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NDL

Is It Still Your Grandfather's Axe?

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In checking another forum, a poster is bemoaning the fact that many new GM products are being, and will continue to be, engineered in places other than America for the U.S. market. Which brings back to memory a recent Lutz statement, who, in so many words said that we wouldn't even recognize GM in 10 years - that, in time, they will once again become the powerhouse that they once were.

This begs the question: With GM promoting products that start off as designs for other markets, in other words, as GM cars become fully globalized, thereby ignoring the specific needs of the U.S. consumer, and the U.S. worker, is GM's resurrection worth the price of it's resurrection? Kinda brings back the old adage: "If you change the butt of your Grandfather's axe, and then the head of your Grandfather's axe, is it still your Grandfather's axe?"

Finally, I can’t help but note the irony of foreign companies like Honda and Toyota, who design cars specifically for the U.S. markets, and are wildly successful when they do. Yet GM and Ford are doing the complete opposite...

I'm still weighing this out, although I wonder what others are thinking...I won't be able to reply back for a good day or two, but welcome other opinions.

Edited by NDL

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GM still designs about 90 percent of its vehicles specifically for the U.S. market. The only mainstream vehicle that is questionable is the colorado/canyon due to the Isuzu thing. The aveo is also one that I can think of.

They may design vehicles slightly different in order to appeal better in other markets but they are still designed for the U.S. market first.

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First off, let's be clear: Toyota and Honda aren't "wildly successful." I wouldn't call 10-12% market share "wild."

Second, if GM engineers, designs and builds cars in Europe or Asia, then wants to import them to our shores, so be it. They have a right to sell vehicles in Europe, too, because they are designed, built and engineered in Europe.

The trouble with Japan Inc. is that they have a protected home fort to launch their attacks from. They have absolutely no foreign competition on their soil. They can enjoy all the subsidies and price protection over there with the safety and knowledge they can afford to lose money over seas for as long as it takes to overthrow those markets.

This was how the electronics industry was handled 35 years ago and we all know the results of that.

Japan Inc. has become more successful once they realized they needed some American help if they were going to sell their vehicles here; hence, the design centers in California, etc. But they are only doing just enough to APPEAR to be American. Judging by the number of saps who seriously believe buying a Japanese car just because it is built here is not hurting the economy; well, let's just say it is sad.

However, they are not as successful in Europe or South America because those cultures are not hell-bent on bashing everything their own companies build - that seems to be exclusive to America.

GM has along history in Brazil and is still #1 there. Toyota is having a hard time making a dent in that economy.

GM is worth saving, even if the vehicle you buy was built in Korea because GM has earned the right to sell vehicles world wide. It does not invade and conquer. It buys, merges and grows with the local economies - which is why companies like Vauxhall and Opel are not called Chevrolet or Buick over there - they were originally British and German.

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GM still designs about 90 percent of its vehicles specifically for the U.S. market.  The only mainstream vehicle that is questionable is the colorado/canyon due to the Isuzu thing.  The aveo is also one that I can think of.

They may design vehicles slightly different in order to appeal better in other markets but they are still designed for the U.S. market first.

Of the top of my head, here are a few platforms that come to mind - platforms not designed in America, and/or specifically for the American market:

- Chevy Cobalt

- Chevy Malibu

- Pontiac G6

- The Ecotec and 3.6L V6 were designed in Europe.

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First off, let's be clear:  Toyota and Honda aren't "wildly successful."  I wouldn't call 10-12% market share "wild."

Overall, you're right, although I was thinking "wildly successful" with respect to products like the Accord, Camry, Corolla and Civic.

Second, if GM engineers, designs and builds cars in Europe or Asia, then wants to import them to our shores, so be it.  They have a right to sell vehicles in Europe, too, because they are designed, built and engineered in Europe.

Judging by the number of saps who seriously believe buying a Japanese car just because it is built here is not hurting the economy; well, let's just say it is sad.

You make many excellent points, although I don't follow the above logic. You rightly point out that buying foreign, hurts the U.S. worker and economy. But how is this any different from what Ford & GM have been doing: outsourcing engineering to their European counterparts?

However, they are not as successful in Europe or South America because those cultures are not hell-bent on bashing everything their own companies build - that seems to be exclusive to America.

Indeed, you're right.

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Sorry, I should have been more clear. BMW and VW have earned the right to be sold in North America because Europe is an open market. Ford and GM have both been quite successful over the past 50 years in Europe.

GM doesn't just assemble its vehicles in Germany or Engand - many of them are designed, engineered and all of the parts come from Europe.

Not so with the Japanese. I am not a lawyer, but I wonder why nobody ever bothered to "take over" a Japanese company. Can anyone name any Japanese companies that were bought out or taken over by an American or European firm? I'd like to know.

Ford may own part of Mazda. GM may own part of Isuzu, but could that just be for show?

Toys R Us is a huge company, yet was blocked at every turn when it tried to enter the Japanese market on its own - it was forced to form a "partnership"

Japan is not an open market. It never has been. We make a big deal about what a democracy it is politically, and how helpful they are on the U.N., but their business practices are a different matter entirely.

This has gotten a little off topic, but I thought I should make my point a little clearer.

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