A few months ago, I ran across the absolute coolest "car site" ever. Got your pencils ready? Make sure they're sharp, because this is a long one: www.thetruthaboutcars.com. The site's run by a certified "car guy," Robert Farago, and focuses on providing its readers with, well, the truth about cars. In other words, stuff that the folks in Detroit, Munich, Tokyo, etc., don't necessarily want you to hear.
Except that on Friday, the site published a piece that GM
And it makes sense. If the best thing GM has going for it is OnStar, then why not play that up? Why not further extend that popularity to all of its brands? After all, one of GM's (admittedly several) big problems is a perception among the car-buying public that its cars aren't terribly well-built. That perception isn't always factual, as reflected in J.D. Power reports that GM's long-term quality actually exceeds the industry average and of rivals Ford
As for how long such perceptions can persist, look at Hyundai, for years synonymous with its Excel -- a car that began disintegrating from the inside out as soon as it left the car lot. Hyundai's actually making good stuff these days. Why, one J.D. Power survey has it tied with Honda
Given its current dire financial straits, GM probably doesn't have 20 years with which to turn its image around. And judging from the stock price, even if GM could last that long, Wall Street wouldn't be interested in waiting around for the recovery. Recognizing that, GM may have hit upon this clever solution: If we don't have time to change the "quality story," let's get people focusing instead on the "safety story."
If the company can succeed in doing that -- and, of course, keep on building decent quality cars -- this company just might succeed in turning the page.
Fool contributor Rich Smithis not a certified "car guy." He still has fond memories of his 1969 GMC Custom pickup, which at last report was still running -- getting about nine gallons to the mile, but running. But he has no position in any of the companies mentioned in this article.
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