GM Inside News Forum banner
1 - 20 of 53 Posts

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,948 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
GM platform plan: Needs "a well-oiled machine, culturally, managerially, financially"

GM's bold platform plan aims to reduce complexity, save billions
Rivals VW, Toyota still sorting out similar, complex goal
Ben Klayman
Paul Lienert
October 3, 2014

DETROIT (Reuters) -- It could be a defining element of CEO Mary Barra's legacy at General Motors: A drastic shift over the next 10 years from 26 global vehicle production platforms to just four by 2025, a bold stroke that could eventually save the U.S. automaker many billions of dollars in production costs.

The radical streamlining of GM's basic architectures, announced on Wednesday at a day-long investor briefing near Detroit, is intended to simplify the engineering and manufacturing of GM's future cars and trucks, while enabling the company to deliver better-differentiated designs more quickly to customers around the world.

If it succeeds, then GM will be able to save on components, tooling and other manufacturing-related expenses.

However, to get there GM faces a challenge of enormous complexity that many of its global competitors, notably Volkswagen AG and Toyota Motor Corp., already have begun and are still sorting out. The up-front cost is also staggering.

Such a massive overhaul of the development and production processes is "incredibly disruptive, expensive and painful," said Morgan Stanley auto analyst Adam Jonas, and requires "a well-oiled machine, culturally, managerially and financially."

CONTINUE AT AUTONEWS.COM
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,278 Posts
Re: GM platform plan: Needs "a well-oiled machine, culturally, managerially, financia

I don't like these "One Ford", "One GM", "One FCA" plans. The American market usually gets shafted and we end up with vehicles that do not fit our market. Look at the lukewarm reception of the Ford Fiesta and Focus. They weren't build for North America, they were built for Europe. I'd hate to see GM do the same thing.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,948 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Re: GM platform plan: Needs "a well-oiled machine, culturally, managerially, financia

Some industry experts are skeptical of GM's ability to implement such a sweeping plan.

Said a former GM executive: "You are not going to get from a large rear-wheel-drive Cadillac to a Volt, crossovers, large SUVs and full-size pickups with four architectures/platforms/component groups, call them what you will."
This is the crux of it right there. GM has made huge improvements over the last five years, but I don't know if they have the culture or internal/inter-department communications to fully pull this off. That's not a slap against them; just a dispassionate observation.

At the point that Toyota and VW are having problems on this front, and they are arguably light years ahead of GM in having their various world-wide operations running in harmony, I can only imagine the internal obstacles that GM management/engineering will face trying to get this done.

More importantly, does anyone feel like FOUR platforms seem like they're short changing themselves?

I obviously understand that these new platforms are scalable, but the huge portfolio of products GM produces in various segments around the world, I'd imagine that seven or eight platforms would seem more appropriate without shortchanging the specific products every market needs.

What about bespoke products like the Vette (or the rumored mid-engine Zora for that matter)?

I'm hoping they tread lightly and carefully here.
 
  • Like
Reactions: XP300

·
Registered
Joined
·
525 Posts
Re: GM platform plan: Needs "a well-oiled machine, culturally, managerially, financia

How do you explain the Malibu Last gen and current, the Cruze, the Bruze(Buick Verano), Lacrosse etc. Epsilon II & Delta were built for international consumption. They were successful. If done properly this can be very profitable. Example K2xx and SUV's same basic architecture and profit margins are nice and healthy. Same with the Cruze, Verano, Sonic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,247 Posts
Re: GM platform plan: Needs "a well-oiled machine, culturally, managerially, financia

Life would be so much easier if they'd just eliminate FWD completely.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
14,203 Posts
Re: GM platform plan: Needs "a well-oiled machine, culturally, managerially, financia

Okay. Alpha. Y-car. Omega. And one more.


Good luck with that, GM.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,606 Posts
Re: GM platform plan: Needs "a well-oiled machine, culturally, managerially, financia

Okay. Alpha. Y-car. Omega. And one more.


Good luck with that, GM.
K2XX

BUT I assume Alpha/Omega become one "tool kit"
I worry about CO's like GM where there smallest car is SO FAR different then there largest car VS Toyota/VW which have a lot less "spread" EX in power train ETC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,415 Posts
Re: GM platform plan: Needs "a well-oiled machine, culturally, managerially, financia

I don't like these "One Ford", "One GM", "One FCA" plans. The American market usually gets shafted and we end up with vehicles that do not fit our market. Look at the lukewarm reception of the Ford Fiesta and Focus. They weren't build for North America, they were built for Europe. I'd hate to see GM do the same thing.
Lukewarm reception? Why don't you pull up the sales of the European designed Ford Fusion, and then tell me what your definition of "Lukewarm" is?

The automotive world doesn't work in the way I suspect you're thinking.

The "lukewarm" reception of these smaller cars you mention are due to the fact that cars in this class only do well when the country is panicked over fuel price spikes, not some perceived "not built for North America" nonsense....and that's exactly why cars in this class have to be global. There isn't the steady volume (not are they at a pricepoint) where car makers can make development costs for a single market make sense.

Also, consider that buyers of cars at this level have been buying imports from the dawn of time. From even the 1950s, American manufacturers have struggled to make indentations into the sales of foreign cars sold here. For decades (and the older guys here will back me up on this) American efforts at making small cars has been one disaster after another. The current Focus, and Fiesta are great cars, and they are doing well in their field.

Final point, car companies are businesses first and foremost. Whereas back in the 50s a car maker sold only a few cars as a coupe, sedan, and wagon in their showrooms, and maybe a pickup truck, today they have 8 or more various models made numerous ways, more than a couple of SUVs or crossovers, and more versions of pickups than was imaginable even back in the 70s. That means staying competitive today in all areas is hopelessly expensive. I haven't even gotten to where the demands of buyers as well as safety and emission standards pile on the problems.

There is no reason why in today's global world a carmaker can't use the same platform in Europe as the do in North America or Asia. It's honestly downright irresponsible to spend billions to create a FWD platform in the US when you have a perfectly good one in Europe, or develop a new RWD platform for China when you have a good one in North America.

It's not just common sense, it's Business 101.......spending twice for the same thing is actually pretty stupid.

Okay. Alpha. Y-car. Omega. And one more.


Good luck with that, GM.
I think the "Y" car wasn't included in this. But.....

Delta
Epsilon
Alpha
Omega.

What else do you really need???

And if Alpha can cover both an ATS and the much larger CTS, you can most certainly create a FWD platform to cover both Delta and Epsilon. 30 years ago, Ford was using Fox for everything from small cheap Mustangs to expensive large Lincolns.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,021 Posts
Re: GM platform plan: Needs "a well-oiled machine, culturally, managerially, financia

GM
Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Alpha, Sigma, Y-Body, Theta, Theta Premium/TE, Lamda, K2XX, GMT-900

Ford Global platforms
Ford B compact- (global) Fiesta/Ecosport/B-Max/Transit-Courier/Ka

C compact- (global) Focus/Escape-Kuga/C-Max/Grand-C-Max/Transit-Connect/2015 Lincoln MkC

Mid-full size- (global) Fusion-Mondeo/Edge/S-Max/Galaxy/Lincoln MkZ

Light truck- (global [not North America]) Ranger/Everest

Commercial- (global) Transit-1-ton/Transit-2-ton

Sports- (global) 2015 Mustang

Ford Regional platforms

D4-Explorer/Flex/Taurus/Lincoln MkS (North America, Asia, Africa)

Full Truck-F-150/Expedition/Super-Duty/F-650/F-750 (North America)


VW
A, AO,A00, B, C, D & T

Toyota
B, MC, FCV, IMV, N, NBC & K

VW probably have the lowest cost base saving them a lot of money at the moment. 3 of the 4 platforms Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon that GM want to keep won't generate much in the way of wealth creation GM are gonna struggle, but l guess if they can be shared FWD/RWD/AWD/4WD combined platforms in the future they might make some profit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,415 Posts
Re: GM platform plan: Needs "a well-oiled machine, culturally, managerially, financia

GM
Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Alpha, Sigma, Y-Body, Theta, Theta Premium/TE, Lamda, K2XX, GMT-900

Ford Global platforms
Ford B compact- (global) Fiesta/Ecosport/B-Max/Transit-Courier/Ka

C compact- (global) Focus/Escape-Kuga/C-Max/Grand-C-Max/Transit-Connect/2015 Lincoln MkC

Mid-full size- (global) Fusion-Mondeo/Edge/S-Max/Galaxy/Lincoln MkZ

Light truck- (global [not North America]) Ranger/Everest

Commercial- (global) Transit-1-ton/Transit-2-ton

Sports- (global) 2015 Mustang

Ford Regional platforms

D4-Explorer/Flex/Taurus/Lincoln MkS (North America, Asia, Africa)

Full Truck-F-150/Expedition/Super-Duty/F-650/F-750 (North America)


VW
A, AO,A00, B, C, D & T

Toyota
B, MC, FCV, IMV, N, NBC & K

VW probably have the lowest cost base saving them a lot of money at the moment. 3 of the 4 platforms Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon that GM want to keep won't generate much in the way of wealth creation GM are gonna struggle, but l guess if they can be shared FWD/RWD/AWD/4WD combined platforms in the future they might make some profit.
Keep in mind that many of those crossover platforms both GM and Ford have are nothing more than variations of existing car based platforms. I strongly believe Barra was referring to "basic" platforms, which in that case, I'd suspect those goals are really simple to accomplish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,687 Posts
Re: GM platform plan: Needs "a well-oiled machine, culturally, managerially, financia

Wasn't this supposed to be already done by now?

Now personally I think 4 isn't enough (too few), but clearly 26 is way too many.

The other thing that GM is really bad/behind on........... The cars that they've been successful in consolidating platforms, they still make at multiple plants, much of the efficacy gains are lost:

Theta; 4 plants
Epsilon; 3 plants
Delta; 3 plants


This is just in North America, I don't follow the rest of the world enough, but isn't there globally 3 or 4 different Cruze's running around?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,237 Posts
Re: GM platform plan: Needs "a well-oiled machine, culturally, managerially, financia

How do you explain the Malibu Last gen and current, the Cruze, the Bruze(Buick Verano), Lacrosse etc. Epsilon II & Delta were built for international consumption. They were successful. If done properly this can be very profitable. Example K2xx and SUV's same basic architecture and profit margins are nice and healthy. Same with the Cruze, Verano, Sonic.
This reminds me of a lot of 'managerial' or 'top down' or 'puppet master' plans.

But the truth is inescapable: Whatever the platform is, if you try to cut it down to make a smaller car, it pretty much is always going to weigh more than a custom made small car. Current follies we are having with the Epsi II illustrate it. 1st, they took an award winning 'custom' Malibu and turned it into a back-of-packer with the Epsi II. And then when they tried to make a 'fulls size car' out of the Epsi II you get the bizarre looking XTS - damn right the proportions are all off when you take a smallish intermediate fwd and try to turn it into, literally a big Cadillac.

And the notion of selling the same car over the world with the same success is a pipe dream that goes back to the '85 Ford Scorpion AKA "Mercury MERKUR" in the US. Biggest seller in Europe, went over like a lead kite in the US where you could buy higher performing Mustang or T Bird for way less money...



Or look at China right now - for some reason they want a compact Cadillac sport sedan with a bunch of room in the back seat.
Makes no sense at all to US buyers. All the sense in the world to Chinese.

When you customize cars for their markets, you are literally giving the people what they want.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,408 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,939 Posts
Re: GM platform plan: Needs "a well-oiled machine, culturally, managerially, financia

This reminds me of a lot of 'managerial' or 'top down' or 'puppet master' plans.

But the truth is inescapable: Whatever the platform is, if you try to cut it down to make a smaller car, it pretty much is always going to weigh more than a custom made small car. Current follies we are having with the Epsi II illustrate it. 1st, they took an award winning 'custom' Malibu and turned it into a back-of-packer with the Epsi II. And then when they tried to make a 'fulls size car' out of the Epsi II you get the bizarre looking XTS - damn right the proportions are all off when you take a smallish intermediate fwd and try to turn it into, literally a big Cadillac.

And the notion of selling the same car over the world with the same success is a pipe dream that goes back to the '85 Ford Scorpion AKA "Mercury MERKUR" in the US. Biggest seller in Europe, went over like a lead kite in the US where you could buy higher performing Mustang or T Bird for way less money...



Or look at China right now - for some reason they want a compact Cadillac sport sedan with a bunch of room in the back seat.
Makes no sense at all to US buyers. All the sense in the world to Chinese.

When you customize cars for their markets, you are literally giving the people what they want.
The Merkur XR4Ti was the European Ford Sierra and the Merkur Scorpio the European Ford Scorpio - after decades of Ford domination of those two market sectors, these models were eclipsed by the FWD Opel/Vauxhall Ascona/Cavalier and the RWD Opel/Vauxhall Omega - because Ford Europe moved to FWD a decade after Opel/Vauxhall in what is now the Insignia/Mondeo sector and Opel/Vauxhall lasted longer with RWD in the sector above.

I'm not a fan of One Ford but the European premium brands seem to make it work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,021 Posts
Re: GM platform plan: Needs "a well-oiled machine, culturally, managerially, financia

Keep in mind that many of those crossover platforms both GM and Ford have are nothing more than variations of existing car based platforms. I strongly believe Barra was referring to "basic" platforms, which in that case, I'd suspect those goals are really simple to accomplish.
Gamma & Delta are pretty crap losing big money in both Europe losers Opel lost $20 billions and GM are losing big money in South America as well, the Epsilon is so-so should make a tiny profit with not a lot to reinvest, wonder which will be the 4th platform for the very highly profitable big US GM trucks or is it they just won't count as global or will become a global light duty mid size only come 2025 when the oil starts to dry up, and places like Africa, India like China with its new found wealth is demanding Cadillacs placing even more demands on dwindling finite world oil supplies?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,021 Posts
Re: GM platform plan: Needs "a well-oiled machine, culturally, managerially, financia

I'm not a fan of One Ford but the European premium brands seem to make it work.
Ford of Europe like Opel are losing billions at the moment, is this what Ford and GM want to impose on North American market a $20 billion losers list as a future business plan. Will Amercans warm to being a land of just Ka, Fiesta Focus Mondeo & Transit pick-up truck platforms only on offer to buyers like Europe line-up has in the future?

What a very depressing thought, the US economy will go into a nosedive like the EU.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dequindre

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,415 Posts
Re: GM platform plan: Needs "a well-oiled machine, culturally, managerially, financia

This reminds me of a lot of 'managerial' or 'top down' or 'puppet master' plans.

But the truth is inescapable: Whatever the platform is, if you try to cut it down to make a smaller car, it pretty much is always going to weigh more than a custom made small car. Current follies we are having with the Epsi II illustrate it. 1st, they took an award winning 'custom' Malibu and turned it into a back-of-packer with the Epsi II. And then when they tried to make a 'fulls size car' out of the Epsi II you get the bizarre looking XTS - damn right the proportions are all off when you take a smallish intermediate fwd and try to turn it into, literally a big Cadillac.

And the notion of selling the same car over the world with the same success is a pipe dream that goes back to the '85 Ford Scorpion AKA "Mercury MERKUR" in the US. Biggest seller in Europe, went over like a lead kite in the US where you could buy higher performing Mustang or T Bird for way less money...



Or look at China right now - for some reason they want a compact Cadillac sport sedan with a bunch of room in the back seat.
Makes no sense at all to US buyers. All the sense in the world to Chinese.

When you customize cars for their markets, you are literally giving the people what they want.
I see so many things wrong here, but in the name of expedience I'll keep it brief.

First, you use a bad example from 30 frigging years ago! First the car's name the Merkur XR4Ti was ridiculous. Second, the entire Merkur brand was ill conceived and mismanaged from the start, with no real commitment or backing. Third, the car (as well as the SVO Mustang) were conceived when fuel prices were headed skyward and by the time they came out, fuel prices were the cheapest of the decade to date, Forth: The prices of both the XR4Ti and the SVO were both far more than a Mustang GT....loaded.....with more horsepower. Both the SVO and the XR4Ti died.

Second, you completely ignore the fact that import cars decimated the US auto industry. General Motors was so close to bankruptcy at the start of the 1990s that they seriously thought about killing the Corvette (the book: All Corvettes Are Red) and that's when they first looked at killing off Oldsmobile. Now...last time I checked, import cars were engineered in another country for that country. I recall a certain carmaker named BMW and it's German country mate named Mercedes Benz grinding out the US luxury car brands, followed up by a slew of luxury brands from the other side of the other ocean wearing names like Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura. I recall that a certain car named Camry displaced the Ford Taurus as best selling car in the US and I'm sure it's platform wasn't engineered here in the US.

Third, I'm not sure which backbencher magazine or backalley website you heard that the new Epsilon 2 based Cadillac XTS or especially the new Impala was a "backbencher", but both are doing quite well in the market place, and the Impala has actually stacked up some awards including Consumer Reports (which may not carry a heap of water here, but when you look at the people who actually buy Impalas, it's like a blessing from the Pope).

It's really, really, really hilarious, and to be perfectly honest shows how silly (I'm avoiding the word stupid because not everyone is aware of what platforms are under what cars) reading posts like yours where you say that "the notion of selling the same car all over the world is a pipe dream" where everyday that same person passes dozens if not hundreds of Fusions and Focuses, Camrys, Accords and Civics, BMWs and Mercedes, Audis, VWs, Hyundais and Kias, and literally dozens of other brands......every.....single....minute....of just walking around the block.

......and yet, the example posted to support this wrong conclusion is a single, failed experiment from......THIRTY years ago????

Wow......just wow. :)

BTW: if you don't think American buyers would like an ATS with more rear seat room, go pull up the thread on this (just use the search) and read what members here think about this. Just because you don't like something doesn't make it true of everyone else. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Re: GM platform plan: Needs "a well-oiled machine, culturally, managerially, financia

What a horrificly written article, by far one of the most poorly written articles to come from an auto journal I have ever read... Poorly supported...
 
1 - 20 of 53 Posts
Top