“GM has global requirements for parts and components that are unusual in the industry”, said Sedran. “A starter is tested at 40 degrees below zero, just as would be needed in Alaska, otherwise it fails the test.”
“The supplier can only meet these if he uses expensive materials.”
The GM Authority Take
This kind of penny-pinching is completely unnecessary. Forget about design and engineering — it’s the quality of the parts that ultimately make or break a car/car brand, its reputation, and everything in between. In that respect, GM’s parts requirements are top-notch — a policy that results in much-better products than those offered by the competition. People may not see or feel their benefits on a daily basis, but they will surely appreciate the extra effort (say on an especially cold winter morning) that GM has placed in the requirements of its parts (by being able to start their GM vehicle, while the neighbor’s Kia keep cranking, but never turns over).
But let’s imagine that Opel were to start supplying its own parts… has Mr. Sedran considered the repercussions the move may cause for the larger GM? In essence, Opel sourcing its own parts may result in a negative effect on the economies of scale (read: price increase) for the larger GM parts sourcing operations.
You know, it’s this kind of unnecessary cost-cutting that brought GM to its knees in the quality and reliability (and image) departments a couple of decades ago. Perhaps Mr. Sedran should focus on what truly matters to Opel — major overcapacity issues in Europe that cost the subsidiary an arm and a leg every day — and take care of those (read: shut down some plants) instead of worrying about pinching a penny here and a penny there.