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Oracle of Delphi

GM wants Brazil to influence U.S. design, engineering

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Jamie LaReau

Automotive News

December 24, 2007 - 12:01 am ET

DETROIT — Look for General Motors to develop more products for North America in Brazil.

This year GM spent $500 million on its Brazilian unit to develop small cars and to expand its product development center there. GM also designated Brazil as its lead center for designing mid-sized trucks.

The cars and mid-sized trucks are intended for emerging markets, but that could change soon.

"GM will play that global engineering talent as it needs it, and it recognizes the huge amount of talent we have," Maureen Kempston Darkes, GM's group vice president and president of Latin America, Africa and Middle East, said in an interview.

"When you've been designated the lead of mid-sized trucks, that also opens up new and important opportunities, so watch for that to come."

Darkes said the engineering center in Brazil is very important to GM.

"It's been designated as one of the six global engineering centers," she said.

"We are doing global product portfolios using the GM engineers and facilities, so we will continue to play a very important role."

GM's design studios in South Korea have had a heavy influence on GM vehicles, such as the Chevrolet minicar based on the Beat concept car.

GM plans to begin selling that vehicle overseas in mid-2009 and is considering selling it in the United States.

When asked whether Brazil's design and engineering center might have the same impact on North American vehicle development, Darkes said: "No reason why they couldn't. Right now, their plate is full doing trucks and small cars. But for certain they have that capability."

Vehicle sales in Brazil and Argentina are set to end the year at record levels. Darkes said GM likely will boost production in the region next year.

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If vehicles from Brazil come to the NA market, are they small Chevrolet cars and trucks or GMC trucks? Saturn should have all they need from Opel. So what brand(s) will be affected by the story? By NA, are they necessarily talking just the US? Or are they referring to unique vehicles for Mexico, as an example? Thank you.

Edited by wildcat
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Suck it up, boys. If GM is remain competitive, it has no choice but to capitalize on manufacturing and design plants it has around the globe, just like Toyota and Honda. As long as Americans (and Canadians) love anything imported, Brazil, Germany, Mexico and other places will continue to make inroads in design and manufacturing.

The era of $3 a gallon is drawing to a close. The Brazilians are miles ahead of us in areas of flex-fuel and other technologies. This all makes sense.

With the continuing slide of the US dollar on the world stage and the continued tilt toward the dominance of Asia, America is going to have to get used to be just another global power, not the sole superpower.

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If vehicles from Brazil come to the NA market, are they small Chevrolet cars and trucks or GMC trucks? Saturn should have all they need from Opel. So what brand(s) will be affected by the story? By NA, are they necessarily talking just the US? Or are they referring to unique vehicles for Mexico, as an example? Thank you.

Since I just happened to be in Brazil not long ago, I think you will find they are talking about all of North America, Canada, United States, and Mexico. :AH-HA_wink:

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Today's GM do Brasil lineup is mostly a potluck of redundant, tiny, rather non-descript cars from around the world and obsolete (by NA standards) small trucks. Decidedly Third World, imo. There is going to have to be a huge improvement in their lineup if they expect to have anything to appeal to Americans. SA is such a different world, both geographically and demographically... right now I am in a "wait and see" stance on this, leaning toward skepticism. The Chevy Beat is a cool tiny car, not sure where our Beat will be sourced from. Perhaps the NG Colorado/Canyon will be engineered there. Just like Holden with their RWD expertise, I guess GM has to regionalize their engineering power. I see nothing wrong with that, as long as a good percentage of manufacturing stays in NA for the NA market. Edited by ocnblu
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Today's GM do Brasil lineup is a potluck of redundant, tiny, rather non-descript cars and obsolete (by NA standards) small trucks. Decidedly Third World, imo. There is going to have to be a huge improvement in their lineup if they expect to have anything to appeal to Americans. SA is such a different world, both geographically and demographically... right now I am in a "wait and see" stance on this, leaning toward skepticism. The Chevy Beat is a cool tiny car, not sure where our Beat will be sourced from.

Daewoo

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Compare Honda's slick little Fit (with an NG model coming soon) to the recently refreshed Aveo... no comparison on style, fun, or utility. GM has a lot of catching up to do if they are to have an array of desirable, tiny cars to prop up CAFE numbers so big-vehicle fanciers can have what they want.

Imagine a Pontiac Firefly version of the Beat with 110 hp and AWD with 7 speed DSG gearbox.

Edited by ocnblu
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I have this sinking feeling that with our debt load, our expensive wars, our ever-increasing fuel costs, and our hollowed-out manufacturing base that has reduced our economy to haircutting, fried-chicken and finance based on Ponzi schemes that we'll all be driving (if we'll drive at all) what they're driving down in Brazil very soon. Forget the post WW2 American Dream. It's dead. So are national borders. The future is a new one-world feudalism consisting of the very rich and the rest of us. Enjoy your V8-powered G8 while you can (if you can still make your monthly payment). And have a nice day:)

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Opel/Chevrolet Meriva was developed by Opel and GM do Brasil. It may be small but it is not a substandard product in any way. Better get used to the fact that any NG of any favourite American nameplate may be engineered or designed anywhere in the World. :AH-HA_wink:

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