More Common Sense from Toyota

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I just finished reading an article in the business section of this mornings paper.
They point out another area where "common sense" at Toyota
gives them a financial edge on Detroit.
STANDARDIZED PARTS ! How simple....how elegant... how "cost saving"
Why isn't there ONE standard alternator for all GM engines ? One spark-plug, one radio, one window-lift motor?
Why does each GM division need their own ( different ) engine ?
Something as basic as oil filters.... Different from engine to engine... from year to year.
Imagine the savings ( manufacturing and spare parts ) if US automakers used common standardized parts in all lines.
I guess we've still got some catching up to do. <rj>
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Why isn't there just ONE god in the world?
Very often the manufacturers wanted to make money out of spare parts. At least in the past it may have been possible when the market was controlled by the producers.
Now in customer controlled market this has turned to be a great disadvantage.
There is such a big change in mentality needed that the question is if they will be able to do it.
If they do want to survive in todays market they will have to do this.
How long will it take for them to make this shift? At least until new models are out and they would need to have clever people at the top. The model change could happen in a year or two. Getting clever people at the top to make the decision may take some years. It is highly unlikely they will live long enough to do this.

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On Wed, 24 Jan 2007 09:46:39 -0700, <RJ> got out the hammer and chisel and etched in the wall:

Well, AFAIK, a 6.6L LBZ won't fit in a Grand Am or in a Saturn Ion.
GM is moving on the route of sharing platforms and parts. Notice that many of the new cars are on the zeta platform and that your trucks are pretty much all on the GM900 platform.
Toyota does many things right, and that is one example. However, GM does many things right, too. Just look at the new trucks that are out.
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Honda does a better stealth job, they make everything they sell base on two car chassis. Their so called trucks are a joke as a result At lest Toyota and Nissan make a truck chassis. They do not sell well but at least they make the effort to compete in the truck market LOL
mike

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Sounds simple but it doesn't work that easily, for Toyota or any other manufacture..That article was obviously written by somebody who does not have an engineering degree. . If all of the parts on the Corolla were the same as on a Lexus who would buy a Lexus? Imagine the problem for Toyota if all of their cars had the same V6 engine that is involved with their 'oil gelling' problem? All manufacture use common parts when possible, in a any event. LOL
mike

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Even YOU could name a hundred parts common to all lines;
Mufflers, radiators, alternators, fuel-injectors, etc. etc.etc.
I doubt anyone would pass up on a Corvette if it shared these components with a Cobalt.
Just think... they'd only have to engineer it once, manufacture to one set of specs design to ONE form/fit/function stock one kind of "radiator"
Do Chevy, Pontiac, Buick all need different 3.1 V-6's ? Wouldn't it be nice to drop a ( standard ) GM 3.1 into any model ?
If you can't see the savings, then it makes all your other posts quite clear.
wrote:

<rj>
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Apparently YOU did not read the last sentence of that post ;)
mike

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I recall GM starting on standardization in the 50's. Take a look at the glass in any 1959 GM car for starters. This is not a new and bold idea. US auto makers have been doing at least some of that for many years. You can also buy the same part with a different label and different prices too. The trick is in knowing what brake pad or transmission module is the same on a Jaguar and Chevy (yes, really they were, Jag used GM tranny at one time) or Lexus and Camry.
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Guess you mised the part,' as well, that said 'All manufacture use common parts when possible, in a any event;)
mike
.

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I was actually agreeing with you but you still manage to pick at something Oh, well, noting lost.
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Just a note - My '88 Dodge Shadow was not all that far removed from the car that saved Chrysler, the K car. Talk about parts standardization! One transmission for each mode (manual/auto), one alternator, much of the braking system, etc was the same. In reading the repair manuals that I got for it, I noticed that every FWD car had the same wheel track (width) as the motor/trans was the same. And the brakes, it seemed like they made one type of disk brakes - and if it stopped a minivan or new yorker, it would certainly stop a Shadow (it had comparatively huge brakes for the size of the car on the front). Of couse they got away from the cookie cutter approach in time but no doubt it saved them a ton of money to be able to bolt cars together and not have to stock a separate part for a lower volume car.
Think about the engine mess GM has compared to Honda or Nissan, Toyota. How many engines does GM have? The eco-tech (which seems to be a good one BTW), the import V6 motor in the CTS, the 3.5 (was a 3.4), the 3.6, the 3.9, the various v8's, etc. I really happen to like the shortstar v6 in my '00 intrigue GLS, it has tons of torque, good wide powerband and excellent trans, runs smoothly and quietly, etc. But after developing it, they figured it cost too much to produce. Wouldn't it be cool to see that motor as a base for the small truck Colorado, the GrandPrix, the Equinox, etc. You could put a turbo on it for high-performance applications. Maybe the new 3.6 will fill this need, but hate to see GM with so many brands that they need to keep making a low-class motor for Chevy, a better one for Buick, etc. Are there different engines for Lexus/Toyota or Nissan/ Infinity? Basically, not on the low end, no they are warmed over Camry's and such. The engine in the minivan is also in the Camry, also in the small pickup (to some extent) etc. Why do all the engineering to re-invent the wheel?
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Because the bean counters at GM are all nimrods. Like you said, they ought to cut way down on the engine selection across their make and model lineup. Most people I know (relatives or friends) don't give a flying flip about what engine they have under the hood and couldn't tell you the size of their engine if their life depended on it (most barely even know how many cylinders their engines have). I happen to be interested in such matters, but most people aren't. And if you focus on putting the best engines that your co. offers into the cars, instead of having 12 different engines, then even car nuts will dig the motors that are in your cars.
Chrysler, as you mentioned, clawed out of bankruptcy to success/profitability due to their few chassis/engine offerings. From 1980 until like the early 90's, the only engines they had were the 2.2 and its derivations, 2.5, 2.2 Turbo, 2.5 Turbo for the smaller to midsized cars. Then the larger cars/trucks/vans got the slant 6, 318ci V8, 360 or 440. That's only like 4 engine families. Smart. Plus all of those were great engines.
-
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Where would the line end? If all of GM's makes shared the same equipment (engines, transmissions, etc.), what would make you want to buy a Cadillac when you can get a Chevy cheaper, with the same parts? I think some parts can be used on several different models, and I think they are already doing it. Hopefully, anyhow.
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Why would you want to buy a Cadillac anyway? Many of the parts ARE the same.
Cadillac traditionally sold for the wealthier crew, the 'bluehairs'. There was luxury and quality in the older Cads...not so much now.
You could put any crabbing powertrain in glitzy Cadillac clothing, and there would be people who would buy it based on the old perception of quality and luxury.
People are stupid, Knight. Painted with a broad brush, they buy with their emotions...their heart...not their brain. And they dont research anything.
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That pretty much describes the average Toyota owner, females or males over 45. LOL
mike

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I personally don't like many Cadillac's. The STS's are an exception.

I don't know about that. A cousin of mine used to own an '89 (or so) Caddy. He loved the car, and said it drove and handled better then his current '04 Jimmy and '05 Grand Prix.

I will agree that some people buy a Cadillac only because it's a Cadillac, but I disagree with you saying that the quality and luxury are no longer present.

That I can also agree with. Though, now-a-days (and with the Internet's help), I think more and more people are researching there purchases before they buy them. It's just a question of are they getting the right advise or not. When it comes to cars built now-a-days, it is my opinion that they are mostly alike in quality. The main choices are the type of car (SUV, 2-door sports car, van, family-mobile), and the way it looks. Like I have said before, some people will gawk at the look of a $200,000 Ferrari, yet love a Pinto.
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I dont personally have much knowledge of the present Cadillac line. I have heard that the CTS is not much to brag about, depending on engine and drivetrain, IIRC. I briefly researched the line, read customer reviews, found a lot of dissatisfaction. Decided this whip was not for me.

Maybe I should have said that older Cadillacs were perceived as being very luxurious and high quality, and were largely purchased by people with money. Poorboys like me had to drive Fords and Chevrolets.

As a young man, I ogled the Mercedes Benz 300SLR and the Ferraris. Now I dont want the problems associated with ownership of a very expensive and perhaps temperamental car.
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I don't know much about Cadillac's either. They have never been my type of car.

I always drive the poorman's Cadillac. Pontiac's.

Mercedes' have never been my favorites. I do like a couple Ferraris', but I am a mostly domestic man.
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I owned a Mercedes 300D for a couple of years. It was not my choice, but a company car deal (hand me down from the president) and I did not have to pay for repairs. It was the most expensive car for service and parts and the dealer was, IMO, shafting al of the owners that took cars in to them. As a generalization, many Mercedes owners are older professional people that can afford them, but have little mechanical skills or interest. They were good at writing checks though and were getting hosed, IMO.
Three service calls they tried to greatly overcharge me with were: Problem 1: electric fan did not work. They replaced both fan and sensor When they could not show me the old fan and that it did not work, I got credit.
Problem 2 dead batter, will not start Replaced both alternator and battery. When they could not show me the alternator and how it was tested, the gave me a credit for it
Problem 3 cruise control dropped out Replaced a $700 control and it still dropped out. After I drew a diagram (I had a shop manual) of how the cruise control worked and why this part was not the problem, they replaced the $35 brake switch and credited the $700 control board.
It was a good handling car, but very high priced and expensive to own. When I changed jobs, a sale sign went on it the next day and I got a good price even with 185,000 miles. I'd never own one as my personal car unless I was that check writing professional making $400k a year.
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Tommy Kendall seems to be impressed with the Caddillac CTS. He drives a lot of cars and says it's one of his favourites. I believe the Caddillac is one of GM's platforms for engineering. Just my opinion though.
Blair

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