Presidential Task Force on Automobiles Falls Into the Perception Gap

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
presidential task force on automobiles falls into the perception gap

GM is so screwed. We are so screwed. On the occasion of Old GM’s judicial death sentence, Steve Rattner offered an instant analysis of what New GM needs to do to survive: eliminate the perception gap. “There’s often a lag between perception and reality,” the head of the Presidential Task Force on Automobiles (PTFOA) told jobbing journos. Automotive News [sub] puts it this way: “General Motors must convince consumers that the quality of its vehicles has improved to stop a decline in U.S. market share and survive after bankruptcy, a senior Obama administration official said. Steve Rattner, the head of the Treasury Department’s auto task force, said the quality of GM vehicles has improved, citing the Chevrolet Malibu as an example. But he added that consumers have to be made aware.”

1. Malibu schmalibu. In general, General Motors’ vehicles are still not as well-built as its class-leading competition. Check any long-term survey of quality, reliability, warranty claims, etc. Consumer Reports reports: “The reliability of many models still falls short.”

2. the “perception gap” is simply GM customers way of saying “we won’t get fooled again.” Do NOT accuse them of being stupid, however obliquely.

3. A comprehensive warranty is the single best way to eliminate this issue. So . . . where is it?

4. It’s not all about quality. Quality—a slippery term even amongst the carnoscenti—is a given in the auto industry these days. What’s needed here is branding. A relentless focus on a given brand’s unique selling point. For example, Audi’s haven’t been reliable since, uh . . . And yet they’re the up and coming luxury brand.

5. Rattner’s repetition of Detroit’s favorite meme is a bad, bad thing. He’s gone native.

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2 of 28 comments
  • Bunter1 Bunter1 on Jul 09, 2009

    "He’s gone native." Bullseye, RF. You can't change a culture by adopting it. Once President Goodwrench finds continued support of GM is a political liability C7 will be just around the corner. Sad. Bunter

  • RetardedSparks RetardedSparks on Jul 09, 2009

    If you've been batting .250 and want to get your average to .300, you can bat .299 forever and you won't get there. Can GM bat .400 for a few years straight? Doubt it.

  • Tassos VW's EV program losses have already been horrific, and with (guess, Caveman!) the Berlin-Brandenburg Gigafactory growing with leaps and bounds, the future was already quite grim for VW and the VW Group.THis shutdown will not be so temporary.The German Government may have to reach in its deep pockets, no matter how much it hates to spend $, and bail it out."too big to fail"?
  • Billccm I had a 1980 TC3 Horizon and that car was as reliable as the sun. Underappreciated for sure.
  • Inside Looking Out I did not notice, did they mention climate change? How they are going to fight climate change, racism and gender discrimination. I mean collective Big 3.
  • Lou_BC I'm not too picky about gloves. If I'm concerned about heavy oil or grease contamination, I'll donn nitrile gloves. Heavier work and I'll use "old school" leather gloves, fake leather, synthetic or whatever is available.
  • Dusterdude Getting the popcorn ready . May be a good plan for strikers to make sure they own good winter jackets for future pickets .