I'm cross-posting this in alt.autos.gm with the hope that GM will
improve its quality of manufacturing and avoid bankruptcy.
The latter half of the following Detroit News excerpt is especially
helpful to GM.
From the Detroit News:
Toyota officials say the key to their system is that it taps the
knowledge and insights of their team members.
They also give them a lot of training and responsibility. At Georgetown, or
any Toyota plant, any team member has the power to stop the line by pulling
what is called an "andon" cord. The term "andon" is derived from the
Japanese word for paper lantern.
Once a worker pulls the cord, if the problem is not resolved before the
car reaches the next stage of assembly, the line stops.
"It may hurt productivity, but it improves quality," said Brian
Walters, J.D. Power research director.
Toyota encourages employees to pull the cord, despite the line stoppages, to
expose problems and address them quickly. In Georgetown, workers reach for
their cords 2,500 times a shift, and stoppages amount to 6-8 minutes per
But, plant manager Convis said, "at Toyota, it's a problem if you run
(the line) at 100 percent. Something isn't adding up, because life
isn't (perfect) like that."
For the past year and a half, andon cords have hung along the assembly
lines at GM's Oshawa plant. But the concept can get muddled in translation.
"We used to get 17 andon pulls per day," said Rod McVeigh, a supervisor
in the assembly plant. "We're now targeting six a day."
But that might encourage workers to look out less for glitches.
Dennis Pawley, Chrysler's former manufacturing chief and now a consultant
teaching Japanese manufacturing methods, says of the
Big Three: "They don't understand that they don't understand."
The only Toyota truck made in the US is their small truck that is assembled
in the GM/Toyota plant in California. GM, Ford and Dodge make the vast
majority of the trucks they sell in the US, in the US of American parts.
Currently Daimler Chrysler assembles all of their Dodge RAM trucks in
Mexico. The so called new "Hemi" engine is also assembled in Mexico...
Would you care to check your facts and maybe restate your position?
I can remember the new-car market of the 1950's and the 1960's.
You'd drive your new car home from the Ford or Chevy dealers,
and START YOUR LIST of things that the dealer would have to correct.
Folks bragged about 30 > 40 item lists like they'd brag about gas mileage.
Many cars went back to the dealers three and four times...
to finish the engineering/assembly that should have been done in the factory.
The "Big Three" had American consumers convinced that this was the norm.
It took Japanese imports to educate Americans
that cars COULD be built carefully, and completely.
And if it weren''t for the likes of Toyota, you'd still be
taking your car and lists back to the Chevy dealer.
I agree, Adam. Only GM could put GM out of business--more
specifically GM management.
And as a proud American, let me say that GM management is coming
awfully close with a Total Debt to Equity ratio of a whopping
12 to 1.
The way for GM Management to cut down the company's
huge, huge 278 billion dollars of debt is to improve quality.
Whaddya say we make tomorrow "Andon Pulling Day!" Everybody at
Oshawa, pull that Andon tomorrow and teach Management they need to pay
attention to quality, not just give it lip service.
Our family Owns GM cars and trucks (as well as several Toyotas) so I
don't want to see GM go under - it's bad for parts availability. But
they're trying to set a lower target for Quality related line stops?
What madness is this?
GM is going to put GM out of business all by themselves, simply
through pure Dumbth. The troubles that Delphi is going through right
now should be recognized as GM's "Canary in a Coal Mine", their 'Clue
If there's a problem with a car, you stop the line and try to fix it
on the line, before giving up and flagging it for an expensive trip to
the rework shop. And then you have to analyze what went wrong, and
devise a solution to keep it from happening again.
They're about to go under if from no other reason than the
sweetheart contracts the UAW has squeezed out of them.
Maintenance workers "Job Banked" and sitting around half the year,
only working when the lines go down for change-overs or emergencies.
Find them something useful to do the rest of the time, like the
regular maintenance work at the offices and factories. Form a
contracting division, and hire them out locally. Or schedule your
line change-overs better - schedule the work staggered through the
year, and have a traveling crew rotate between the plants. Hotel
rooms per-diem and transportation for the workers has to be cheaper
than "Job Bank".
I predict the only way for GM to remain viable is to go Bankrupt and
destroy a bunch of investors and retirees who thought that GM stock
was a bedrock. Default on all the under-funded pensions and toss them
to the Federal Benefit Guarantee insurance which will destroy all the
GM retirees, toss the other retiree benefits like Medical. Rework the
current labor contracts to reflect reality. And slash their offerings
in the marketplace (toss a nameplate or two overboard) which will
destroy a bunch of dealerships. There's no clean way to do this.
And if they don't really get the idea on Quality, and fast, even
that won't save them. The Domestic makers - GM, Ford and Daimler
Chrysler - have gotten far better at building solid cars in the last
10 to 15 years, but they simply can't hold a candle to Toyota or the
other Asian marques, where Quality is not just a buzzword.
If you don't build cars that people want to buy, it's not the
buyers' fault. The SSR and some newer offerings look interesting, but
they might be too little, too late.
If you lose money on every car, you can't "make it up on volume".
And they were trying to make it all by building lots of high-margin
SUV's and Trucks - till gas prices spiked and that market died.
--<< Bruce >>--
Posted from a.a.Toyota
Bruce L. Bergman, Woodland Hills (Los Angeles) CA - Desktop
Electrician for Westend Electric - CA726700
Another idiot that thinks Jap scrap is better quality. For your info they
are no better than anyone else in quality. I was a mechanic at a jap dealer
and they line up for repairs just as much as a domestic dealer.
The data I have seen would indicate Toyota and Honda to have in
the order of a half percent problems, Volkswagen about twice that,
and some GM models in between. Doesn't seem like much, but they
also don't tell much about how these data were obtained and how
well the problems were resolved by the manufacturer. The dissatisfaction
with GM and Ford seems to go deeper than just this statistic.
But I'll agree that the car lineup has not endeared itself to many in the
USA, and the union agreements (a parameter related to poor management
practices as well) seem to drain the lifeforce from these companies.
At the moment GM & Ford's lineups suck. They are trying to make
something that isn't American. Economy cars are something that the
Japanese do extremely well (good for poor people). Europeans make
cars that are wonderfully built for narrow substandard roads (but if
you think American cars are unreliable as they age you should look at
BMW electronics and auto transmissions as they age......).
GM & Ford do fairly well with their cars produced in Canada (Gov't
health care lightens the retirement millstone around their neck).
Ford and GM for some reason continue avoiding building what Americans
want and love. Big, Powerful, Safe & Reliable cars. Instead we're
relegated to buying trucks to get what we want. Most amazing of all
the "never say die" Bankruptcy king Chrysler is leading the way. 300,
Magnum, Charger, etc. One would think that with Ford's success in the
new Mustang they could see what needs to be done but.....
Don't count the Big 3 out, just recall how Ford turned around in the
PS When the Police and Cabbies start driving Toyota's and Suzuki's
I'll begin to accept that Japanese quality extends beyond "initial
Several years ago the NYC Taxi Commission permitted a three year test to
judge FWD cars and minivans for suitability as taxis in the city. Taxi
companies bought domestic and foreign brands for use as taxis, hoping to
same money. Within three months they were showing up in repair shops.
Within two years nearly 90% had been taken out of service. At the end of the
test only RWD vehicles were allowed to be use as Taxis in NYC..
The average NYC CV Taxi has on 300,000,000 miles on the clock and some are
run up to a million miles before being replaced. Many actually start out as
former police vehicles..When I still owned my fleet service business Ford
had around 80% of the corporate fleet business on the east cost. Our
meticulous maintenance records over many years showed that Ford vehicles
were the most cost effect to own, long term, based on the cost of
acquisition, insurance, maintenance, repair, parts and vehicle replacement
costs. No other manufacture even came close in that regard. I was that
experience that led me to switch for Lexus V8s I had been buying to the
Lincoln LS V8 in 1999. The kicker was I saved nearly enough money switching
that I was able to buy my first in a series of Mustang GT convertibles ;)
The problem is that most of us don't care if a car can go a million miles if
you keep on replacing parts. Most of us just want cars that will go 100,000
miles without replacing any parts. That is why the imports are winning.
The point was those CV hold up better than ANY of the FWD vehicles tested
for use in sever Taxi service, foreign or domestic. Any vehicle on the
market today can easily run to 200K trouble free, given minimal maintenance.
I own a half dozen old cars that are in great condition with anywhere for
110K to 300K on the clock.
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