Wednesday, June 8, 2011

DAY 25 - A Quality Issue

In my job, I spend a lot of time inside various vehicles. I check their options and look at the quality of their material and workmanship.

Since buying my BMW, I've been noticing things. Today was the day I noticed a lot about the interior quality and material of leather seats.

I was primarily looking at GM models today. These included the Chevrolet Malibu, Impala, HHR, Tahoe, and Traverse. I also got inside a few Cadillacs including a CTS, DTS, SRX, and Escalade. I learned something about the leather seats in these models that I wasn't aware of previously. And it was actually a bit of a shocking surprise. What I learned was that the leather seats in these vehicles are not made like the seats in my BMW.

In the models I examined, the seat back and seating area appears to be leather, or something reasonably similar in appearance. However, the side of the seat bolster is some type of mesh fabric. I was actually very surprised when I noticed it for the first time, and it became an obsession as I went from one model to the next, typically finding the same thing in each one.

I can understand this to some degree in the lower end model HHR, maybe even in the Malibu. But I'm thinking the Impala and ALL of the Cadillac line deserve better. They should spend the money to give the buyer the leather in that area and not cheap out and give them something that's not going to wear nearly as well in the long run. I'm still upset with Mercedes Benz and their obsession with the MB-Tex.

Obviously, GM is in a rebuilding mode since their bailout by the taxpayer, and if they can save a few dollars per vehicle, then I presume that's what they're going to do until things turn around and they become more profitable. This post is by no means meant to be a negative shot at the GM products. It's simply pointing out one of their cost-saving design elements that I find a bit unconventional and, well, actually a little tacky. I really think they could do the right thing with the seats and save the cost of that small amount of leather somewhere else in the manufacturing process. But that's just my opinion.

I'd love to hear yours. I'd especially love to hear from someone at GM who could provide some information and justification for why they're using that cheaper material. If there's a reason other than cost, I'd love to know about it.

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