A true legend has passed. Dave Power had a remarkable impact on the automotive industry, changing it from a manufacturing driven business to one that is consumer centric. Although the traditional Big Three at the time initially balked at the results of early versions of J.D. Power’s Customer Satisfaction and Initial Quality Index, they eventually came on board. Because of it, Detroit can now lay claim to quality and satisfaction levels that rival (and in many cases exceed) their global competitors.
Dave will not only be remembered for his impact on the automotive industry, but his reputation for being a mentor. He was friendly, warm, and engaging with the many associates that worked with him, even fatherly. When I was starting out as a junior analyst, he’d often find his way to my cubicle after hours and we’d have long chats. He was always open to what input I had for him.
I worked for Dave for more than eight years in the 1980s and early 90s, including during the embarrassing Yugo years. We once took an early prototype of the vehicle with a non-functioning air conditioner to a business meeting in Los Angeles during a heatwave in the middle of August. By the time we arrived we were both completely drenched in sweat and realized the car was not waterproof.
I credit Dave for much of my success today. He will be missed, but his positive impact on the automotive industry will endure for decades.