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Have you noticed that Ford ads on TV keep stressing how greath their quality is? Is it because they believe that if you hear something enough times you will believe it, as in brainwashing? Ford has not hit on the quality drum for some time now. Maybe because they are trying to convince themselves. It reminds me of the 70s when I worked at their largest transmission plant (in fact it was the largest automatic transmission plant in the world). That was when cars were jumping out of park and into reverse and runnion over people getting stuff out of the trunk. 200 people were killed, 1400 injured, and Ford became the only corporation in American History to be charged with reckless homicide. I think that was when their marketing people got the idea that if they hammered on quality enough, like Chinese water torture, people would ignore the largest recall in automotive history (23,000,000 Fords with defective transmissions). Remember “At Ford Quality Is Job One?” and “Nobody Sweats The Details Like Ford” and “Have You Driven A Ford…..Lately?”. I guess that last one was for people who got stung and Ford wanted to convince them that “O.K. we sold you a lemon before, but try us now because we are better” That is why I wrote “A Savage Factory – Eyewitness to the auto industry’s self destruction” Everybody talks about “bad Quality” But what the heck does it mean? My book gives a long, hard look behind the dirty grey walls of auto plants and shows you exactly how the quality got so bad.
The Big Three lost our auto industry in the factories where the cars were built. The loss of market share to foreign car companies had nothin to do with fuel efficiency or design, and everything to do with the low quality that we produced in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. An entire generation of car buyers lost confidence and trust in Detroit, and that open opened the door for the imports. Now they want our tax money to bail them out of decades of bad management.
We did not lose our auto industry because the cars were poorly designed or the fuel efficiency was bad. We lost our most important manufacturing industry because for about 20 years we built very poor quality vehicles. An entire generation of car buyers lost trust and confidence in the quality of American cars. They looked elsewhere for reliable cars, and that opened the door for Toyota, VW, Nissan, Honda, and others to come into our market with better built, more reliable vehicles. These companies were smaller, weaker, and less experienced than the Big Three. Yet they gained market share, while the Big Three lost market share. Even though today American cars are built as well as the foreign cars, people do not trust American quality. “A Savage Factory” is my personal memoir of working as a first line supervisor at Ford’s Sharonville Transmission Plant. During my years at Ford 200 people were killed when transmissions jumped from park into reverse, and 1400 people were injured, and Ford received the largest recall in auto history for defective transmissions. It also became the only corporation in history to be charged with reckless homicide. Now GM and Chrysler, managed exactly the same as Ford, whines for taxpayer money to stay in business. There will never be a more wasteful use of tax dollars than to give it to companies that have driven themselves into bankruptcy.