Speaking to the Associated Press last Wednesday, Wagoner said GM's current level of flexibility is "not as good as it needs to be." GM has already announced reductions in production capacity, so flexibility in building more vehicles with higher fuel economy should be easier if the price of gasoline hits $4 or $5 a gallon.
Another move is to build more vehicles off the same platform globally, again making it easier for a North American plant to switch to more fuel-efficient models when consumer demand increases. The same platform would support 4- or 6-cylinder engines and production would be based on consumer demand.
Analysts note that Asian automakers already have the flexibility to build different vehicles on the same assembly line. The old business model of setting up one line to produce large numbers of a single vehicle won't work as the auto market becomes more fragmented, they warn.
[Source: Associated Press via WHAS, Louisville, KY]