Perception of Quality Worth Billions in Auto Business

Detroit's Big Three battling to improve both product and perception

Published: 08-Jan-2004

The biggest, most unpredictable challenge before Detroit's automakers is to change the perception that their cars and trucks are second-best, even if they may not be.

General Motors Corp. is closing the quality gap with industry leader Toyota Motor Corp. and is launching some of the finest products GM has ever built. But obscuring that is GM's 2003 market-share slide after two years of gains and the aggressive incentives the automaker is heaping on its lineup.

Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group are improving their manufacturing productivity at a faster rate than Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co., and are upping the pace of their planned product introductions and, in Ford's case, boosting spending on cars and trucks.

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