GM had 14 top-three performing vehicles, including three that were ranked first in their segments, and two GM assembly plants received Gold and Silver Awards in initial quality for North and South America, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2003 Initial Quality StudySM.
"All of these gains came while 44 percent of GM's production volume was in launch," said Gary L. Cowger, president of GM North America. "It was risky and ambitious to launch such a high volume of vehicles, but it was also necessary in our successful bid to increase market share and profitability.
"Our employees, suppliers and dealers should be proud of their efforts, but also should know that we need to step up to the competitive challenges facing us in 2003 and beyond to attain our goal of becoming the industry's quality leader."
The J.D. Power and Associates study measures the number of problems consumers experience during the first 90 days of vehicle ownership. The study results also are used by many consumers when making a decision on what make and model of vehicle to purchase.
Consumers recognized a number of GM products and the facilities in which they are made.
Segment awards include Chevrolet Malibu for Entry Midsize Car, Chevrolet Suburban for Full-size SUV and Oldsmobile Silhouette for Compact Van.
Second-place finishers include Cadillac CTS for Entry Luxury Car, Chevrolet Impala for Premium Midsize Car, Buick LeSabre for Full-size Car, Chevrolet Silverado LD for Full-size Pickup and Chevrolet Tahoe for Full-size SUV.
Third-place finishers include Pontiac Grand Am for Entry Midsize Car, Buick Regal and Chevrolet Monte Carlo (tied) for Premium Midsize Car, Pontiac Bonneville for Full-size Car, Cadillac DeVille for Mid Luxury Car and GMC Yukon for Full-size SUV.
Cadillac placed second and Buick placed fifth among all vehicle nameplates in initial quality.
Plant award recipients include Oshawa 1, which makes the Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo and Lansing Grand River, which makes the Cadillac CTS. They received the Gold and Silver awards respectively for plants in North and South America.
Aside from the J.D. Power and Associates honors, the best story is that of the launches, Cowger said. "No other manufacturer has attempted as many simultaneous launches involving as many plants as we have in a single year," he said.
Additionally, history shows that a manufacturer has never improved its overall initial quality while launching as many vehicles as GM did last year.
In 2002, GM launched 21 vehicles at 18 plants, accounting for 44 percent of its production volume. This year, GM will launch 16 vehicles at 13 plants, accounting for approximately 40 percent of production volume. A launch is defined by either the introduction of a new vehicle or major changes to an existing product. Changes to existing products can be visible to consumers, such as the enhancement of a vehicle's interior, or invisible to a consumer, such as the installation of a new electrical system.
In total, GM's launches netted 25,000 additional vehicles and $400 million in additional sales revenue, helping the company increase market share for the second year in a row.
GM's launch story came together in the last two years after the convergence of its car and truck operations. That allowed for the creation of a common launch process that is now being incorporated in all regions of the world. Every vehicle program goes through the same process. Additionally, plants in launch provide representatives for a launch team so manufacturing can provide direct input to the engineers.
(May 6, 2003)