GM, UAW Near Deal on Buyouts by Joseph Szczesny (3/19/2006)
Deal could mean thousands move off Delphi's rosters.
CAW Approves Camaro Changes by Joseph Szczesny
Plant rules will enable Canadian factories to build Zetas, including Camaro.
My impression is that Americans
just don’t think much of European design. You might say Mercedes and BMW are
successful. They are: But their 530,000 combined sales for cars and trucks, out
of a market of almost 17 million, is a limited success.
Care to look at the failures? Start with Volkswagen and its Golf, popular in
Go to Ford. The Contour and Mystique were American versions of the European Mondeo. They failed. There is the Ford Focus, a European-designed small car that started moderately well in the
Go to GM. Remember the Cadillac Catera, an Opel with Cadillac badges, imported here? A flop. How about the Saturn LS, a European platform with a plastic skin, a flop and now gone like Cateras and Contour/Mystique. The Saturn Ion was another of those Euro platforms used here. The most successful of the Global/European platform cars sold here is the Chevy Malibu, the fleet special, which even GM executives say is a design bore.
But this doesn’t stop executives from thinking the answer to their problems, particularly at GM, is at the global approach. Whenever you bring up the failures, they just brush them aside or say they weren’t done well enough. The idea that Americans really don’t care for the European approach is beyond their radar.
Here are just a few of my
complaints with this mindset. There’s no global exchange here. What GM and Ford
want to build are European cars with Euro platforms and European engineering.
They just want American badges on them. The design freedom for the American
versions is quite limited because they can only work off the Euro
If this continues, it won’t be long before Americans at GM and Ford won’t be able to design and engineer a car. They’ll just do pickups. Look at General Motors: GM forgot how to do a rear-drive car and had to borrow from GM Australia. No American car platforms get transferred for European production. It’s a one-way street. Yet the American market, and GM and Ford’s share in it, are much larger than the European vehicle market or the GM/Ford shares.
You even see some of this thinking with trucks. When GM wanted a small pickup, the Chevy Colorado and
Right now that
Now I have said the models never go the other way. So far that has been true. GM adapted its minivan designs so that the American-built models could be shipped to
Now they will have another chance to take an American car. The GM Pontiac Solstice plant will build a version, called the Opel GT, for GM in