customer satisfaction

Cuzztomer Zatizfaction

from Safety Fast! 

M.G.s to America

In the April issue of Safety Fast!, the article "First Steps Across The Pond" looked at the post-war impact of M.G. cars on the USA market. The TC, in particular, was a tremendous success, both on and off the race track. This line of achievement was set to continue throughout the next decades with the TD, TF, MGA, MGB and MGC. Further accolades with the record-breaking teams, sustained the image of an M.G. being a very special sports car.  

By the late 1950s, M.G.s were accepted everywhere, but saloon models did not readily fit into the ‘sporting’ classes, and thus did not fare so well. In this follow-up, we hear from an American customer who was keen to get involved with the ‘Abingdon experience’.  
In the Mid-Western part of the United States (and perhaps in other parts of the country as well) there is a commonly held belief that dealers in non-American cars are interested in only one thing; selling their cars, and thereafter consigning the customer to the nethermost regions in the event he seeks "service after sales". From personal experience, I can vouch that that indictment is partly true. 

So it was with considerable misgivings that I set out to buy an M.G. Magnette. Having been somewhat disillusioned by a lack of courtesy on the part of certain Chicago car dealers, I shopped in the suburbs. One would think that suburban dealers would be eager to sell a British car rather than "Detroit iron" - that’s what I thought anyway. 

One dealer promised to send me the desired information in a couple of days. I gave him both home and office addresses and telephone numbers. He could see for himself that I was no curiosity-seeking young punk collecting catalogues for a hot-rod museum.  

A couple of days stretched to infinity - no word from the dealer. I decided to hunt through
the suburban telephone book and make a few calls. I drew two of three blanks before
unearthing an alert dealer and an intelligent, helpful salesman. I explained my wants and the car I had to offer as a trade-in, then drove to his showroom for a swift and accurate appraisal of my car. Furthermore, they had an M.G. Magnette - it was "on the water" en route from the factory - black with maroon upholstery. I ordered a radio and fender mirrors, gave the salesman a list of details to be checked, made a deposit and that was that - simple and painless. 

Within the promised time, I had a telephone call that the car was just about ready, completely checked, everything installed and shipshape. However, did I want it to be undercoated and "Winterized"? YES I DID. Alright, that would be done before delivery. 

All this efficiency sounded too good to be true and so utterly different to the behaviour I had experienced before. Therefore, I had my ‘doubting Thomas’ attitude when my wife and I drove to the suburb on the appointed morning. I was prepared to resist the ‘fast push’ stubbornly. At resistance, I am quite a professional.  

However, it was not necessary. The salesman did not just tell me that everything had been done, he showed me, and insisted on my checking it all for myself. We looked under the bonnet, checked the radiator, oil and battery (for I had had a sad experience once before with a new car and a dry battery). The engine gleamed like a five-shilling watch. We opened the boot - tools all present and correct - spare tyre properly inflated, as were all of the tyres. Doors and locks functioned correctly. We tested all the controls, examined the coachwork, upholstery, interior and exterior trim. Everything was A1 in all details - the manual, warranty and various other papers were ready for processing. 

Then, by way of promoting good customer relations, the dealer took photographs as the salesman handed over the keys to the customer. One minute later, he handed me the finished print - and here it is! (see right).  

We were introduced to the Service Manager (a most important person in my opinion), the Sales Manager and several mechanics. Extra sets of keys were given to us at no charge. Then the salesman drove us to the filling station and the petrol tank was filled "with our compliments and hoping you have lots of happy motoring with your new M.G.".  

Little things - but the aggregate of a number, such as delivery promise kept, car checked in detail as promised, extras correctly installed, car immaculate inside and out, every control and accessory functioning and in place, picture taking, free tank of petrol . . . . .the whole transaction adds up to that important commercial asset known as ‘Customer Satisfaction’, which is important. 
A satisfied customer spreads the word just as surely as does a disgruntled, rudely-treated one. I am indeed glad to spread the word on behalf of Imperial Motors Inc., 721 Green Bay Road, Wilmette, Illinois, and for their excellent salesman Sid Jacobs, who keeps his word and sends the customer on his way feeling glad that he did business there.  

That’s all very fine, and sounds like a nice recommendation for an honest dealer, which it is, but what about the car?? Does it perform according to the manufacturer’s promises? Well, we have driven it nearly 1,400 miles in and around Chicago, in Wintery weather with the temperature well below freezing. There is never any trouble in starting, even after the car has been standing in the cold for hours. We give it extra time to warm up thoroughly of course, and that in turn means using more petrol "getting nowhere" than under more normal weather conditions. Even then, we have averaged 26.4 miles per gallon (American) 31.7 miles per gallon (Imperial) since we bought the car, and that is good since city driving in Winter is not conducive to economy in fuel. The brakes are excellent and reassuring on slippery or icy roads - I’ve tried them!!  
There has been no opportunity to try it out for speed, and it is still somewhat new, but an honest 84mph I can vouch for, and it ‘sat down’ to the road most reassuringly.  

Has the car any faults? - it has, but they are not important. The tracks on which the front seats move back and forth, have sharp metal corners, which snag stockings. They need to be smoothed and covered with tape. All doors lock, except the driver’s and he would need to lock it from the outside to close himself in. Surely, a push forward type of handle lock could have been included on that door also? There are steering column vibrations which defy elimination, so one slaps the centre of the steering wheel assembly and learns to live with the buzz!  

All in all, the M.G. Magnette is a wonderful little car. I use the word ‘little’ in comparison to the highly-finned, stretched-out, souped-up cars now coming from Detroit - and we, my wife and I, like it and look forward to better driving conditions when we can go further afield with our "MariGold".  
Robin Douglas
from Autocar June 27 1958