Frank Watson III Shares his GM Student Corps Experience

This past May, General Motors introduced a summer program called the GM Student Corps, which gave high school graduates work experience while giving back to the community. A total of 108 Detroit-area students along with 60 GM retirees and 11 GM student interns from the University of Detroit Mercy worked together to complete a variety of community service projects.

Together, the teams refurbished eight Detroit-area parks, planted 425 trees, shrubs and flowers, laid 392 yards of mulch, applied 223 gallons of paint, disposed of 205 bags and 29 dumpsters of plant overgrowth and refuse, distributed 30,000 pounds of food via local hunger organizations and more. The last work day of the nine-week internship was August 22.

Not only did the students build their teamwork and leadership skills, but they also made new friends and lasting memories. Below, Frank Watson III, one of the student participants, shares his experience with the program.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got involved with the Student Corps program.

I currently attend Wayne County Community College, double majoring in nursing and psychology. I’m a recent graduate from Henry Ford High School where I frequently volunteered in the community. Many of the students accepted in the program this summer were chosen after entering a contest. However, because of my volunteer experience, I was lucky enough to have one of my high school advisors recommend me for the opportunity.

How will your experience with the Student Corps help in your future career goals?

My ultimate career goal is to own my own hospital. At first, I didn’t think that this program would have much to do with my future career goals but knew it would be something good to have on my resume. When someone thinks of General Motors, they typically think of cars. However, through the program, I was really able to see how everything ties together and how important it is to know people with different business backgrounds.

There is a lot that goes into owning a hospital – there are legal staff, management and human resources, just to name a few. Being able to develop networking skills to meet and foster relationships with people of different business backgrounds is very important, and I think this experience really taught me that. One of my mentors in the program was even able to introduce me to someone from the Detroit Medical Center to talk with me further about the field I plan to work in some day.

What projects did you work on this summer?

We worked with a variety of organizations and participated in a total of 10 projects. Some of the organizations included the Detroit Parent Network, Forgotten Harvest, Gleaners and FOCUS HOPE. I’ve even been back to some of the places to volunteer on my own.

Our biggest project was the scraping and repainting of a local playground. Since my group graduated from Henry Ford High School, we were able to put our mark on the park by painting it with our school colors. As a result of our work, the community was able to host their first picnic in years – something they weren’t previously able to do because the area was in such bad shape.

Tell me about the mentorship that you received during the program.

We had five mentors in our group, and with the combination of their experience, we were able to learn more about the corporate world and what it takes to be successful in business. We also had a mentor that was an intern from the University of Detroit Mercy, which was really helpful because he could relate really well to us and our transition from high school to college. Our group clicked really well with our mentors.

What was your favorite part of the program?

My favorite part of the program was working together with my group. Even though we had our ups and downs during each of our projects, we were still able to come together as a group and get the job done. Everyone was always willing to come help me with my work and I was willing to help them.

Why is it important to have a program like this?

Not only does Student Corps give work experience to high school students, but it has a really great impact on the community.

I had a completely different idea of what this program was going to be when I started. We all showed up on our first day in full suits and ties and thought we would be sitting at a desk doing paperwork all summer. I quickly realized that the program was going to be much more than that. Not only did it help me build my networking skills and help me make extra summer money, but it was great to see us transform and beautify the city.

I never knew how much GM cared about the community. It was inspirational to see how much the company is giving back and investing in programs like the Student Corps to help redevelop not only the city of Detroit, but the people in it.

Frank recently shared his experience with the program at TEDxDetroit 2013 on October 2.

For more information on the GM Student Corps program, check out the Student Corps site:

General Motors plans to continue the successful program next year and for years to come.

To read the original article, click here.

General Motors Comes Out On Top

Image courtesy of J.D. Power

Image courtesy of J.D. Power

We are always very proud of our product here, but this recognition has brought us an overwhelming sense of accomplishment on the part of our brand. GMC and Chevrolet took the #2 and #5 spots in the top 2013 vehicles in the J.D. Power 2013 IQS, having the ONLY vehicles to have reported less than one problem per new vehicle. Come see why we are proud of our brand and our continuous accomplishments here at Bowman Chevrolet!

Check out this amazing article below or read it in the Automotive News. (to read the original article click here)

DETROIT — General Motors for the first time ranked atop a closely watched survey measuring new-vehicle quality, while Ford Motor Co. continued to be dragged down by its electronic features.

GM placed two brands — GMC and Chevrolet — in the top five of J.D. Power and Associates’ Initial Quality Study released today.

The annual survey, redesigned for its 27th year, measures the number of problems on 2013 cars and light trucks that buyers report after 90 days of ownership. Volkswagen AG’s Porsche unit topped all brands, followed by GMC, Lexus, Infiniti and Chevrolet.

“GM has the best quality of any corporation in the study, the first time it’s been on top,” said David Sargent, vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power and the study’s author. “And GMC and Chevrolet have never finished in the top five before.”

Toyota’s Scion brand, Chrysler’s Fiat unit and Mitsubishi were at the bottom of the rankings. Lexus, Toyota’s luxury brand, had topped the survey in 2012 and 2011.

Almost two-thirds of problems reported on 2013 models were related to design rather than manufacturing defects — things drivers considered not broken but still difficult to understand or operate, Power said.

“The manufacturers have gotten really, really good at building high-quality products,” Sargent said. “Quality now is not just ‘Does it work?’ It’s a matter of how it works and is it simple and enjoyable to operate.”

Results of the study were released today at an Automotive Press Association luncheon in Detroit.

GM’s four brands averaged 98 problems per 100 vehicles, and it was the only automaker with fewer than one problem per new car, passing Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., which tied for second among automakers with 103 problems per 100 models surveyed.

Power said the Lexus LS sedan, which was redesigned for 2013, was the most trouble-free vehicle with 59 problems per 100 vehicles surveyed.

But it was the only Lexus model to top a segment. The brand grabbed the most awards each of the last four years and topped every segment that it competed in just seven years ago.

“They will consider this disappointing,” Sargent said of Toyota and Honda. “Toyota would expect Lexus to be No. 1 and Toyota to be No. 2. That’s their mission. Honda would expect to be in the top five. And they’re not.”

Ford Motor’s Lincoln brand tied the industry average of 113 per 100 vehicles, but with 131 problems per 100, the Ford brand finished No. 27 of 33 ranked marques, the same position as last year.

The Ford C-Max was last among all models studied with 222 manufacturing glitches or design flaws per 100 vehicles, nearly twice the industry average of 113, USA Today reported. The five-passenger crossover is new for 2013 and only available as a hybrid or a plug-in hybrid.

All GM brands finished above industry average. In addition to No. 2 GMC and No. 5 Chevrolet, Cadillac tied for 13th and Buick tied for No. 15.

“Nothing energizes us more than receiving the verification of quality from our customers,” Alicia Boler-Davis, head of global quality and U.S. customer experience for GM, said in a statement.

Porsche, with 80 problems reported per 100 vehicles, finished well ahead of its corporate stablemates, No. 13 Audi and No. 23 Volkswagen.

GMC and Chevrolet were the only nonluxury brands ranked in the top five.

The Acura and Toyota brands tied for No. 6, Honda was eighth and Jaguar ninth. Hyundai, Kia and Mercedes-Benz tied for No. 10.

Power redesigned the study for 2013, after seven years, for several reasons.

Questions about outdated hardware such as cassette players have been updated to include new features such as voice recognition and lane-departure warning.

Power also switched from paper questionnaires to asking randomly selected owners to respond online.

The changes allowed the market research firm to obtain more follow-up details from owners about any problems. The change was requested by automakers surveyed and who pay Power for analysis of the data. Automakers use the study to assess quality and to improve product quality and launches.

“Now we are able to provide massively more information to manufacturers,” Sargent said.

This year’s study is based on responses from 83,000 consumers who bought or leased 2013-model light vehicles. The survey, with 233 questions, was conducted from February to May.

Brands that dropped the most in the survey — Nissan, Ram and Cadillac — were hurt by launches of redesigned or new models, while brands that posted major gains — Smart, Chevrolet, Smart, GMC, Chrysler, VW, Hyundai and Kia — benefited from mostly carryover products, Power said.

While GM has matched Japanese quality, the company has so many new models coming to market that it will be difficult to repeat this year’s success, Sargent said. New and redesigned vehicles tend to have more problems than carry-over models that undergo fewer design, engineering and equipment changes.

GM has 18 new vehicles being introduced this year.

“I think if GM’s No. 1 as a corporation next year, I’ll be surprised and they will be surprised,” Sargent said.

Changing perceptions

GM’s challenge is to maintain its standings as the automaker rolls out new models this year, and to change consumers’ perceptions that haven’t caught up with reality, Sargent added.

And GM must also improve long-term reliability, where Detroit automakers still largely lag Asian rivals.

“If you went out on the street and asked 100 people who has better quality, Chevrolet or Toyota, 90 people would say Toyota,” Sargent said. “The reality is, they’re essentially identical and sort of have been for a few years now. People just don’t give the domestics credit because for 30 years they were laggards. You don’t overcome that reputation easily.”

One major finding is that it’s easier to fix something that’s broken than it is to make customers comfortable with things they find hard to understand or operate.

Customers who reported a manufacturing flaw said it was fixed on the first visit to a dealership 43 percent of the time. But only 13 percent of design-related problems were solved on the first visit.

Sargent said design problems are hard to solve. Some can be avoided by salesmen explaining new features at the time of purchase, and others by software changes. But features that customers don’t understand, find hard to operate or are just inconveniently located in the vehicle are likely to remain a problem for the life of the vehicle.

The two types of problems most commonly reported this year? Voice recognition systems that act up, followed by built-in Bluetooth systems that fail to connect to cell phones or other mobile electronic devices.

Owners want more content, especially technology features, and automakers are trying to provide it, Sargent said.

“Finding the right balance is the trick,” Sargent said.

Ford slump continues

A prime example is the MyFordTouch infotainment system that provides connectivity for Ford owners, but which many operators consider frustrating to use.

Since the technology was introduced, Ford’s ranking in Power’s new-vehicle quality survey has fallen from the top five to No. 27 last year and again this year.

Sargent said Ford has improved the system. But this year all Ford models offer it instead of only certain vehicles, offsetting any gains from improvements.

“Ford is probably at its low point,” Sargent said. “As we go forward, the improvements they’re making to their technology will offset the fact that it’s in more vehicles. We’ll probably see Ford start to rise, particularly as we see some of the others introduce their versions of the technology.”

GM’s rise to the top on quality showed up in the new-vehicle awards for best quality in 23 specific car and light truck segments. Chevrolet won five awards, while Mazda, Kia and Porsche, with two each, were the only other multiple winners.

Buick, Cadillac and GMC also won quality awards in product segments, giving GM eight wins. Hyundai-Kia won three, the only other automaker with more than two.

Sargent said GM has risen to the top because of a relentless focus on quality for several years.

“GM is as obsessed with quality as Toyota and Honda were as they made their moves,” he said. “It’s like a mission. They’re just rabid about quality.”

Announcing General Motors Nieces and Nephews Program

Image courtesy of photostock at

Image courtesy of photostock at

The General Motors Vehicle Purchase Programs provide eligible Participants residing in the United States with the opportunity to purchase/lease new and unused GM vehicles at The Programs’ prices. Leasing arrangements can be made through any financial institution.

By purchasing a vehicle through The Programs, both the eligible GM Participant and the sponsored purchaser acknowledge the Rules and Guidelines attached below and agree to abide by them.

It is the responsibility of the Participant to know the rules of The Programs as set forth in the attached document and to make them known to their sponsored purchases.

If you have any questions please call the Bowman Chevrolet Showroom at (885) 564-4174 or stop by for a visit 6750 Dixie Hwy, Clarkston, MI 48346.

Download the brochure here: 4-4-13 Nieces and Nephews – Program Rules