With all of the late model automotive carcasses laying about (each painstakingly disemboweled, weighed, measured and cataloged), one could be forgiven for thinking that a wrong turn unwittingly revealed Hannibal Lechter 's garage, or at very least, a freakishly clinical salvage operation. But reverse engineering facilities like the one Wired Magazine was able to glad-hand its way inside are less about socially unacceptable mania, and more about financial satisfaction and keeping up with the corporate Joneses.

In GM's Warren Tech Center, engineers play CSI (Cost Savings Investigators), taking the competition's latest and greatest, and tearing them limb-from-limb, fender-from-fender, and-wire-from wire until even the vehicle’s original designers couldn’t recognize it.

The General (and most other manufacturers) don’t do this out of some perverse superiority streak, though it must be somehow satisfying to literally tear the competition apart. But this isn’t some unconventional employee morale boosting program, GM tears down showroom-fresh cars to not only see what makes them tick, but to see how much those ticks cost. Doing so not only allows a look at what the competition is up to, it gives them more informed ways to pressure their own suppliers for less expensive and/or better engineered parts.

Click on the link for a fascinating window into a place where few are granted access.


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