Quality Management


Sir Clive Sinclair toyed with the Idea of electric vehicles since his childhood. The Sinclair C5 was his invention, and he launched it in the United Kingdom on 10-th January, 1985.  The vehicle had a unique property of using energy from a battery. After the manufacture of this vehicle, the sales that followed were promising and highly motivating. The top speed of this vehicle was 15 miles per hour, which is the highest speed allowed in UK without a driving License. However, the C5 later reduced its sales and this product faced a formidable deal of ridicule in the United Kingdom. It was so challenging for manufacturers to face this frustration, which to them was unexpected. The failure was because of technical and managerial reasons related to the quality management and designing of this vehicle. This paper has discussed these issues with respect to the Sinclair case study.

Quality Management Concept and Sinclair C5

Critical analysis on the possible managerial methods to identify the problems that these manufacturers faced during their quality managements of this product are necessary to look and consider. Also, solutions to the problems with the use of techniques by the quality managerial are essential in order to understand the factors that usually surround the quality management tasks at any given time. Quality management tools to monitor, improve and analyze the manufacturing process have also been featured with respect to the case of Sinclair C5 (Hoyle 2012). These tools include Quality assurance, Quality control. The main idea is that the Sinclair should have performed better if only quality management tasks were incorporated during the production and manufacture of this vehicle.

The Sinclair C5 also failed because the Original concept of its working was not fully developed at that time. At that time, scientific inventions in the field of physics had not been developed as well as a strong enough battery with the strength of propelling a light weight vehicle. The battery they used contributed to one third of the vehicle’s total weight and could be charged for long hours. This battery also discharged extremely fast sometimes as soon as only one day. This made the vehicle unpopular since the people require a vehicle that is convenient for them to use it for travelling without any fear of losing energy. The Sinclair C5 also lacked popularity because it had a poorly effective horn and the level of the driver seat could not enhance the driver to successfully see the traffic ahead. When the driver reached at the hills, its poor battery powered engine had to be backed up by peddles.  This is tiresome, and as a result, the Sinclair C5 proved lost popularity and suffered crisis.

There was a remarkable relationship between the quality of the Sinclair C5 and its quality cost, since the manufacturing of this vehicle did not cost Clive a lot of money because it had uncomplicated specifications. For instance, the quality of this vehicle’s engine was not that complex and so, it incurred the manufacturers a cheap cost to make this vehicle. Clive suffered enormous losses since the retailers refused to sell the vehicle (Chen 2004). The losses could probably have not been there if the quality management and design had been done appropriately.

The Sinclair C5 faced relentless ridicule. The possible causes of failure of the Sinclair C5 may include: the date that Sir Sinclair chose to launch his C5 was not the best time. Sir Clive decided to launch his vehicle model on the same day that the death of Anton Kalas happened. This was a Viennese Zither player, who attracted the attention of most people during this time. Perhaps, the 11-th January was a better day for Clive to launch his model vehicle. Also, the design management of the Sinclair C5 did not consider the weather conditions in United Kingdom; this is because the Sinclair C5 was not that friendly to the weather conditions in the United Kingdom. The Sinclair C5 was also a seemingly small tricycle, and it could not be visible in the roads. Therefore, it is risky since it predisposed its users to accidents. The Sinclair C5 could also have failed because of the speed of the vehicle. It only had a speed of approximately 20 km per hour, and this was not a particularly satisfying speed. When they manufactured this vehicle model, they tested the fitness of this vehicle during the night.

The practical process to analyze the problems, causes, failures and recommendations of the case study relating to Sinclair C5, requires that the learners should understand the tasks used in Quality management to improve the quality of products in the market. The Sinclair C5 required the incorporation of all Quality management tasks to enhance an advantageous sale of the product, that is the Quality management’s tasks are aimed at ensuring the products quality. Quality management uses quality assurance, quality control, and quality planning and quality improvement in order to achieve the quality of any product in the market. It is right to say that the manufacturing of the Sinclair C5 without the appropriate Quality management’s tasks is impossible. Clive should have considered the factors involved in the production of the Sinclair C5 to ensure production of a highly valued vehicle (Naylor 2004). For example, the battery used during the manufacture of this vehicle was not the best as it made the vehicle heavy. Also, elements, such as competence of the workers used in the manufacture of the C5, should also have been emphasized in an attempt to make the Sinclair C5, as it appears in his dream of the world transport.

The vehicle had also the poor light emitted by its headlights, and this meant that the drivers could not see clearly in the night.  The gearbox molding of this vehicle also had a problem and this predisposed its users to accidents. Sinclair C5 did not also have the ability to protect the driver from the gas emitted by the vehicle. When the vehicle emitted the gases, it does happen that it hit the driver’s face directly, especially considering that it had a lower seat for the driver than the normal cars. These drawbacks caused the sales of this vehicle to be extremely slow. Many countries also reacted negatively towards this vehicle. In fact, some countries did not legalize it, with provisions that some changes had to be made to improve the safety of this vehicle in their roads (Dale 2003). Clive must have rushed to manufacture this vehicle since there was a possible loophole in the law. This loophole consisted in permitting of electric vehicles. Perhaps, this rush is one of the causative factors why the Quality management tasks were not appropriately conducted to improve the quality of the Sinclair C5.

The study of the Quality management also provides for the product inspection in their many techniques to guarantee the quality assurance.  The Sinclair C5 should have been inspected keenly before its introduction into the market. To guarantee its massive sales, it was necessary for the Sinclair C5 to assess the market needs of the people. This would help him to know the possible market needs to the people of the United Kingdom.  The quality of the C5 should also have undergone quality assurance. The importance of quality assurance in strategic management is to enhance fulfillment of the quality expectations of a product. The possible users of the C5 were the main determiners of the suitability of its quality. Clive conducted little or no quality assurance during the manufacture of the C5. This is one of the many reasons that caused his ardent stumble in the attempt to achieve his dream.  A recommendation of a questionnaire or a research to assess the market needs of the users of Clive’s product should also have been considered by Clive and His manufacturers.

The likelihood of any unexpected failure of the product in the market may also not have been assed well by the Quality management team during the introduction of the C5 into the market. Perhaps, Clive should have considered incorporating six sigmas in his quality management strategy. This would have helped the C5 to minimize the errors made during the manufacture of the C5. This task would also help to remove the causes of defect during the manufacture of the C5 (Dale 2003). The defects would have been removed after a possible research on the consumers’ reaction concerning the product, perhaps, if some defects in the C5 should have been corrected. These defects may include: the weak battery to propel the Sinclair C5, the weak horn and maybe even its design techniques used during the manufacture of the C5.


In conclusion, there is no doubt that had Sinclair C5 considered involving the quality management tasks and techniques, his vehicle could have continued selling tremendously in the European market. This case also shows the importance of quality management, not only in the case of poor design management for the Sinclair C5 but also other developing products. Individuals with bright, entrepreneurial ideas should consider assessing the needs of the market and the quality of the products they wish to introduce in the market.  It also shows the dire consequences that come with poor quality management and, therefore, stresses the importance of the same in the corporate world today.