GMIO targets 10 million units
GENERAL MOTORS will buy parts for almost 17 million vehicles a year by 2007 if International Operations expands as expected. Last year, GM made 8.4 million cars and light trucks.
Bo Andersson, vice-president of purchasing for GM subsidiary Saab, said GM North America represents 64 percent of GM's business now. That share will drop to 40 percent in 10 years' time. North American auto volume is likely to grow by 26 percent over the 10 years. If Anderson's forecast is correct, business in the rest of the world will more than treble, from about 3 million units last year to more than 10 million.
Cars need soul
THE SUPER-LEAN production methods Volkswagen is using in Resende, Brazil, are not likely to be used for passenger car production.
'A car needs more character or soul,' said VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech. 'That needs to be done by specialists.'
In Resende, suppliers build the truck, and VW employees only check it for quality.
Electronic steering must wait 15 years
SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS will slow down acceptance of electronic steering and braking.
If an engine loses power because the control module fails, a driver has ample time to react and steer safely to the side of the road, says Hermann Scholl, chairman of Robert Bosch. If the brakes fail in an emergency, there is only a fraction of a second for a driver to react, so a redundant system is required. And you can't afford to have the steering fail. It will be 15 or 20 years before electronic steering is ready, said Scholl.
Fixed costs industry
'The car industry is a fixed cost industry,' explained an investor who owns major stakes in French supplier companies. 'Once you have used productivity to balance the continuous, if slight, annual rise in costs, the only way to remain competitive is to increase the production volume. This is the reason why Renault and PSA must resume a growth strategy if they want to survive.'