2007 Chrysler Dodge Caliber and Jeep Compass vehicles, certain models of 2006 through 2010 Chrysler Jeep Wranglers, certain models of GM Buick Lucerne, Cadillac DTS, Hummer H2, Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Avalanche and the list continues on for a while.
Even a small trip to the gas station used to showcase the importance of the customer and their car. Full-service was the standard; now an eye towards increasing profits has us pumping our own gas at automated pumps so we never have to even see a gas station employee.
Unfortunately, my experience as an auto parts specialist has revealed that many salesman have no sense of urgency when providing you with the parts you need or in getting them to the mechanics in a timely manner. Mechanics let the smaller jobs sit while working on the high dollar jobs.
Overall, the work ethic in all areas of the automotive industry isn’t what it used to be and the consumer is suffering the consequences in the long run. The customer should be the most important thing. Each one should feel like they are the most important customer you have and through timely service, attention to detail and premium attention, customer loyalty would come back up and faith would be restored in the industry as a whole.
Office of Defects Investigation Website