Dave Power, also known as J.D. Power III, started his own company in 1968. The idea was born during an evening spent with some of his friends from Wharton School. His dreams became so strong he considered leaving his stable employment and later discussed the prospect with his wife, Julie. And, the rest is history as they often say.
J.D. Power and Associates became a company well known and highly respected for its customer satisfaction research that served the automobile industry extensively over the years. As chronicled in a new book, Power: How J.D. Power III Became the Auto Industry’s Adviser, Confessor and Eyewitness to History by Sarah Morgans and Bill Thorness, Power’s first experience with the auto industry world came during research for his MBA studies.
The authors write, “Toward the end of his MBA studies, Dave had his first professional involvement with the industry he was to serve. He was on a team of students responsible for analyzing American Motors Company (AMC) and what the automaker needed to do to make its Rambler a viable competitor in a U.S. car market dominated by the Big Three (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler).”
From there, Power went on to his first job as a Ford tractor sales auditor and didn’t stop until he became a well-known industry leader. He and his company seem to have had something to report about every car maker and most of the models to ever be driven on the road. This book is an exciting look at his career, his company and the competitive world of car manufacturing.
While his company eventually worked with most of the car manufacturers at one time or another, one of the first car companies he worked with was Toyota. He started by researching some of the forklift trucks Toyota was manufacturing. The authors write, “In 1968, Toyota’s entire U.S. presence was composed of about twenty people, including an advertising manager Dave knew was the most direct route to getting a market research contract. But now he thought he just might have another entrée into Toyota.”
The story goes onto say that Power went to the executive in charge of forklift production and told him he knew more about forklifts than anyone else in California because of his background working with Ford Tractor. It worked. He ended up in a long term business relationship with the company.
The authors write, “During its early years, J.D. Power and Associates completed dozens of market studies that helped Toyota penetrate the American market and build a robust, well-disciplined dealer network.”
Power told the authors, “By 197 Toyota represented 75 percent of our volume, 100 percent of our profit, and 150 percent of my time.”
This book is a story of the important career of one man and how he has shaped the realm of researching and reporting customer satisfaction on a number of different fronts but mostly for the auto industry. It is also a book about a number of different cars from just about every manufacturer you can think, and it spans decades of debacles and successes.
For a business professional reading this book, they’ll be thrilled with the details of Power’s successful rise to becoming one of the most well known business names of the past several decades. For car enthusiasts, it is a story of the behind the public scenes of the different car models were perceived over the years.
The topic is interesting; the history is compelling; and the book is well written and worth a good read.Powered by Sidelines