With the introduction of the 1993 Brougham redesign planned for fall 1992. Cadillac is renewing its emphasis on the specialty vehicle market by announcing its Master Coachbuilder Program.
The program was designed to help coachbuilders adhere to government regulations including the federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (MVSS) luxury tax and gas guzzler tax. “If Cadillac and the coachbuilders address the issues together as an alliance we feel a great deal can be accomplished,” says Cas Jasin, assistant manager of coachbuilder activities.
John Grettenberger, general manager, and Pete Gerosa, general sales and service manager, officially launched the new program to group of coachbuilders at Cadillac’s fourth Annual Coachbuilder Conference on December 13, 1991 in Detroit.
Coachbuilders interested in participating will be evaluated by Cadillac’s Program Team in the areas of design and manufacturing practices, quality control, customer satisfaction, and management’s commitment to quality. Those coachbuilders who pass the initial assessment will be awarded Master Coachbuilder status.
“We’re not going to let sales and volume drive our decision making,” says Gerosa. “and we won’t tell the coachbuilder how to manufacture his product. We will identify the kinds of parts and processes we believe will contribute to a quality product and demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.”
As part of the program Cadillac will maintain records on each vehicle produced by a Master Coachbuilder Cadillac also envisions between 150 and 200 regular dealers in key market areas across the country being involved in the program. "The coachbuilders will provide us with information such as wiring diagrams and special parts used. We will make that information available to the dealers involved in the program In addition, the dealers will have special parts on hand like alternator and transmission assemblies. When an operator goes to his Cadillac dealer for service, we want that operator to be in and out in one afternoon instead of three or four days. We recognize that downtime is money for these guys," Jasin adds.
Benefits to Coachbuilders
As a program participant, Master Coachbuilders will be privy to exclusive technical business, and marketing support services. They will have immediate access to design and engineering information and guidelines for areas affected by con version will be provided through telephone hotlines.
In addition access to a technical consortium, GM and GM supplier parts, select Cadillac training programs will be available. Warranty support will also receive special attention as the program is developed.
Also, participating coachbuilders will be eligible for participation in a National Delegate Program comprised of Master Coachbuilder representatives and Cadillac staff. This will be an ongoing program that provides an opportunity for feedback and input about the program.
Assessment Is Extensive
Cadillac's Program Team will be evaluating coachbuilder operations to guarantee they meet certain standards. The Program Team will be examining the processes used by the coachbuilders to ensure standards and results. (See box at the bottom of this article for a full list of areas to be examined.)
The assessment process will take place through the end of June 1992 Coachbuilders who receive Master status will be notified and announced as they qualify. An annual review will determine the coach builders continuation in the program.
“Our ultimate purpose with this program is customer satisfaction,” says Grettenberger. We are dedicated to providing special support for participating coachbuilders so that together can exceed the expectations of the most demanding customers in the limousine market.”
Assessment Covers Many Components
To be qualified as a Cadillac Master Coachbuilder, coach-builders will undergo a site inspection by a Program Team that will evaluate each operation. The different areas that will be looked at include design and manufacturing practices, quality control, customer satisfaction, and management's commitment to quality In all, 32 different areas will be scrutinized by the Program Team Specifically covered are:
DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING PRACTICES:
- Body structure
- Exhaust/heat shields
- Fuel systems
- Seats/seat belts
- Heating, ventilation, A/C
- Weld integrity
- FMVSS requirements
- Weight analysis
- Supplier Quality Assurance
- Change management
- In-process quality control
- Final line sign-off
- Ride testing
- Engineering documentation
- Owner's Manual
- Customer Communication
- Parts and service
MANAGEMENT’S COMMITMENT TO QUALITY:
- Product quality
- Quality training
- Service quality
- Workplace safety
- Coachbuilder compliance