flickr: Insight Imaging: John A Ryan Photography. http://www.flickr.com/photos/insightimaging/2903942092/Enlarge Photo
Recently announcing that it would become ever tougher on underperforming suppliers, GM has not only banished Microheat as a supplier of heated windshield washer systems for its premium vehicles, but it has allegedly withheld payments since June and wants Microheat to pay between $ 20 and 25 million to cover the costs of repairs to 944,000 GM vehicles recalled due to faults in Microheat's system. The August recall
has led Microheat Inc. to file for bankruptcy, claims Automotive News
In its recall notice to NHTSA, GM claimed that a short circuit on the printed circuit board could overheat the control-circuit ground wire, potentially creating a fire hazard. Dealers are correcting the problem free of charge by installing a wiring harness with an inline fuse.
Vehicles affected include the 2008 Buick Enclave
, 2006-2008 Buick Lucerne, 2006-2008 Cadillac DTS, versions of the 2007-2008 Cadillac Escalade, 2007-2008 Chevrolet Avalanche
, Silverado, Tahoe and Suburban, 2007-2008 GMC Acadia
, Sierra, Yukon and Yukon XL, 2006-2008 Hummer H2, and 2007-2008 Saturn Outlook.
Poor planning, combined with a tough economy, can have pretty disastrous results; witness the recent early closure of GM's Moraine, Ohio, SUV plant
. GM is sending a clear message to its suppliers that inferior quality won't (can't, if the automaker is to survive intact in this economy) be tolerated. With rival Ford recently surpassing Toyota in certain quality measures, GM must make every effort to compete in perceived and real quality control. Hopefully, they're sending the same message to their own rank and file, who have been guilty of some pretty poor planning through the years themselves.--Colin Mathews