I am geek who loves to get to the bottom of myths and legends, as well as claims by auto makers in commercials. After watching several television commercials by a certain automaker bragging about earning more J.D. Power Initial Quality awards than any other brand, I decided to do a little research. Should I really be impressed by all these awards? What exactly do they measure?
The first point is the numbers game. Claiming that your brand has more J.D. Power Initial Quality awards than any other brand has do with the number of models that you sell. Chevy has the most models on the J.D. Power Initial Quality awards list, but Chevy also produces a large number of models when you look at their line of cars and trucks. On the long list of 2016 Initial Quality Ratings I was surprised to see models such as the Hyundai Accent, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Azera, and Kia Soul on the list, all made by the Hyundai Motor Company.
The other issue with the automaker bragging is the value of measuring initial quality. The definition of initial quality is defined as problems experienced by vehicle owners during the first 90 days of ownership. The first 90 days, that's not a long period of time. I am pretty happy with my 2008 Mercury Milan, 9 years and 185,000 miles later, and I have never had a major problem. Seems like quality should be measured in larger increments than 90 days. Studies skewed by modern technology
J.D. Power has two major areas for automobiles, the annual Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) and Initial Quality Study (IQS). I thought I would dig deeper and look for the longer term dependability ratings. Instead of finding more answers, my search raised many questions of the value of their dependability ratings.
As we created the Geek History website, some topics were a natural, such as the history of the internet and modern electronics at silicon valley. But as we studied Thomas Edison our research became more intertwined with Henry Ford and the automotive industry. we saw that the exploration of automotive innovation and invention was a natural extension of our Geek History website.
At Geek History we give credit to the genius and hard work of the great geeks like Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Henry Ford is heralded as one of the founding fathers of the automotive industry and Thomas Edison is praised as the prolific inventor known as the wizard of Menlo Park.
In the world of industrial age technology we look at the often forgotten geeks such as George Westinghouse, who brought electricity to our homes, and Reginald Fessenden, who developed modern radio. We study their contributions to the world.
Much in the same sense that Westinghouse and Fessenden are the forgotten geeks in the shadows of the celebrated Thomas Edison, our study of the automotive industry revealed that Ransom Eli Olds was an often forgotten geek in the shadows of the more well-known Henry Ford. While Henry Ford deserves a lot of credit for creating the Ford Motor Company and the Model T Ford, we learned a lot about the automotive industry and want to mention that Ransom Eli Olds needs to be remembered as well for his invention and innovation in the early twentieth century.