Posts Tagged ‘gm’

The Goats of Golden Gate Park

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

You know, your more urban part of GGP, and of course this is a Pontiac, a kind of Tempest, aka Gran Turismo Omologato, aka Grand Tempest Option. And as Wiki recalls for us, “it had become known in the youth market as the ‘goat.'”

As seen through the giant trees of the Panhandle:

7J7C3626 copy

But if you want to see a real goat in GGP, well just look the other direction, maybe you’ll see more evidence of the goats as pets movement:

7J7C7496-copy

7J7C7507-copy

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):

tesla_2

END OF LINE

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:

7J7C0785 copy

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.

7J7C0792 copy

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

7J7C0790 copy

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

7J7C0794 copy

Off they go, a boy and his robot:

7J7C0798 copy

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

7J7C0795 copy

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…

Code Name ALBATROSS: Self-Driving Chevrolet Bolt Seen Emerging from Lair – It’s Still Turning Heads

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

But this process took a while as traffic on 11th is getting backed up quite a bit these days during rush hour due to, IDK, the recent city-mandated loss of lanes on nearby Van Ness? That’s my guess.

7J7C0700 copy

Anyway, if 11th is filled with idled cars and peds are walking by, this exit is a good test for a self-driving car:

7J7C0701 copy

The Bolt seemed timid, but that’s how it’s supposed to behave I suppose. Good luck, New GM

Hot Wheels Car IRL – Monochromatic Never Looked So Monochromatic

Friday, January 13th, 2017

7J7C5455 copy

They Call Me MISTER Platypus! – My White Whale Spotted, Again

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

This is the closest I’ve gotten to this now-famous ride:

7J7C1286 copy

“PLATYPUS” – go figure. I don’t think Old GM had a platypus car…

Note to the NFL: If You Go Too Far with Corporate Sponsorships in San Francisco, You’re Going to Get Blowback – Sorry – Here’s an Example

Friday, January 15th, 2016

I don’t know who would pay a bunch of money for some advertising sculpture and then leave it out on a Western Addition sidewalk overnight, but it’s got to be somebody with a high tolerance for vandalism.

What our Local Host Committee might not have told you, NFL, is that Things Are Different Here, say compared with Atlanta, New Orleans, Orlando and all those other places filled with people who actually want you to come visit every seven years.

Sorry.

To make my point, let’s head on over to the Golden Gate Park Panhandle to check out this plaque celebrating General Motors (GM, actually Old GM, the one we had before the big bankruptcy):

7J7C1455 copy

You see, back in the 1990’s, GM just gave us the low six figures it took to put in the beloved Panhandle Playground and all it asked in return was this wooden plaque. It’s says “WELCOME TO KID’S KINGDOM – DONATED BY YOUR LOCAL SATURN* DEALER.” Or at least it used to say that. But the corporate part got chiseled away, by angry hippies.

Sorry, GM.

Do you really want to come back to SF to hosts your parties  for Super Bowl 57 or SBLXII or whatever? I don’t think you do, NFL.

Hey, what about LA as your Permanent West Coast Venue?

Just asking…

*A kind of car at the time. The branding had an Apple-ish kid of appeal, at the time. Ironically, SF never even had a local Saturn dealer, but a local ad agency did the branding so we ended up with a free playground.

How Tesla CEO Elon Musk is WRONG WRONG WRONG About How the Fremont Assembly Plant Has Been in Operation for “Over 60 Years”

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Here’s the background:

How Elon Musk Hustled $1.4 Billion Out Of Nevada For Gigafactory

Now here’s Musk’s defense of the Nevada Gigglefactory battery tax incentive deal.

Which you can swallow or not, but I have a beef with this part in particular:

“However, the 20 year mark is simply when the last of the incentives expires. The Gigafactory itself will continue contributing economically to Nevada for much longer. Our automotive plant in California has been in operation for over 60 years with no foreseeable end in sight.”

Well, first of all, there’s nothing to stop Tesla or its successor from threatening to move away unless it receives another massive subsidy from the people of Nevada, right? So that’s just wrong.

But, more importantly, what’s up with this “over 60 years” thing? Let’s take a look.

Fremont Assembly began operations in 1963, right? 2014 minus 1963 = 51 years, right? 51 years is less than “over  60 years,” right?

And that doesn’t mean that this place was “in operation,” all that time, right?

And actually, it didn’t make sense to have such a big old GM factory in the Bay Area so it shut down in 1982. Let’s get some more deets:

“Operated as GM plant from 1963 to 1982, then became the site of NUMMI, GM’s joint venture with Toyota and the only major auto assembly plant remaining in California. Closed April 1, 2010, partially reopening as the Tesla Factory, an automobile assembly plant for Tesla Motors”

So Fremont Assembly was massively downsized when Toyota was coerced into starting up NUMMI, which lasted just 16 years.

Then NUMMI got massively downsized and now what’s left has been a Tesla factory for a couple years.

Now you might think that that’s good or bad, but this record sure doesn’t match what Elon Musk has to say.

END OF LINE

Wow: High Voltage Hummer, San Mateo County

Friday, October 17th, 2014

And yet, this rig is prolly running at around 14 volts, same as everyone else.

Arresting:

7J7C7976 copy

Click to expand

The Exact Wrong Way to Build a 15-Passenger Van – What GM Did Right and What Ford and Chrysler Did Wrong

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Here’s an old Chrysler van. Can you see the rear extension they simply tacked on to the end of the thing? See how they left the wheels in the same place as on the shorter 12-passenger version?

Bad form – a half-assed design on the cheap:

Check it:

The Ford design was to lengthen the body over the same frame as smaller vehicles. GM  increased the wheelbase. Safety experts feel the GM approach is the safer design.

And:

Passenger vans (Econoline Wagons/Club Wagons) could seat between two and 12 passengers, depending on the number of seats installed; standard-length wagons typically held two bench seats behind the driver. In 1978, a 15-passenger “Super Wagon” was introduced on the same wheelbase as the standard-length van, using a body extension added to the rear of the vehicle.

At the very least, you should load up people from the front on these rigs.

At the very least…