Posts Tagged ‘general motors’

Tesla Forgets the Lesson Toyota Taught GM in Fremont: “Build fast, fix later: speed hurts quality at Tesla”

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Read and learn, from NPR:

“At the old GM plant in Fremont, Calif., the system had been totally different and there was one cardinal rule that everyone knew: the assembly line could never stop.

“You just didn’t see the line stop,” Madrid said. “I saw a guy fall in the pit and they didn’t stop the line.”

Lee, the supervisor who oversaw the plant summed it up this way: “You saw a problem, you stopped that line: you were fired.”

As a result, vehicles at the plant had lots of defects. Haggerty saw all kinds of mistakes go right down the line.

“So we had Monte Carlos with Regal front ends and vice versa,” he recalled. There were cars with engines put in backwards, cars without steering wheels or brakes. Workers fixed them later in a yard outside — sometimes doing more damage to the vehicles.”

So those were the bad old days of GM in Fremont. But then came the Toyota Way of doing things during the NUMMI era:

At the NUMMI plant you can see Toyota’s solution to this — a thin nylon rope that hangs on hooks along the assembly line. It’s called the andon cord and when pulled, it will stop the line.

The first pull summons a team leader. Workers try to correct the problem on the line. If it takes too long to fix, the line stops. The andon cord also plays a surprisingly cheerful little song that workers can chose. For longtime GM workers who switched to the NUMMI system, all this was a revelation.

After two decades at the GM Fremont plant, Earl Ferguson flew to Japan to learn a whole new way of making cars.

When Madrid trained in Japan, he saw workers stop the line to fix a bolt.

“That impressed me,” he said. “I said, ‘Gee that makes sense.’ Fix it now so you don’t have to go through all this stuff. That’s when it dawned on me. We can do it. One bolt. One bolt changed my attitude.”

And guess what’s made at that very same factory down south in Fremont today – that’s right, Teslas:

After Tesla’s Model S sedans and Model X SUVs roll off the company’s Fremont, California assembly line, the electric vehicles usually make another stop – for repairs, nine current and former employees have told Reuters.

The luxury cars regularly require fixes before they can leave the factory, according to the workers. Quality checks have routinely revealed defects in more than 90 percent of Model S and Model X vehicles inspected after assembly, these individuals said, citing figures from Tesla’s internal tracking system as recently as October. Some of these people told Reuters of seeing problems as far back as 2012.

By now, the reader should have realized that New Tesla is sort of like Old GM.

Artist’s conception of Elon Musk wearing Mens crocs size XXL, if he ever were to do that and then pose awkwardly in/on an expensive vehicle that obviously didn’t fit him (or Arnold, or Gavin, or a lot of others who Wanted To Believe):

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Assembly Line Production of Self Driving Cars is Here: A Brand-New Bolt, One of 130 – Hayes Valley Meets Uncanny Valley

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Look what I saw coming out of Hayes Valley – it’s VEHT2079, a brand-new self-driving Chevy Bolt all the way from Orion Township, MI. It’s different. Notice the white thingamajigs above the front wheels:

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At first I thought it could have been a Project Titan from Apple, but no. It’s just an updated version of what we’ve seen for a while now.

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Of course that’s the human minder in the driver’s seat, but is that the robot in the passenger seat? Let’s ENHANCE:

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I’ll think of him as Frisco’s Star Trek Data, or Johnny Cab 2017, but you make the call, Gentle Reader

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Off they go, a boy and his robot:

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But not without a few Grove Street hassles. I mean, that’s what GM is doing here, a kind of driving torture test, right?

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And all this is just one block away from the Hayes Street block where Anthony Levandowski’s long-forgotten self-driving Pri-Bot used to get parked, right?

The Future is Now…

A Video Visit to NoPA! – The Gannett Bold Italic Plus General Motors Equals WTF – Selling $4 Toast to Tourists

Monday, March 31st, 2014

So let’s see here, for whom is this video?

Is it for tourists and people who lived in town for less than three weeks? Well, it has something to do with the Gannett Co. Inc The Bold Italic so the answer’s gotta be YES.

We’re selling Chevys here so that’s why the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid is featured so heavily of course, but who drives the one block from Alamo Square to the touristy part of Divisadero? Is this real life?

Oh, and here are two relevant  terms I happened to have learned in this particular decade, so they’re kind of new terms for things that have been around for a while:

1. Vocal Fry Register

2. Upper Thigh Gap (“Hey, stand in front of this white thing for contrast, or better yet, let’s put this white card right here, you know, temporarily, for contrast.” Is that how this worked?)

Hey Gannett, when are you going to make money in San Francisco, you know, to generate taxes to pay back the losses you’ve claimed on your ridiculous venture?

Just asking, corporate overlords.

Instead of doing this crap, why not do something real? This video shows why you’re a joke, The Bold Italic

OMG, the Cadillac Version of the Chevy Volt, the 2014 XLR is Pricey! $76k for a Plug-In Hybrid?

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Here it is, the amazingly-expensive 2014 Cadillac XLR, for just(!) $75999:

(Note absurdly-large 20-inch wheels, you know, for “luxury.”)

Sometimes I just don’t know…

Brad Pitt Made a Cadillac TV Commercial in SF and LA for the Chinese Market? – So Very Wrong

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

I don’t know, You Make The Call on how wrong this Cadillac commercial is:

Apparently, San Francisco and Los Angeles are the same place.

Apparently, Brad Pitt just looooooves grandpa cars.

Apparently, Brad Pitt is a whore and his price is $3,000,000.

Apparently.

Why is the Red Cross Driving Around San Francisco in Giant Hummer SUVs?

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Uh, I don’t know.

Presenting the big-on-the-outside, small-in-the-inside Hummer H3, the “Baby Hummer.”

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I can sort of see why GM donated this this vehicle, but nevertheless, sometimes, I just don’t know.

Wouldn’t a minivan be a better choice? I think so.

PS: We should have let GM die this time, you know, as opposed to waiting until next time…

Apparently, Nobody Wants to Buy the All-Electric CODA Automotive Sedan for $40K – Layoffs at Benicia “Assembly” Plant?

Friday, July 20th, 2012

I’ll tell you, the process of taking a very tired gasoline-engined Mitsubishi / Volvo economy car and plopping in a battery and an electric motor isn’t going so hot for CODA Automotive.

Get the updates here.

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Nobody’s buying this car.

Nobody’s releasing sales numbers for this car.

But, here you go, have at it and buy one today – I don’t care.

The “Bay Area-Made” Coda Automotive Electric Car Finally Gets Its Big Review in the New York Times – Uh Oh!

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Well, here it is, from the NYT’s Bradley Berman – it’s the big review of the little POS electric car that’s actually made in China but final-assembled in troubled Benicia, way out there in the eastern part of the North Bay.

Here’s your warning that things aren’t going so hot:

“The company even brought its chief executive from China. Coda hired Philip Murtaugh in 2011, a former top executive at the Chinese operations of General Motors and Chrysler. At the 2011 Los Angeles auto show, Mr. Murtaugh expressed concern over the reception for the car’s styling in the American market. First produced nearly about a decade ago, it gives the impression of a knockoff copy of a Y2K Nissan Sentra or Honda Civic. “The vehicle was chosen three years ago,” he told me. “I came in nine months ago. We couldn’t change it.

So, the reason why your state-subsidized vehicle sucks is Somebody Else’s Problem?

And then there’s this, the primary selling feature in some of the Coda ads, the large trunk:

“Yes, the trunk is cavernous, but I would gladly give up three inches of trunk depth for more legroom in the back seat.”

(The reason why the trunk is so big is that the Coda Sedan is actually a two-decade-old Mitsubishi Carisma designed for the European market, which, at the time, was in need of a little car with a big-ass trunk. Things didn’t work out, so the factory was shipped to China. I’m srsly.)

OK. Moving on.

To this:

“…difficult to accept the shortcomings of the Coda at its current price, despite its ability to grant 100 miles on a single charge.”

Yep.

Here it is. Actually it looks more like a 1992 Honda Civic 4-door sedan with giant aftermarket wheels, to my eyes: 

I’ve been telling you about this venture, this unholy alliance of Goldman Sachs execs (the people who brought us the failed WebVan, srsly, the same exact people), assorted federal government hangers-on (bureaucrats who know nothing about cars, electricity, or batteries or whatever), the People’s Republic of China, and other ne’er-do wells, for years now.

And then when the car comes out and its time for the Big Review from the sainted NYT (which had been pretty positive on this issue of this piece of junk), Coda Automotive gets a thumbs down.

Oh well.

That’s not much to show considering all the government subsidies this company is getting.

(And, mind you, this is after they lowered the MSRP down from the originally-planned $45,000(!), as I and host of others (the so-called haters) have been suggesting for a good long time.)

But at least twenty people in Benicia have jobs at the final assembly plant what are paying In-and-Out level wages….

Look at that S-Car Go! Comments Re: Today’s Bit on “Electric Cars” in the Chronicle – EL CHEVY VOLT NO ES UN COCHE ELECTRICO

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Here we go:

“After a year’s success in casting bankrupt Fremont solar maker Solyndra as the prototype for President Obama’s energy policies, Republicans now are targeting what they have dubbed “Obamacars.”

OBAMACARS? THAT’S A NEW ONE ON ME. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA INDEED HAS A PROBLEM ON HIS HANDS WITH THE VERY UNPOPULAR DETROIT BAILOUT. I’M NOT SAYING IT WAS HIS IDEA BUT HE CERTAINLY SUPPORTED IT AND IT WAS BAD IDEA, IMO. FOR SOME REASON, HAVING SOMETHING TO DO WITH OBAMA, GM MADE WILDLY UNREALISTIC FORECASTS FOR THE VOLT PLUG-IN HYBRID. OBVIOUSLY, THERE’S GOOD AND BAD FOR OBAMA TO BE SO INVOLVED WITH DETROIT.

For some GOP members of Congress, the Chevy Volt, made by General Motors, is a fire hazard and a job loser, while Palo Alto’s Tesla Motors is a crony capitalist purveyor of toy cars for Silicon Valley millionaires.

FIRE HAZARD? NO. JOB LOSER? NO. BUT CRONY CAPITALIST PURVEYOR OF TOY CARS FOR SILICON VALLEY MILLIONAIRES? YES! DING DING DING!

The campaign has tainted Energy Secretary and UC Berkeley physicist Steven Chu and his agency’s renewable energy loan programs, rupturing a consensus under former President George W. Bush, who started the programs to end America’s addiction to oil.

I DON’T KNOW IF THE CAMPAIGN DID THAT. WE’VE WASTED A LOT OF MONEY ON A LOT OF FEDERAL PROGRAMS – THIS IS TRUE WITH OR WITHOUT ANY CAMPAIGN.

But it may not stop the electric car. The assault has enraged General Motors. On March 1, the company opened an unprecedented campaign to re-introduce the Volt in California, the biggest U.S. auto market, even as it temporarily halted production because of slow sales.

THE CHEVY VOLT IS NOT AN “ELECTRIC CAR.” SORRY. IT’S A PLUG-IN HYBRID, IRL.

GM Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson has complained about the political atmosphere that surrounds the Volt.

UH, DOESN’T HE OWE HIS JOB TO THE “POLITICAL ATMOSPHERE?” I THINK SO.

“Sometimes I feel bad for President Obama,” he said this month after an appearance at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.

AWW. AND SOMETIMES SMITHERS FEELS BAD FOR MR. BURNS. SOMETIMES.

The automaker accused Republicans and the media of hyping claims that the car caught fire during testing, which forced temporary layoffs at the Volt plant in Detroit.

IF THE VOLT WERE WAAAAAY CHEAPER, IT WOULD SELL SOMEWHAT BETTER. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH NEWS OF FIRES. GM, FOR POLITICAL REASONS, WAS WAAAAAAAY OFF ON PREDICTIONS OF SALES FOR THIS MODEL.

Tesla, which received a $465 million Department of Energy loan, has dropped pursuit of new federal loans, raised private cash and plans in July to start deliveries of its $50,000 S car, claiming it is on its way to the mass car market.

LOOK AT THAT S CAR GO! OR YOU COULD CALL IT THE TYPE S, AS TESLA DOES. AND HOW ABOUT $57,400 FOR THE BASE PRICE OF THE STRIPPER MODEL S, YOU KNOW, INSTEAD OF “$50,000?”

“We applied during the Bush administration, and we were approved under the Obama administration, so as far as we’re concerned, we at least had a bipartisan relationship for the loan,” said Tesla spokesman Ricardo Reyes. “We got one of first loans and we used it to build the car that is now going into production in a U.S.-based facility. … I’d like to think we’re pretty much a case study on what the loan program was designed to do.”

THE FEDS SHOULD NOT HAVE PUT ANY MONEY INTO TESLA. SORRY.

Showing photos of a charred Volt, a panel of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista (San Diego County), held a hearing in January called “Volt Vehicle Fire: What Did NHTSA Know and When Did They Know It.”

NOW WE’RE INTO THE POLITICS. BUT I THINK ELEMENTS OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION PLAY THE EXACT SAME GAME, RIGHT?

“Without a doubt, the antics have hurt sales, which has probably contributed to the need to shut down the plant for a few weeks and temporarily lay off 1,300 employees,” said GM spokesman Shad Balch. “It’s just blatantly wrong information. You get some of these folks on national news shows making outrageous statements about batteries catching on fire and cars randomly exploding.”

THE “BLATANTLY WRONG INFORMATION” ABOUT THE VOLT MOSTLY COMES FROM GM. MOSTLY. THE VOLT IS AN UNPOPULAR CAR. DEAL WITH IT, GM. WHAT IF THERE WERE A HEARING SOMEWWHERE IN DC ABOUT EXPLODING APPLE IPADS? DO YOU ALL THINK THAT WOULD MAKE THE IPAD AN UNPOPULAR PRODUCT ALL OF A SUDDEN? THE EXPENSIVE VOLT IS THE EXPENSIVE VOLT. DEAL WITH IT.

An independent analyst at TrueCar.com, a new-vehicle pricing and research firm, said what is slowing Volt sales is GM’s failure to tout its economics as gasoline prices soar past $4 a gallon.

TRUECAR.COM IS A BIG POS OF A WEBSITE. WHY IS IT BEING CITED IN THIS FASHION?

The Energy Department’s loan programs have been plagued by politicization, bankruptcies and bureaucratic bungling.

OH, HEY. HEY, THAT SHOULD BE THE HEADLINE. NOW YOU’RE ON THE TROLLEY!

Electric car maker Fiskar Automotive of Anaheim, which produces the luxury Karma in Finland and is aiming to produce a mass market “Project Nina” car in the United States, was approved for a $529 million loan guarantee. But it has drawn down just $193 million and was blocked in May by the Energy Department from further disbursements for failure to meet project milestones. It has stopped work at its Delaware plant.

WHAT A FIASCO. WHY DO WE GIVE MONEY TO CARMAKERS?

Toprak of Truecar.com said the 18,000 electric cars sold in the United States last year, mostly the Volt and the Nissan Leaf, make up just one-tenth of 1 percent of new car sales.

TO REPEAT, THE VOLT IS NOT AN “ELECTRIC CAR.” REPETICION: EL CHEVY VOLT NO ES UN COCHE ELECTRICO. IT WAS GOING TO BE, BUT THEN THINGS CHANGED.

OH WELL>

What the Chevy Volt looked like back when it really was an electric car. As seen on Market Street in San Francisco back in 2008:

Later on they added in a gas engine and they made it look lame and then they jacked up the price waaaaaay high.

Oh well.

That’s GM for you…

How’s That General Motors Bailout Going? The Value of GM is Down By About Half During 2011, So Far, YTD

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Why on Earth do we subsidize car production?

What’s so special about it?

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Maybe GM deserves to die?