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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DETROIT (Reuters) - Henry Ford, who created the automotive industry's first mass-market hit with the Model T a century ago, was a proponent of radical simplicity.
In fact, Ford became famous for saying his customers could have the $825 Model T in any color -- so long as it was black.
In the century since the first Model T in 1908, Ford's vision of top-down efficiency has been swamped by thousands of feature and color combinations on new cars, trucks and SUVs.
The result, executives say, has been higher production and inventory costs and headaches for customers and dealers in sorting through a complex matrix of choices.
Now, Ford Motor Co and other embattled U.S. automakers are going back to black, embracing the spirit of Ford's notion in response to mounting losses and the risk of a deeper downturn in the United States, the world's largest market for new cars, in 2008.
Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally said he was amazed by the number of variations Ford offered when he arrived at the No. 2 U.S. automaker from Boeing Co in 2006.
"I was looking at the (Lincoln) Navigator console," Mulally said. "We have 128 different options you could choose on the console. That's just the console."
With so many variations, a customer inevitably will want a vehicle that is not in stock, leading to a frustrated customer and pressure on the dealer to offer a discount, Mulally said.
"They're unhappy and we're losing money," he said of Ford, which posted losses of $2.7 billion in 2007 and $12.6 billion in 2006.
Ford's chief of marketing, Jim Farley, who was hired away from Toyota Motor Co last year, said he was stunned to find that Ford was offering 100,000 combinations of options on its entry-level Focus sedan. Some 80 percent of Ford's sales came from just 4,000 of those combinations, he said.
In response, Ford has cut complexity by reducing the number of "buildable combinations" of the 2008 Focus by 99 percent. On the 2008 Expedition, it has cut combinations by 95 percent.
"Coming from Toyota, I can tell you that the opportunity is there to reduce the complexity of our line-up," Farley told analysts recently.
It's a similar story at Chrysler LLC, where sales chief Jim Press -- another high-level defection from Toyota -- has also pushed the struggling automaker to simplify.
"Previously, we offered too many options," Chrysler Chief Executive Bob Nardelli told reporters. "That resulted in too much complexity in the plants that build them, too much confusion for the dealers who order them and no added value to the customers who buy them."
Nardelli said Chrysler had cut ordering complexity by 93 percent over the past two years by dropping some options and repackaging others.
Chrysler, which lost $1.6 billion last year, plans to go further, cutting models and trimming dealers. That represents a stepped-up restructuring under Cerberus Capital Management LP, which bought an 80 percent stake in the automaker in 2007.

More at following link...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080330/us_nm/autos_complexity_dc;_ylt=AmLHr7mlELhuA5c8XrgAd2r0kPUI
 

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If I read right GM cutted the combinations in the new Malibu from 15000 to about 5000
 

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I still think that GM, Ford and Chrysler need to adopt a simplified trim/option scheme that emulates Honda. DX, LX, EX with limited options per trim level. Efficient and effective.
 

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I still think that GM, Ford and Chrysler need to adopt a simplified trim/option scheme that emulates Honda. DX, LX, EX with limited options per trim level. Efficient and effective.
Yes.
But GM also has a weird way of offering only certainly options tied with a larger engine option. What about offering the same options on lower end vehicles?

You get a standard set of options. DX, LX, EX, SE, whatever.
Then you pick your engine: I4, V6, V8, Hybrid, etc.

That way, a customer wanting some of the higher end options can pick to be more fuel efficient, etc.
 

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welcome to last October

guess the Earth Hour gave Yahoo, David Bailey, &or Reuters the power to catch up ;)
 

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I still think that GM, Ford and Chrysler need to adopt a simplified trim/option scheme that emulates Honda. DX, LX, EX with limited options per trim level. Efficient and effective.
i disagree. i dont want to have to pay for a 3000 package that gets me one thing i want and a bunch of chrome and other crap that i dont. thats what toyota makes you do with their sr5 and limited trims. you cant stray from the package. i like how gm lets you pick and choose everything you want. im willing to wait 6 months if i know im getting exactly what i want, nothing more, nothing less.
 

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Yes.
But GM also has a weird way of offering only certainly options tied with a larger engine option. What about offering the same options on lower end vehicles?

You get a standard set of options. DX, LX, EX, SE, whatever.
Then you pick your engine: I4, V6, V8, Hybrid, etc.

That way, a customer wanting some of the higher end options can pick to be more fuel efficient, etc.
I've always been a strong proponent of simple, easily identifiable trim levels among brands.

Ford used to have a simple system.

SE = plain base model

SEL = luxury model

SES = sport model

Limited = high end everything model

Even at GM, there should be serious simplification:

Chevrolet:
LT = base model
LTZ = luxury model
Sport = sport model

Pontiac
SE = base model
GT = sport model
GXP = sport/luxury model

Buick
LS = luxury model
GS = sport model
 

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i disagree. i dont want to have to pay for a 3000 package that gets me one thing i want and a bunch of chrome and other crap that i dont. thats what toyota makes you do with their sr5 and limited trims. you cant stray from the package. i like how gm lets you pick and choose everything you want. im willing to wait 6 months if i know im getting exactly what i want, nothing more, nothing less.
hmm...I don't know if that is really true or not.

I know with my XLE I could have had the I4 engine instead of the V6.

For example with a Lucerne you HAVE to get the V8 in order to get all the options. Like Magna-Ride which is something *I* would like.
GM should allow any type engine you want with any type trim level.
Many people would rather have the V6 and the cooler options.

However, to be fair from reading about the newer Malibu GM is allowing USB & Blue-Tooth.
This is a very good step forward.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
i disagree. i dont want to have to pay for a 3000 package that gets me one thing i want and a bunch of chrome and other crap that i dont. thats what toyota makes you do with their sr5 and limited trims. you cant stray from the package. i like how gm lets you pick and choose everything you want. im willing to wait 6 months if i know im getting exactly what i want, nothing more, nothing less.
I don't know...my coworker ordered Dodge Caliber with bunch of fancy options and waited 6 weeks to get it and yet they delievered the car with wrong leather seat color. His dealer told him to take it as is or wait another 6-10 weeks to get the another one.

Also with my Allure/Lacrosse CX I had to plow through tons of cars in thier inventory to find one with 60/40 folding rear bench, why after so many options you can't get such a simple feature as standard? In order to get the one with that I had to accept two more options (colum shift and remote starter with DIC) to make a deal. I like them, of course, and they were not to pricey but in many cases car makers make so many stupid and expensive packages.
 

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I wouldn't mind more simplicity, but on the new malibu you need to get a rather expensive version simply to get ESC and a leather wrapped steering wheel and gear shift knob. Safety options should be available on the base model, and I just really like leather wrapped steering wheels.
 

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I like the way Honda does things. 3 trims for the 4 cylinder and 2 for the V6 (on the accord at least). And have NAV as an option on top trim for each engine.

All their cars have the same simplicity though, only a set number trims and very few options usually only 1. However, they have a lot of dealer installed options. Like rims, spoilers, body kits, and even lowering packages.
 

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Yes.
But GM also has a weird way of offering only certainly options tied with a larger engine option. What about offering the same options on lower end vehicles?

You get a standard set of options. DX, LX, EX, SE, whatever.
Then you pick your engine: I4, V6, V8, Hybrid, etc.

That way, a customer wanting some of the higher end options can pick to be more fuel efficient, etc.
Oh man, I wish!! I would love a G8 Base with the 6.0L V8...better wheels, taillights, interior console, etc. in my opinion.
 

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Yes.
But GM also has a weird way of offering only certainly options tied with a larger engine option. What about offering the same options on lower end vehicles?

You get a standard set of options. DX, LX, EX, SE, whatever.
Then you pick your engine: I4, V6, V8, Hybrid, etc.

That way, a customer wanting some of the higher end options can pick to be more fuel efficient, etc.
That's a good idea. You pick an option package and a drivetrain package independently.

For a while the Vibe had neat groupings of options, such as the 'Safety' package, 'Sport' package, and 'Security' pakage that grouped different types of options that people might consider together. The Aztek also had their nest biking, hiking, and camping options.
 

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And here I thought it was funny Pontiac only offered HUD as an option on the SSEI trim level of the Bonneville, but not available on the SLE or SE levels. I still can’t figure out why they even spent the money to fit the system to the car for that few potential buyers!
 

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Oh man, I wish!! I would love a G8 Base with the 6.0L V8...better wheels, taillights, interior console, etc. in my opinion.
I'm with you. A G8 with 6.0 litre V-8,bench seat,6-speed manual,steel wheels,dog dish hubcaps all in Black with base radio would turn my crank. You better believe it.
 

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Yes.
But GM also has a weird way of offering only certainly options tied with a larger engine option. What about offering the same options on lower end vehicles?

You get a standard set of options. DX, LX, EX, SE, whatever.
Then you pick your engine: I4, V6, V8, Hybrid, etc.

That way, a customer wanting some of the higher end options can pick to be more fuel efficient, etc.
This has always frustrated me...Like when you try the "build your own" option on GM's or Ford's website and you can't get a manual transmission with a sunroof or a I-4 Z71 Colorado?!

I don't get a lot of these weird combinations...The Fusion is right on with all the trim levels available on I-4 and V6 models...but only V6 models get the AWD
 
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