Operating in the premium segment of the market, Volvo Cars targets customers with high expectations. Quality is a Volvo core value and all of our quality activities are designed to ensure satisfied customers. To become No. 1 in customer satisfaction is also one of our most important long-term goals.
The combination of high-quality cars and high-class customer care over the entire period of ownership is decisive to the achievement of our quality goals. For this reason, our quality improvement programmes cover the entire product chain from manufacture to sales and aftermarket service. We carry out worldwide surveys of our customers and their needs to improve our knowledge of the market. And for the last year or so, we have been using an improved method of ‘recycling' our customers' experience of their cars and applying it directly to our operations.
The gate system is one decisive factor in ensuring quality in the product development process. In this system, certain conditions must be fulfilled before each successive step in a new car project can be taken. Exhaustive checks are carried out during production to ensure that defects are corrected before the car leaves the plant. By the time the car is delivered to the customer, it has also undergone predelivery inspection by the dealer in accordance with a standard checklist.
Consumer Driven Six Sigma is used to fine-tune the company's internal processes. This is a way of improving our working procedures - both globally and locally - throughout the value chain, in areas such as product development, purchasing, manufacture, sales and service. By the end of 2006, about 8,000 of our staff had been trained in Six Sigma - a method that helps to produce good results in the form of both increased customer satisfaction and financial savings.
Supported by cross-functional teamwork involving specialists from different areas - such as purchasing, engineering and production - the Six Sigma method is an important element of our quality programmes.
All new car purchases are monitored through our ‘Customer For Life' survey to keep up-to-the-minute track of customer satisfaction levels. Other important quality indicators are the Ford Motor Company's GQRS (Global Quality Research System), which is used to monitor production quality continuously, and a series of independent surveys carried out around the world. In 2006, Volvo Cars achieved an improvement in product quality above the world average for the car industry. In sales and service, we now have maintained a very high level of customer satisfaction for several years according to independent surveys.
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