Archive for March, 2008

The Key to Automotive Profitability is Easier Than You Think

Monday, March 31st, 2008

2008 Ford Focus

Hardly a day goes by when an American automaker isn’t making an announcement that negatively impacts either the consumer or the workforce. Today was different. I would like to thank LeftLane News for bringing to focus a story about Ford, GM, and Chrysler. All three operations have seen what has historically been their respective worst years ever so far this decade. While decade isn’t over yet, it looks like they have “survived” the worst of it. But when we analyse the causes of this downfall of the Big 3, one place to look as at production.

Specifically, let’s look at the options list for the 2007 Ford Focus. According to Ford, the venerable Focus line had an astounding – wait for it – 100,000 different options combinations. 80% of sales came from just 4,000 or 4% of the available combinations. That means that 20% of sales required an extra retooling of 96,000 combinations. Talk about a money suck. And the problem got twice as bad when you went to the dealer because if you were a consumer smart enough to know what you wanted, you had the devil’s own job of getting exactly the car you wanted. That meant that Ford was forced to slash prices on vehicles sitting on the lot for not weeks, but MONTHS! The logistical headaches were more than enough reason for Ford to rethink how it produced and marketed its automobiles.

VW Coming to America – No, Really, It’s True!!!

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

VW Logo

Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced last year that it has changed its name to Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. The change will be fully effective January 1, 2008.

VW Scirocco

The new name better reflects the fact that the Volkswagen Group of America includes five distinct brands: Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Volkswagen, as well as the related financial services functions of Audi Financial Services, Bentley Financial Services and Volkswagen Credit.
“Our company, like the entire Volkswagen Group, has grown dramatically since our formation in the United States in 1955. Our new corporate name allows our individual brands to flourish, while recognizing that we have a common support structure that gives us great strength as we face our competitors,” said Stefan Jacoby, President and Chief Executive Officer. “The new name Volkswagen Group of America reflects the much wider array of goods and services we now offer, and prepares us for even more activities in the future.”


GM moves to the Eastern Bloc

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

GM and Uzbekistan to Make Cars

In recent years General Motors has been on a cost-cutting spree. Buyouts have come and gone, plant closings, especially in the USA, have occurred and product strategy has evolved. GM has not done away with large SUVs, but has spent some resources on reducing environmental impact. The environmental awareness has allowed them to produced increasingly smaller cars, including the Aveo, which is actually produced by Daewoo in Korea. Despite the poor valuation of the US dollar, or perhaps because of it, GM has been forced to expand manufacturing operations well beyond the American borders. To call GM an American company is as to call Toyota or Honda Japanese. All three players have substantial investments outside of their home countries.

Weekend Fun: The Most Expensive Bowl of Keys

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

Very Expensive Set of Keys

Found this site, courtesy of Mr. Brad Cain, and had to pass it along. Wishful thinking or pornography?