The goal, according to the News, is to zoom past rival Nissan Motor Co. in quality for the first time.
GM finished a strong fourth in J.D. Power and Associate's closely watched survey on initial quality with 1.46 problems per 2001 vehicle, just below Nissan, with 1.45 problems per vehicle.
GM's annual bonuses are calculated by meeting quality, profit and U.S. market share targets.
For 2002, GM hopes to boost its quality score by a certain amount in the J.D. Power rankings. That amount remains undisclosed, but GM executives feel it will be enough to top Nissan, the News reports.
"We beat Nissan, we get paid," said Ronald Zarrella, GM's North American operations chief.
GM has steadily improved quality, relying on streamlined product development and engineering, productivity gains and manufacturing improvements.
"This is the awakening of the 800-pound gorilla that all of their competitors have dreaded for years," said Jim Sanfilippo of Automotive Marketing Consultants Inc. in Warren.
Last year, Zarrella stepped up GM's quality efforts in North America by appointing a new executive, vice-president Kent Sears, and eight "process guardians," dedicated full-time to improving the automaker's quality. GM calls the initiative "Quality as a Value."
"We're making a lot more progress than people thought we would when we started," Zarrella said.
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eral Motors Corp. is tying a portion of its 2002 management bonuses to meeting aggressive new quality targets, the Detroit News reports.