John Brown SuperDork
Sept. 30, 2009 2:32 p.m.
http://www.autonews.com/article/20090930/ANA02/909309985/1261 said: DETROIT -- Bob Kruse, one of the key architects of General Motors' Chevrolet Volt program, quit his position Tuesday to start a consulting firm. The plug-in Volt hybrid is widely viewed as one of the most important vehicle launches in GM's history. The debut is schedule to take place late next year and could define GM's role in the global competition among new green car vehicles. Kruse, 50, told The Detroit News in a story published today he will help automakers and suppliers with engineering for hybrid and electric vehicles. GM named Micky Bly to replace Kruse as GM's executive director of vehicle engineering for hybrids, electric vehicles and batteries. Bly, a GM engineering veteran, recently worked on the Two Mode hybrid transmission, small-displacement engines and the electronic controls used in hybrid powertrains. Kruse's departure won't affect the launch of the Volt, a GM spokesman said today. “It's never a good time to lose talented people,” spokesman Brian Corbett said of Kruse's departure. “But we've got a deep bench when it comes to the Volt.” Bly was an original member of the Volt's engineering team who was instrumental in testing early versions of the car's powertrain in Chevrolet Malibu-based mule vehicles, Corbett said. Kruse told The News that he plans to help his clients land $1.3 billion in federal grants available to companies working on electric vehicles and advanced batteries. Bly is the third executive to run the Volt program. Shortly after GM announced the Volt would be produced, Hans-Georg Frischkorn, a former BMW electrical engineer, was given the top job. He was replaced by Kruse in January 2008. “Micky and Bob worked together for the month of September to make sure there was a smooth transition,” Corbett said. Bly also will oversee GM's hybrid-vehicle battery production, scheduled to start next year in a new plant south of Detroit.
integraguy HalfDork
Sept. 30, 2009 2:55 p.m.

While it is unusual for someone to quit GM, and go to work for themselves, will this really doom GM? I'm a bit more concerned that "everyone" is placing the entire fate of the company on 1 car.

I drove a Pontiac G6 rent-a-car a few months ago and while I thought it was a great car (actually, I think if I was buying a GM I'd go for the Malibu or Aura) I wasn't sure it was THAT much more compelling than a Camry.

What am I getting at? I think nowadays, as these companies shrink, the dealers will more and more determine if the customer goes out the door with the keys to a new car or his old keys. I like Fords, but their dealers/salespeople are "spotty".

skruffy
skruffy Dork
Sept. 30, 2009 2:56 p.m.

I don't get it. Why will this make GM fail?

John Brown SuperDork
Sept. 30, 2009 3:44 p.m.

This is the third "Team Leader" for one project that is taking more than 3 years to get through the engineering phase.

The people that "run" these programs all become wealthy enough to break out on their own with multimillion dollar walkaway clauses.

Too many Chiefs.

Too long of a turn around time on new products.

Too much wasted resources on projects that will never go anywhere.

Too much wasted resources on unimproveable processes.

I am pointing out that the corporation can not improve until the people running the corporation work smarter.

blizazer
blizazer New Reader
Sept. 30, 2009 4:32 p.m.

Doesn't worry me.

andrave HalfDork
Sept. 30, 2009 4:48 p.m.

youre that worried about a 3 year engineering time?

isn't that a somewhat modest amount of time to develop an all new car with a drivetrain unlike anything you've ever produced before?

Shaun Reader
Sept. 30, 2009 5:27 p.m.

GM may well fail, but the fact that the "executive director of vehicle engineering for hybrids, electric vehicles and batteries" is new for the third time is 4-5 years is not an indicator IMO. GM getting out from under all the debt and the gigantor medical and pension overhead could well do wonders in allowing them to be competitive. 52% market share is never going to happen again, but I bet GM is alive and well in 25 years.

belteshazzar SuperDork
Sept. 30, 2009 7:08 p.m.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/GM-to-shut-down-Saturn-after-apf-433359878.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=main&asset=&ccode=

ignorant SuperDork
Sept. 30, 2009 7:19 p.m.

vaporware

mad_machine SuperDork
Oct. 1, 2009 2:04 a.m.

does seem a bit odd to base the success of your business on one car.

Did not stop VW from going from dying to expanding when the new beetle came out though

Oct. 1, 2009 6:13 a.m.
John Brown wrote: I am pointing out that specifically GM can not improve until the people running specifically GM work smarter...AND QUIT DI_KING AROUND WITH STUPID ASS IDEAS LIKE A HALO CAR THAT NO ONE WANTS

fixed and FTMFW!!!!!!!

Raze Reader
Oct. 1, 2009 6:35 a.m.
mad_machine wrote: does seem a bit odd to base the success of your business on one car.

Um, if we talk airplanes for a second, Boeing, think 707, and look at the result we have today...

John Brown SuperDork
Oct. 1, 2009 6:37 a.m.
mad_machine wrote: does seem a bit odd to base the success of your business on one car.

Like they didn't do that with Pickups and Large SUVs?

John Brown SuperDork
Oct. 7, 2009 4:40 p.m.
http://www.autonews.com/article/20091007/ANA05/910079997/1018 said: GM's U.S. sales boss Mark LaNeve to leave Oct. 15 Henderson says GM may go outside to fill the job Jamie LaReau Automotive News October 7, 2009 - 10:28 am ET UPDATED: 10/7/09 2:21 p.m. ET DETROIT -- General Motors Co.'s head of U.S. sales, Mark LaNeve, is resigning effective Oct. 15 as the automaker continues to struggle with one of the worst years in U.S. sales history. Subscribe to Automotive News “Mark's going to join another company to pursue an interest outside the auto industry,” GM CEO Fritz Henderson said during a conference call this morning. LaNeve, 50, was appointed vice president of vehicle sales, service and marketing in 2005. In July of this year, GM handed over marketing duties to Vice Chairman Bob Lutz after the automaker emerged from 39 days in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. LaNeve's departure comes after GM's U.S. sales plunged 36 percent during the first nine months of 2009 compared with the same period last year. Total industry sales have fallen 27 percent over that period. The annual U.S. sales rate in September -- 9.51 million vehicles -- remained near 27-year lows. “It's a sad day for the dealer body,” said John Rogin, owner of Rogin Buick in suburban Detroit. “I felt GM had its best chance with him. He was a great leader and inspirational. Hopefully the rest of management will stay intact.” Filling the void GM has not appointed a replacement for LaNeve. Henderson said the company will make some changes in its sales division as it replaces LaNeve. “We are open to bringing in outside talent,” Henderson said. “We are working with Washington to finalize how we pay people and our compensation packages. Prior to bringing in people from the outside, we need to be able to explain how we pay people.” Henderson said that doesn't mean GM will definitely replace LaNeve from the outside. It just means it is an option. “We need to move on the sales job, and we'll consider all our options,” Henderson said. “I do think there's a benefit to us bringing in people from the outside in all areas of our company.” Until GM replaces LaNeve, Jim Bunnell will continue to head GM's dealership consolidation plans. Bunnell is executive director of sales operations. LaNeve began his career at GM, serving as brand manager for the Pontiac Bonneville and working for Cadillac. He left in 1997 to become vice president of marketing and later CEO of Volvo Cars of North America. He returned in May 2001 as general manager of Cadillac and became GM North America vice president of marketing and advertising in September 2004. Rocking Cadillac Although he arrived from Volvo after Cadillac's turnaround strategy was in place, LaNeve moved it forward aggressively. Most notably, he replaced lackluster advertising efforts with the "Break Through" advertising campaign featuring Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" -- a sharp departure for the geriatric brand. Moving to head GM advertising and then overall North American sales and marketing, LaNeve tried to remold GM's pricing structure by cutting sticker prices and incentives. The move was, in part, aimed to improve residuals, which are calculated on sticker price rather than selling price, penalizing companies that heavily discount vehicles. That was part of a larger effort to strengthen GM's brand images and gain consideration from non-GM owners. But despite some progress in cutting incentives and fleet sales, GM had to resort to massive incentive programs like "Employee Price for Everyone" in the summer of 2005, reinforcing its image as a deep discounter. Under LaNeve, GM launched some high-quality cars that got successful marketing such as the Chevrolet Malibu and Chevrolet Camaro. But GM's marketing also drew criticism -- some from within the company -- when acclaimed vehicles like the Saturn Aura, launched in 2006, failed to meet expectations. The Aura won North American Car of the year in 2007. GM hoped the Aura would sell over 100,000 units annually, but its full-year sales averaged just under 60,000. GM will be winding down the Saturn brand by next year. Under LaNeve's watch dealers often complained their margins were narrowed. But on a positive note, his discipline on fleet sales and incentive spending lead to steadily growing transaction prices and residual values year after year. LaNeve will likely be most remembered for being the one to terminate 1,350 dealerships nationwide during GM's 39 days in bankruptcy court this past summer. Calling it one of the hardest things he's ever had to do, LaNeve insisted that the move will increase individual dealers' sales, allowing them to better reinvest in their stores and improve GM's brands overall. Time will tell if LaNeve's prediction will hold true. Dave Guilford and Chrissie Thompson contributed to this report PRESS RELEASE: Fritz Henderson Statement Regarding Mark LaNeve It's with very mixed emotions that confirm that Mark LaNeve has elected to leave General Motors on October 15 to pursue another opportunity with a non-automotive company. Mark has contributed significantly to GM in several key positions, including transforming the Cadillac brand and leading the vehicle sales, service and marketing organization during one of the most challenging periods in GM's history. I'd like to thank Mark for his dedication and wish him and his family well as he moves to a key position at another company. A replacement for Mark will be named at a later date. In the interim, Jim Bunnell, general manager, U.S. sales, and his team will continue to follow through with GM's dealer network plans. You can reach Jamie LaReau at jlareau@crain.com

Another top honcho to leave GM.

I want a parachute too!

4eyes New Reader
Oct. 7, 2009 6:50 p.m.

GM has a track record of stopping production after they get a car design fixed. Think Fiero, they watered down the design, had spotty quality. When they finaly produced something close to the design (a mid-engine turbo 6cyl.) the Fiero GT, it had so much E36 M3ty baggage from the earlier versions, it sold poorly. If they had produced the origional design it would have been an awsome car, almost a world beater, but was shelved because it would have run circles around the 'Vette. Current example the Solstice GT.

maroon92 SuperDork
Oct. 7, 2009 9:13 p.m.

There was never a turbo 6 cyl. Fiero...if there was, I would have one NOW!

the Solstice is being canned because it (specifically that model), and Pontiac (generally as a brand) were not profitable, not because of corporate in-fighting involving competitiveness with the Corvette. I have driven both, there is almost no comparison.

mad_machine SuperDork
Oct. 7, 2009 11:16 p.m.
4eyes wrote: GM has a track record of stopping production after they get a car design fixed. Think Fiero, they watered down the design, had spotty quality. When they finaly produced something close to the design (a mid-engine turbo 6cyl.) the Fiero GT, it had so much E36 M3ty baggage from the earlier versions, it sold poorly. If they had produced the origional design it would have been an awsome car, almost a world beater, but was shelved because it would have run circles around the 'Vette. Current example the Solstice GT.

the fiero had a bipolar personality from the word go. I have read that the GM execs could never decide on wether to make it a real sports car, or a cheap (and funish) commuter

Trans_Maro HalfDork
Oct. 8, 2009 12:59 a.m.

I have the history book on the Fiero.

GM brass wouldn't approve Pontiac to make a 2-seat sports car so it was brought in with the weak little 4-banger and it got 40-ish mpg with the economy diff gears that almost no-one actually ordered. (I could be wrong on the figure but it was damn impressive)

Just found the info:

With the 4-speed and 3.32:1 final drive it got 50/31mpg

The more common 4-speed and 4.10:1 final drive gave you 42/26mpg

The autobox gave 37/25mpg

The idea was to introduce it as an economy car and then have it evolve into a "porsche eater" according to John Sawruk.

There were plans for a turbocharged six as well as some different 4-bangers including the Quad-4. Supposedly they were working with Porsche on engines for the little beast.

They also played with the turbo 1.8 from the Sunbird.

I have the book open to the pics of the aluminum turbo 2.9 six right now. It was making about 235hp apparently.

They also played with a convertible and a 2+2 design.

The Fiero got killed off by the allegedly untrue "Thou shalt not mess with the Corvette" edict at GM.

They claim production ceased because of low sales numbers but it was outselling the Corvette in it's final year.

Considering the fuel economy of this little beast, what could they have done with another 20 years of development? Oh, wait, someone here is busy doing it :)

Shawn

mad_machine SuperDork
Oct. 8, 2009 1:38 a.m.

I always liked the fiero.. and I keep toying with the idea of dropping a VW TDI into one as a commuter

plance1 HalfDork
Oct. 8, 2009 8:36 p.m.

You want to know why GM will continue to fail? Go sit in one of their cadillacs, the smaller model, whatever its called. I rented a car the other day and by the time I got there they had the cad or a truck so I took the cadillac, the second time I have driven one. No seat heaters. No seat heaters in a luxury car. Think about that. As you sit in the driver's seat thinking about that, you will notice that your right knee will be hitting the dashboard. Yup, actually hitting the dashboard (Im 5-9 by the way, certainly no giant.) So GM puts out a car, it wins all kinds of awards, it looks cool, the high performance version with the corvette engine is supposedly the bomb. But this one sounded like a blender and it was hard to see out of. Glad it was a short trip.

DoctorBlade New Reader
Oct. 8, 2009 8:39 p.m.

No Seat Heaters? What Cads!

mad_machine SuperDork
Oct. 8, 2009 9:51 p.m.

you had a rental car.. no doubt specced as cheap as they could.

Personally I LOVE seat heaters. I feel like a lizard on a heatrock

seeker589 New Reader
Oct. 8, 2009 10:05 p.m.

EVERYONE is replaceable. If not directly - by re-assigning tasks to other talent or finding another way to skin a cat.

John Brown - Do you want GM to fail? You seem to relish in reporting a hic-up in their plans. Did they wrong you in some personal way? Or are you a fan of the manufacturer and wish us to commiserate with you?

irish44j Reader
Oct. 8, 2009 10:22 p.m.

GM can go to hell after being so dumb to axe the new solstice GT coupe.....at least rebadge it, that car is the best-looking thing Detroit has put out in a decade...wtf.

The one car in their current lineup that I would be eager to buy in a year or two once the wrx is paid off....

irish44j Reader
Oct. 8, 2009 10:25 p.m.
plance1 wrote: You want to know why GM will continue to fail? Go sit in one of their cadillacs, the smaller model, whatever its called. I rented a car the other day and by the time I got there they had the cad or a truck so I took the cadillac, the second time I have driven one. No seat heaters. No seat heaters in a luxury car. Think about that. out of. Glad it was a short trip.

That is kind of pathetic considering even my WRX has stock seat heaters (and heated mirrors and windshield wiper de-icers).....and the WRX is a car with virtually NO luxury feel to it at all...

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