Perceived Quality in the Automotive Industry

University dissertation from Chalmers University of Technology

Abstract: The supremacy of the automotive manufacturers in the modern world is no longer driven by them achieving a superior manufacturing quality but increasingly depends on the customer’s quality perception. The premium sector of the automotive industry is facing tough international competition. Studies within the automotive industry have identified that the perceived quality has become an important purchase decision factor. In practice, this means that the car manufacturers need to develop products that not only meet their customer’s expectations but also exceed them. It is necessary to close the gap between engineering and customer perceptions of the final product. Under such conditions, design process tasks are difficult in implementation because the evaluation of the perceived quality attributes is often subjective and intuitive rather than objective. The automotive industry demands methods and tools that allow the definition and validation of perceived quality related requirements. Developing methods for objective assessment of the perceived quality attributes is a task with a very high level of complexity. The vehicle itself is a very complex product. This fact leads to the information asymmetry because the actual quality of the product is not always visible to the customer. This thesis is a step towards closing the information asymmetry gap and bringing subjectively assessed perceived quality attributes to the objective side, supported by structured quantification methods. The author reviewed and structured product quality paradigms from the past, defined perceived quality attributes, described their properties regarding the premium automotive sector. The proposed comprehensive perceived quality framework is the major result of the thesis.

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