Considering a VW even though I'm a Chevy Man

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The ISO thing is meant to document what is happening not what management is wishing might happen. Once the ISO is correctly describingthe processes it is possible to make improvements. There is a fundamental difference in mentality between manufacturers in how quality is measured. One produces the whole car and lets a team of inspectors check if it is all right. Another lets every step of the process check if previous processes have been ok and no special check is needed at the end. In general every robot will check that it has all is needed for the current car and not do anything if something is missing. A human may let quality inspection go by. So the more automated a factory is the more you can espect to get even quality out. The good thing about robots and automation is that the job stays at home and better products are made. The bad thing is people lose jobs to robots. In general for the country it is better to use robots for manufactoring than to lose the jobs to foreign countries. People used to fight bulldozers because took job from a lot of people. Something we consider silly today. I find it a bit strange that there are no big factories in US making the new batteries. It is new technology and invented in the US so why not use robots instead of foreigners? In the end robots are cheaper labor and frees humans for better things.
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The ISO thing is meant to document what is happening not what management is wishing might happen.
It is supposed to evolve to do both. If management knows what the hell it wants, and the ISO program is written so that this plan will be implemented, then the commitment to constant improvement CAN lead to a situation which yields what management wants.
In too many cases, the company makes the same old shit, perhaps with better reproducibility (or not), but it is documented to be the same old shit, as you say.
These programs CAN work, but not with disinterested management at the helm.
Quality has to be seen as "the product"; the product is not another cheapo SUV or some other short term piece of crap.
People will buy quality, if it is not priced outside their reach. People will eventually rebel against buying undependable poor quality merchandise.
GM is in there somewhere, better than the Yugo, but not as trusted (whether deservedly or not) as some other products.
We buy disposable razors with the intent to use them and throw them away after a short time.... Most of us do not accept this when we are dealing with cars.
I have spoken to a lot of younger people who used to accept that you buy a new car, use it 3-4 years, and then trade for new before the problems start. That philosophy is beginning to change.
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Jim Higgins turned on the Etch-A-Sketch and wrote:

Yes. I've flown both.
I'm still here.
(Oh, and for the record, I spent the first 13 years of my life in a VW. My mom had first a '69 then a '73 bug. I was supposed to inherit it when I turned 16, but couldn't fit my knees behind the steering wheel to shift by the time I turned 13. She dumped it and bought an Oldsmobile Gutless Supreme.)
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I visited the factory in Wolfsburg (Autostadt) with a decade in between. There is a very noticable difference in the number of robots. There are ever less number of human robots - people doing robot like jobs. Increasing number of supervisors making sure the robots are working properly.
For every robot introduced there are a number of people not needed anymore.
Even if this process is only happening gradually then over a decade the effects are huge.
Working hours and working conditions for those remaining change. The effect of the Unions is completely different.
If a factory is not introducing robots it will soon be out of business.
If you look at the number of people working in an old factory and compare with a factory that produces the same amount of cars with robots you will see an enoumous difference.
A robot works 24 hours a day. Does not go on strike. Does not need toiletbreaks. Always does the same thing over and over. No hangovers and no monday cars.
I guess that ultimately the survivor of GM will be how well they can handle the situation of getting rid of people and introduce more and more robots. I know they have a lot of robots already. I am pretty sure that the Unions are not always too happy about getting more robots because then they lose people. Management are not always happy with robots because of their initial costs and starting problems.
Introducing a robot into a human robot chain of work is not as efficient as designing the factory around the robots.
Like it or not the robots are gradually coming and they will meen a lot less people will be needed. Who is to get the benefit of the robots work is what it is all about. The Unions will have to accept more and more robots otherwise the whole company will lose in the fight against other companies using robots.
So it is not a question of foreign labor against domestic. In the end it will not matter where the factory is located because the robots will win every time. They get cheaper and more reliable all the time. All machines are in a way robots.
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Willy wrote:

Buy a TDI, you won't regret it. Pretty much any modern VW feels like a luxury car next to a GM product. They really have done a great job making an inexpensive car still feel like one that you can be proud to own and drive.
nate
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I have owned two Passats.. Both were spectacular cars. I have heard that some had poorer than normal electical systems, but neither of mine exhibited this characteristic.
The Jetta is supposed to be very nice.
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HLS wrote:

I'd actually advise against the Passat for exactly the reasons you state. It's supposedly quite a bit more problematic than the smaller A-chassis cars.
nate
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But at about $1 a gallon more than gas, you have to get more mpg to have the same driving cost per mile. Be sure to factor that in for a proper comparison. At prices here in town, that diesel is 11.5 per mile while a gas powered car needs only 37 mpg for that same cost. So, it may or may not be a good deal.
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Interesting. As for GM their plan to bring out their Volt in a few years, it is a bad joke; for the buyers who will struggle with a partitally developed car.
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wrote:

I seriously thought about "waiting" for the Volt, but I can see, based on history and the current flood of volt propaganda, that GM is once again going to RUSH an incomplete untested product to market, most likely at an elevated price in hopes of creating cash flow and once again, fixing the problems after the product is in the consumers hands.
Darn it I wish they'd STOP THAT!!!!
Willy
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