Autoblog had lunch with Bob Lutz yesterday… well, along with over 100 other folks. Lutz spoke at Detroit's Automotive Press Association luncheon yesterday about global reorganization, new cars in the pipeline, and he even dropped a few hints we're sure made his PR department turn white (stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3).
Read on to hear what the Car Guy had to say…
Brandishing a tissue and sounding quite under the weather, Lutz spent the bulk of his time at the podium discussing GM?s plans for global reorganization. The plan is to have global engineering and design budgets, which means the following:
1) No regional unit will have to turn down a vehicle because of budget. Maybe a small SUV won?t sell enough in the US to be profitable, but with this plan, the US may develop something that is then sold around the world. This also means that no platform will be regionally unique, although Lutz promises that this isn?t simply badge engineering; rather, every brand will have its own unique designs.
2) You won?t have experienced designers and engineers fired in Australia while Europe is hiring greenies. GM will manage capacity and shift work as necessary. Each region will be responsible for building what they?re good at, too ? the US will take trucks and SUVs, Europe will take mid-sized cars, and Asia will take subcompacts.
3) Parts will be shared religiously across each platform, but trimmed differently to suit the car.
The expected result? 50 percent less platforms, reduced investment and reduced cost. The next midsize platform, for example, should see a 40 perent reduction in prototype builds (those things cost $10 million+ each!), a 20 percent reduction in component parts because they?re shared, and a 25 percent reduction in overall development costs. By GM?s estimates, that?s a savings of a billion clams.