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Discussion Starter #1
I noticed a disturbing trend in Ford and DCX FWD cars recently. Almost all, with the exception of a few models on their way out, are currently, or are going to be engineering products of Japan (or Korea). Ford is going to use Mazda 6 and Mazda 3 platforms for much of its product - even though the Focus that was to share the Mazda 3 platform will go unchanged in the US due to tight pursestrings (but will share an engine, I believe). The next Dodge Neon is said to be a Lancer in disguise, and the Galant is said to be a donor for an upcoming sedan for DCX.

Sure, GM has the imported Aveo and the Canadian GM Daewoo imports, but look at these:

Malibu, G6: Some Saab 9-3 and Opel Vectra DNA, but more of a collective effort on GM's part, and no input from Suzuki, Subaru or Isuzu.

ION, Cobalt: Again, influence from Europe's Opel, but Opel doesn't sell cars here, so an equivalent comparison to a Mazda 6 clone is impossible.

It's much easier to "rebadge" a product that is already available for the US market, like the Mazda 6 to Futura (or whatever it will be called) and Mercury clone, or the Lancer to Neon.

It seems to me that a GM FWD compact to mid-size buyer is getting a collaboration of GM Europe and GM NA product, whereas the future Ford and Dodge buyers will be getting Mitsubishi (plus HyunKIA) and Mazda engineered product, with styling by Detroit.

Of course, I've complained that GM would do better to just leave the Astra and Vectra alone and import them with as few changes as possible, but I am warming up to the departure from the Opel product they've made with the Cobalt and G6.

Do you see it this way? Or do you think the level of "collaboration" between Mazda and Mitsubishi with their Detroit peers will be on par or very similar with GM's relationship with GM Europe (Opel, Saab, Vauxhall)?

 

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I cant tell if you think the rebadging of the Mazda 6/3 and other asian brands are good, and what GM is doing is bad, or vise versa?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I think it is important for GM to have high level input and perhaps more importantly engineering input. A wholly Opel engineered product line would disappoint me, even if a single product would make me happy sometimes -- if the Detroit designers would have made the G6 look more like the concept and less like the watered down production model, and if the Malibu had less "questionable" styling and a less monochrome interior, I probably wouldn't be lusting for a Vectra over here, for instance.

I love the idea of the VVT 3.9 OHV V6 going in to the G6. I like the styling of the Opel Vectra better - less vague - less compromised, sharp, like the concept. See my conundrum?

As far as Ford and DCX, I see them ceding all engineering responsibility to Japan. That's bad if you think engineering jobs should stay in Detroit - GM fan or not.
 

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Originally posted by Ming@Apr 6 2004, 06:45 PM
I think it is important for GM to have high level input and perhaps more importantly engineering input. A wholly Opel engineered product line would disappoint me, even if a single product would make me happy sometimes -- if the Detroit designers would have made the G6 look more like the concept and less like the watered down production model, and if the Malibu had less "questionable" styling and a less monochrome interior, I probably wouldn't be lusting for a Vectra over here, for instance.

I love the idea of the VVT 3.9 OHV V6 going in to the G6. I like the styling of the Opel Vectra better - less vague - less compromised, sharp, like the concept. See my conundrum?

As far as Ford and DCX, I see them ceding all engineering responsibility to Japan. That's bad if you think engineering jobs should stay in Detroit - GM fan or not.
Great post Ming!
 
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