Definition of the term “QUALITY” varies greatly depending on one’s own concept of what is a quality vehicle. It also varied significantly between standards in America vs. those in Italy. Since the Allante’s were for the American market, that gap had to closed. This must begin with the fundamental engineering of the product; it must be engineered to be built right from job one. Engineering standards must be applied as intended in the manufacturing and assembly of parts.This requires a thorough understanding of the engineers’ intent.
Pininfarina was naturally accustomed to building to Italian standards, which included extensive repairing of the product as acceptable. Also, some items such as minor water leaks were tolerated. The attitude I was taught and fostered was that: A QUALITY PRODUCT IS ONE BUILT IN STATION RIGHT THE FIRST TIME….in simple terms, no repair necessary! Also, concerning water leaks I was trained in total dryness – thus: ONE DROP OF WATER ENTERING ANY ALLANTE’ IS TOO MUCH! Well, as Elvis Presley sang, LORD YOU GAVE ME A MOUNTAIN THIS TIME!
Folks, the Allante’ went from bottom to the top in GM Corporate Quality Ratings – ranked first in 1992 & 1993 when production ended. Some of the elements in getting there included: Both Pininfarina & Detroit/Hamtramck had excellent work forces dedicated to excellence in the Allante’…..thus the critical element was there.
Pininfarina initially had to strengthen its quality management. This started with bringing in as Director of Quality one of the most skilled managers I ever encountered, Sig. Renato Bertrandi. Soon after he was on the scene, he & I spoke privately. He stated that he understands what I am targeting to accomplish and he agrees with me, that we can do a great deal of good together, and we did.
Information sharing was key – we kept nothing from employes. They fully assumed the responsibility to control their teams workmanship. Each work group tracked quality in their work area and posted results for all to see. Work group meetings were held regularly, performance was recognized / rewarded. The assembly teams told me it was their responsibility to achieve manufacturing and productivity requirements, not management’s! They truly believed that!
Management brought in resources such as robotic dimensional control, and totally modernizing paint processes to include a “Clean Room” concept which automated prime and finish coat applications. Paint repair went from extreme to extinct. Working with G.M. resources & Pininfarina, the Allante’sl sealing systems were greatly enhanced and earlier Allante’s were retrofitted. Numerous other engineering changes were effectuated.
We also ran dual inspection control/tracking systems (in English & Italian), which included both the G.M. and Pininfarina methodologies. The quality index levels tracked up consistently and reflected the pride of workmanship everyone wanted and the customers demanded.
All motivation is essentially self motivation; management not only can but must establish a work climate in which positive motivation can grow ……and thus job satisfaction and positive results occur. Allante’ reached the pinnacle of G.M. corporate quality ratings because this was accomplished. Allante’ Owners, you have a right to be proud of your Allante’s.
As Bob Klopfer preached, “It’s not just the car, it’s the people” – from the people who built the car to the people who bought the car – our respect & appreciation always. May God bless you all, no matter from where you all are. Cultural differences can be melded, even mountains can be climbed, and together we climbed ours.
Manager – Cadillac di Torino