Thursday, March 20, 2008

Who Wants Change?

To change, to be at the forefront of change-- the new in business or art-- a city has to want to accept the risks which come with change. It has to want to be the best. It needs a nothing-to-lose attitude.

What I see from the media in Detroit is not the desire to change, but its opposite.

For instance: an article in the Detroit News, February 29. Front page. Headline: "GM, Ford reliability improves."

Look closer and you see that the two companies are still behind foreign automakers in quality and reliability, according to Consumer Reports. The News said, "--Asian automakers continued to dominate the magazine's best-in-class and overall rankings."

In fact, only 64% of Ford vehicles were recommended, as opposed to Honda's 100%. GM was at 30%. GM and Ford ranked ahead of only one foreign automaker, Suzuki. Chrysler, meanwhile, was dead last, tied with Suzuki at 14%.

Improvement, according to some, no matter how incremental, is improvement. The U.S. automakers are closing the quality gap, and have been closing it for thirty years. They're like the greyhounds chasing rabbits at the dog track who never catch up.

Incremental change is no change at all. Yet the Detroit area continues to think in terms of increments, when an entirely different mindset is called for.

The question remains: Who wants change?

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