Sunday, February 12, 2006

Reflections on my Honda's 20th year

I was filling out my personal property tax earlier today and noted the model year of my Honda Civic: 1986. This is my car’s 20th year, though it has only been with me since the spring of 1989. This considerable feat of longevity speaks well of Honda engineering and of the service provided by Brown Arlington Honda service consultant Jeffrey Deemer, who has been my contact throughout.

At a time when one of America’s “big three” is now owned by a German company and the other two are flirting with bankruptcy, it is worth reflecting on the attention to detail and reliability that this durable car embodies.

I never owned a Ford but had several GM vehicles. Every one had quality control and reliability problems. Sometimes, GM was forthcoming in remedying defects, but in many instances, the response fell somewhere on a continuum between indifference and outright duplicity. With one notable exception, my experience with Honda service has been entirely different.

In my opinion the problems Ford and GM are facing have everything to do with quality control, customer service and a failure to unflinchingly adhere to high ethical standards. They have little to do with the high wages and health care costs of their employees.

My 20 year old Honda has lessons to offer GM and Ford senior executives. But I have no expectations at all that they will be willing to learn them.

And when, not without sadness, I must buy a new car, it will be a Honda.


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