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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
GM finally make the first steps for its Global product development, that mean that the autonomy of its regions is considerably reduced.....for instance since the implementation of the Viggen project in Trohllattan in 2003, one step was the introduction of the GMS(gobal manufacturing system) of GM in the plant, with big investments in retooling and process changes, the results at the moment are that Saab just, since 2003 it reduced its quality and in the stadistics its under the Industry Average.

The big issue, is what will happen with Saab added value of its products and the brand image. If Saab takes an important paper in the development of the basic engineering of the new architectures, then would be a faith for a good Saabs in the future, but if Saab only will have front facia and some different slight touches made by the Saab brand Center, and all the engineering is made by others that didn't offer the innovation, functionality of Saab, then Saab will become another simply brand.

If the way is as it happens to the 2006 9-5, that has the interior climate and audio panels/controls as some other GM products and cheap versions, then, where is the added value of Saab?? why we pay for a Saab?? where is the functionality and rationalism, simplicity engineering?? that's the big Threat for Saab, if GM can manage it and understand it, the economics of scale, Trollhattan engineering center and Saab loyalty customers, and experience in many issues as Turbo petrol engines that are becoming the future for the next years, safety,aerodinamics, electronic/electrical systems, security, chassis.... then could be a good oportunity for Saab and GM to make a strong and competitive products in a wide range.

At the moment, since 2003 and with the new viggen program and the globalized engineering, the Trollhattan engineering center loosed about 450 engineers and some departments are closing.

it seems that the idea is to become similar to VW-Audi, many common parts but the important issues are locally engineered.

At GM, global is finally a go
Regions lose autonomy, but vehicles will at last be built on common architectures

General Motors has promised to run product development globally in the past. This time it's actually happening.

After several false starts, GM is assigning global programs to different vehicle development centers around the world.

The automaker now has globalized engineering, design, information systems and manufacturing, with global operating and capital budgets.

For instance, engineering work on the next generation of vehicles on the mid-sized, front-wheel-drive Epsilon architecture -- including the Chevrolet Malibu and Pontiac G6 -- now is led by GM's German unit in Ruesselsheim.

The goal is that vehicles on Epsilon 2 built around the world will share dimensions, components and manufacturing processes.

If necessary, they could be built in the same plant. Epsilon 2 is scheduled to debut in the 2009 model year.

The automaker has tried this before. GM executives touted the company's initial Epsilon architecture, and the fwd, small-car Delta architecture, as global platforms. But GM failed to deliver.

Adam Opel AG rejected Delta for its Astra small car. And each region that used Epsilon modified it, adding cost and making the vehicles just different enough that parts and production systems weren't interchangeable.

"Today's Epsilon is not interbuildable," GM Vice Chairman Robert Lutz admitted this year.

"We call them all Epsilon, but Saabs can't be built in a German Epsilon plant.

"German Epsilons can't be built in a Saab plant. Malibu and G6 couldn't be built in Europe. (Opel) Vectra couldn't be built in the United States."

To remedy the problem, GM has taken considerable autonomy away from regional presidents. In March, GM created the Automotive Product Board to keep an eye on the process. For better or worse, the board is meant to ensure that the variations of the past no longer can occur.

To take advantage of economies in purchasing, vehicles built on global architectures will have identical parts and connecting points under the skin, GM promises. Plug-and-play is the goal.

GM uses the term "architecture" to signify a set of common components, performance characteristics, a common manufacturing process, a range of dimensions and connecting points for key component systems.

Problems with G6

One car -- the G6 -- prompted the new push for truly global design.

GM engineers in North America wanted to create a convertible version of the G6. But they couldn't use the Saab 9-3 convertible as the basis for the G6, even though both are based on Epsilon.

Saab engineers had changed the points that attach the vehicle to the assembly line, GM Chairman Rick Wagoner said at the Geneva auto show in March. The product board will "clean up those kinds of things," Wagoner said.

To coordinate its transformation, GM appointed Jon Lauckner to the newly created post of vice president of global program management on May 1. Lauckner was a global vehicle line executive on the Epsilon program, coordinating development of products for Europe and North America.

GM created Lauckner's position to reduce overlaps in engineering and purchasing and to cut lead times.

Technically, GM's virtual reality centers in different regions, along with increasingly powerful computer connections, will enable teams to collaborate globally to design and engineer vehicles, executives say. That will allow different regions to influence product decisions.

GM's four regions are North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America/Africa/Middle East.

Borrowing from Opel

Saturn's next wave of North American products will include vehicles built on the Epsilon and Delta small-vehicle fwd architectures, but they will be engineered and styled with the help of Opel in Germany.

Now Opel will develop as many as three models that could be sold under its own name in Europe and as Saturns in North America.

Theta, GM's next-generation sport wagons, will expand with engineering help from GM Daewoo & Technology in South Korea.

Everything is on the table. Global is finally a go.

"We will be able to build a Buick Epsilon in China, a Saab Epsilon in Korea or the United States," Lutz promises. "Once we get identical parts, we have these enormous savings in worldwide parts buying

source; automotive news
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
BMW and Mercedes build cars in China, 5series and e-class, for the China market, sooner or later, when China have a better capability in logistics and better suppliers it will be easy that those models build in China will go to USA, Europe or other regions....
 
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What I got out of this article:

One day I will be able to take the hood off of a Malibu and it will fit perfectly on my Saab. If I ever need a new engine I'll just rip it out of some Pontiac and put it in my 9-5.
I know those are extreme examples but it seems that GM is just trying to take the unique-ness out of their different brand divisions and make monotonous automobiles.
 

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I think there's a bit of dramatisation going on here.

The parts sharing they'd be talking about is a lot of the stuff you don't see. Clips, wiring etc etc. The sheetmetal would be based on the individual designs for the car. Your Pontiac hood isn't going to be interchangeable with a Saab.

The biggest point of the article was the commonality between the platform from country to country. Saab changed Epsilon so that they could run it through their production line in a particular way. This change meant that it can't be run anywhere else. It's differences like that that they'll be trying to overcome.

As long as Saab engineers can still design distinct handling and performance characteristics into the car, then more power to em.
 

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My biggest concern is actually the notorious SAAB safety going by the wayside. For instance the new 9-3 shares a platform with the Chevy Malibu. I saw a malibu that was involved in a fatal head on collision. The way that the body was crumpled, or lack there of, indicated to me that the car was poorly designed. You could tell that the driver took way more force of impact than they should have. So does the new SAAB have the same poor characteristics? If it does not at this point, will it once things are "globalized".
 

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DougR said:
So does the new SAAB have the same poor characteristics? If it does not at this point, will it once things are "globalized".
The Saab has proven to be one of the safest (if not the safest) cars of its size in the world. So I think that pretty much proves you wrong, if its brethren are unsafe (I don't know about that).
 

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Swade said:
I think there's a bit of dramatisation going on here.
As long as Saab engineers can still design distinct handling and performance characteristics into the car, then more power to em.
I agree. I think we're past simple badge engineering, AND nearly all modern cars are so much better in terms of handling and overall quality than they were even 10 years ago. I don't have a problem with a platform-derived car, it makes sense in many ways. I think in short time manufacturers will learn how to hide the commonalities even more (or we could just stop reading Saab Bulletin boards and remain blissfully ignorant). :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
in the Epsilon Saab spend some money to make big changes, for example to reinforce the rigidity of the chassis. The Vectra has 18000NM/grade and the Saab 22000NM/grade of torsional rigidity...

The common parts not only will be clips or minor parts....also will be some big parts as could be, doors, mirrors or something quite important that make influence in the capabilities of the car in some issues.

for example, we talk about the electric system.....it wouldn't be strange that the EpsilonII will have a less powerful electric system than the EpsilonI.....

take a look at the Cadillac BLS and the 9-3ss.......that could be an example of a badge engineering but higly modified exterior and some interior and mechanical changes, I hope that this will not happen, but if the intention is to have the maximum of scale economics then is the solution that GM is searching. I Hope i will be mistaked.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
the synergies and Engineering center or teams, are goos because you can reduce costs, not only thanks to synergies and common parts that givees you a more volume and purchase power, scale economics.....the idea is to share technology and spend the money for something that gives you the real competitiveness. If Saab is good in turbo, safety, electronic, chassis, functionality, they must spend the resources on that issues they are good, and let to others design and develope the diesels and other issues that Saab hasn't many experience, but not all the design or development, because then you never will take experience or know-how and then you more dependant from the others, that's one of the issues we will see in the future with the new structure of GM. When Opel has a recall, there will be many numbers that Saab also must have this problem, if Opel has some problem, in his factory, engineering or something else, the conection with Saab or other brands and engineering centers will be afected.

Saab will have more time and money to spend in that he is good, but the problem is how many autonomy and flexibility would have Saab to develope and adapt the basic design he developed jointly with others to the requirements that Saab needs.
 
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