Marc Trahan, EVP of group quality, overseeing VW and Audi, claims that they've seen a more than 50% reduction in warranty claim rates since 2007.
Is any of this reflected in JD Power's IQS?
"You will. We haven't gotten there yet, which is kind of frustrating. IQS is a different animal, and it's about to get even more complex because it's going to add another big shift towards the design quality and away from the traditional defect-and-malfunction. You will see big movement this year, because of the work we've put in place the last few years.
Some carmakers have had difficulty because of their electronic interfaces.
"It not so much about the layers of functionality, because people want that today. People want this functionality but it has to be simple, intuitive, and easy to figure out. That's what we're working all the time with. For the MQB--the next-generation A7, the new Golf, that whole architecture--has a completely new HMI [human-machine interface] for the radio, the instrument cluster, the navigation system. We've been working with JD Power and other consultants to make sure that's as simple and intuitive as can be."
Have you had any teething issues with quality on the new plant in Chattanooga?
"Sure, we had issues, but we kept them internal, we didn't ship the cars. You can't avoid that with a new startup. We identified them, we addressed them, we fixed them."