Thursday, December 17, 2009

GM Did Good

You never know whose attention you‟ll attract when you‟re driving a new Camaro. Deborah Kyles-
Williams, Quality Systems manager at Powertrain Toledo, ran into someone who was very interested,
below is an article she wrote for PowerLine, the plant‟s newsletter. Read on to find out who.
“This past weekend I was driving one of GM Powertrain Toledo's test vehicles - 2010 Chevrolet Camaro
that is HOT! It is dark blue with white racing stripes on the hood. You can imagine the number of looks
this car attracted.
“Saturday morning before 9 a.m., I stopped into the Arborland Starbucks off US 23 in Ann Arbor,
Michigan. There was a gentleman in line directly in front of me that seemed to know all of the Starbucks
personnel. I didn't pay attention to the person then, but when I came out of the Starbucks, he was
standing beside the Camaro. I asked him if he liked the vehicle and he emphatically stated „yes.‟
“The gentleman and I started talking about vehicle response times, design and general car talk for about
ten minutes. He stated he was with the competition and gestured toward a red Ford pick-up beside the
Camaro. I told him I did not view Ford as the competition as we are all in the same boat - trying to stay
solvent in this economy. I made a couple of statements concerning Ford's positive financial status and
said I hoped both Ford and GM continued to improve.
“The gentleman leaned into the Camaro and I asked if he would like to sit in it. He looked surprised and
said „really?‟ I replied „sure‟ and offered to hold his coffee. He got into the vehicle and we talked about
what was really working and he stated the only thing he did not like was the blank space on the dash and
the type of plastic used (he thought a softer plastic would have looked better).
“The gentleman got out of the vehicle and asked me my name. I introduced myself, stated I worked at the
Toledo Transmission plant as Quality Systems manager and was proud to say, Toledo produces the
transmission for the Camaro along with launching a front-wheel-drive. The gentleman said „I know.‟ We
shook hands as I asked him his name, to which he replied, „Bill Ford.‟ I was visibly taken aback when I
asked „The Bill Ford?‟ He smiled and answered „yes.‟
Bill Ford Jr. and I talked another five minutes. When parting he stated „I hate to say this, but you guys
(GM) did good!‟
“Remember to use all the tools available to you as you perform your jobs. We at Toledo are integral in
GM's success by ensuring defect free transmissions that are in GM vehicles everyone admires and wants
to drive - even Bill Ford Jr.”

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pick the Volt color poll...

Although my contribution: Techno Green Horizon didn't make the finalists, here's where you can vote:

Friday, September 4, 2009

Was quoted in the Detroit Free Press today about Obama's speech to students..

http://www.freep.com/article/20090904/NEWS15/909040349/1285/Obama-s-speech-to-kids-causes-uproar-in-schools

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Autoline on Autoblog with John McElroy — Autoblog

Amazing that our government does stuff like this!!

Autoline on Autoblog with John McElroy

Shared via AddThis
Reprint from the GM Employee Blog Comment section…

First of all a great big thanks to Mary Ann Brown for organizing the Product and Technology Event for the volunteers that want to become employee journalists. What a great opportunity to be able to see what our Board saw and to get a glimpse into what’s in the works for our future products. Also thanks to the Designers and leaders that took the time to listen and answer all of our questions.

Likes:

The Spark. Wow, is this little car cool looking! Not like anything else out there. Because it’s in production in Korea, there are production pictures of it on the Internet: http://www.gmautoblog.com/2009/04/29/gm-gives-chevy-spark-a-go-signal-while-orlando-goes-to-production/
The best part is that they are working on a way to accessorize your Spark right from the dealer. If you are not aware, the Mini Cooper allows you to do this now. You simply go to their website and pick your stripes, mirror covers, roof graphic (I love the British Flag), fog lights, etc. Then Mini ships a plain vehicle to a re-processing center that adds all of your personal touches. This is a great idea to help bring in the Tuner crowd. I also saw a graphic illustration behind the Spark that showed how they want to make it into a “track” car for road racing. They are really going after the Mini and in some respects, the Mazda Miata (both great race cars). Order mine with the big carbon fiber wing, hood, and diffuser with the ZR1 wheels!

The new Aveo is also aiming at the Tuner crowd as well. The Honda Civic has done this so well for so long. Not everyone wants to soup up their Civic with carbon fiber, stripes and a big squirrel catcher exhaust, but when they do, the parts are available.

The Hot Rodder in me loves the new Camaro, although, somewhat like the designers, I have been working on this program for a couple of years and it’s not as exciting as it was. Now a Z28 or a Yenko version, that’s exciting! Hopefully the accessory guys will get a chance to customize the Camaro above and beyond just the Black version.

Our interiors are leaps and bounds ahead of where we were 10 years ago and, more importantly, way better than any other brand out there. Being in Supplier Quality I get the privilege of being in lots of rental cars and although I specify “prefers GM vehicle” sometimes I end up in the competition and I can say with confidence that our interiors are World Class! Fit and Finish and styling on our current lineup and especially our future products is second to none. Although we didn’t get see it in person (see below) the Cruze interior is as good as the current Malibu.

Our hosts mentioned that the Orlando design was not 100% complete. I hope that some of the “plainness“ of this vehicle (especially the headlights) upgraded (think new Equinox).
The new Malibu is fabulous! It almost seems unfair that this car is competing against the style challenged Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. Although the new Taurus is much better than the previous, it is not in same league as the Malibu. Between the BMW 5 series style trunk/rear fender area to the stretched out headlights like the Buick Lacrosse, this is going to be competing against the best the competition has to offer. One neat thing to point out in the interior is the pocket on the door panel for a full liter water bottle. Great idea!


Dislikes:

The Chevy Cruze is currently in production in Asia Pacific, Europe and Australia and the only vehicle we get to show the Board is a foam model? Being a current Cobalt SS and Cavalier Z24 owner, that’s one vehicle I really wanted to sit in and see the gorgeous (at least in pictures) interior. Similar situation with the Volt. There are several IVER vehicles on the road. We can’t take one out of service to show the Board/Media for a couple days? All we get is a foam model.

Fritz has said on several occasions that he is not in favor of re-badging, however, other than the Lacrosse and the Enclave, all of the other Buick models were re-badges: Worst of them all – the Buick “Vue” that shares all of the same sheet metal as the current Saturn VUE but just has a Buick grille and some other upscale features [UPDATE: This vehicle was cancelled due to a lot of feedback like mine]. A Buick version of the Opel Insignia – Although I LOVE the Opel Insignia design, making it into a Buick still seems like re-badging. Last but not least is the Buick on the Cruze platform. I understand the attempt to lure in younger buyers to the Buick brand and hope this will work, but why not concentrate on a high end version of the Chevy instead of brand sharing?

Overall:

I, for one, am very excited about our future line up. Styling is what gets people excited and gives them the desire to want our vehicles. We need to make sure that the performance and reliability are up to the same level and in the case when you do have to take the vehicle to the dealer, it should be a pleasant experience, not an ordeal.